ACT English : Compound Subject Errors

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for ACT English

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Example Questions

Example Question #131 : Agreement Errors

Replace the underlined portion with the answer choice that results in a sentence that is clear, precise, and meets the requirements of standard written English. One of the answer choices repeats the underlined portion as it is written.

Both Mark and his friend Josh is a type of person called introverts.

Possible Answers:

is a types

is a type

is one type

are a type

are a types

Correct answer:

are a type

Explanation:

The subject of the sentence, "Mark and his friend Josh," is plural. Therefore, the sentence must use a verb that agrees with a plural subject. So, "are" needs to be used instead of "is." In choosing between "are a type" and "are a types," the phrase "a types" is grammatically incorrect because "a" is an indefinite article used with singular nouns, and "types" is a plural noun. Plus, you can see that the sentence is discussing one type of person "called introverts"—there is no discussion provided of any other type of person, so using the plural "types" would not make sense in the sentence's context. So, "are a type" is the correct answer.

Example Question #11 : Compound Subject Errors

Replace the underlined portion with the answer choice that results in a sentence that is clear, precise, and meets the requirements of standard written English. One of the answer choices reproduces the underlined portion as it is written in the sentence.

Freud and other advocates of introspective psychology argue that a feeling of connectedness with other human beings, along with a positive self-image, contribute to the overall health of an individual.

Possible Answers:

argues that a feeling of connectedness with other human beings, along with a positive self-image, contribute to the overall health

argues that a feeling of connectedness with other human beings, along with a positive self-image, contributes to the overall health

argue that a feeling of connectedness with other human beings, along with a positive self-image, contribute for the overall health

argue that a feeling of connectedness with other human beings, along with a positive self-image, contributes to the overall health

argue that a feeling of connectedness with other human beings, along with a positive self-image, contribute to the overall health

Correct answer:

argue that a feeling of connectedness with other human beings, along with a positive self-image, contributes to the overall health

Explanation:

The answer choice "argue that a feeling of connectedness with other human beings, along with a positive self-image, contributes to the overall health" is correct. It contains the correct number agreement of the verb "contributes" with its subject, "a feeling of connectedness with other human beings."

The answer choices containing "contribute" instead of "contributes" are incorrect. The subject of "contribute" is singular, not plural.

Although the answer choice "argues that a feeling of connectedness with other human beings, along with a positive self-image, contributes to the overall health" correctly contains "contributes," the verb "argues" introduces a number agreement error, as "argues" is singular but being used with a plural subject, "Freud and other advocates of introspective psychology."

Example Question #41 : Correcting Subject Verb Agreement Errors

Replace the underlined portion with the answer choice that results in a sentence that is clear, precise, and meets the requirements of standard written English.

Tom, Dick, and Harry all laments the loss of a previous innocence they possessed as children.

Possible Answers:

each lament

all lamenting

all lament

laments

all laments

Correct answer:

all lament

Explanation:

The use of "all" is the key indicator of the correct answer in the sentence. While "Tom, Dick, and Harry" are singular as individuals, they are "all" together sharing their feeling as a plural group; therefore, "all lament" is the correct choice among the answers.

Example Question #132 : Subject Verb Agreement Errors

As the class entered the museum, Ms. Johnson noticed that two of her students had fallen behind the group. After all of the tickets had been secured, she approached the two girls, saying: “what on Earth is causing you to go so slow?” The taller girl, whose name was Ashley, was the first to respond:

“Veronica and I were just discussing something very private. Nobody can hear what her and I are discussing.”

“Well, Ashley, I think that our tour guide, Dr. Mitchell, will be offended by your behavior. You and Veronica should find separate places in the group and you should pay attention to him and me.”

The two girls reluctantly joined the rest of the class. Ms. Johnson looked to see if another student was out of their place, but everything seemed to be in order. The tour guide, Dr. Mitchell, introduced himself to the class: 

“Hello everyone! My name is Dr. Mitchell. I’m so glad that you have all come to the Museum of Natural History today; I think you’ll really enjoy our exhibits, which have been curated with the utmost care. The museum has three distinct types of exhibitions. Permanent exhibitions, temporary exhibitions, and space shows. The permanent exhibition and the space show is always available for viewing, but the temporary exhibition changes seasonally.“

Having finished his introduction, the permanent exhibition was the first thing that Dr. Mitchell showed to the class.

Choose the answer that best corrects the bolded portion of the passage. If the bolded portion is correct as written, choose "NO CHANGE."

Possible Answers:

The permanent exhibition or the show space are always available for viewing

NO CHANGE

The permanent exhibition and the space show are always available for viewing

The permanent exhibition and the space show is always available to being viewed

Correct answer:

The permanent exhibition and the space show are always available for viewing

Explanation:

This compound subject, "the permanent exhibition and the space show," acts as a plural noun because of the word "and." If you replaced "and" with "or," the subject would then function as a singular noun. But because these two subjects are joined by and, they act as a plural noun and therefore need a verb form that agrees with a plural noun. "Are" is therefore the right answer, not "is."

Example Question #132 : Subject Verb Agreement Errors

Passage adapted from The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (1899) by L. Frank Baum

Dorothy lived in the midst of the great Kansas prairies, with Uncle Henry, who was a farmer, and Aunt Em, who was the farmer's wife. Their house was small, for the lumber to build it had to be carried by wagon many miles. There were four walls, a floor and a roof, which make one room; and this room contained a rusty looking cookstove, a cupboard for the dishes, a table, three or four chairs, and the beds. Uncle Henry and Aunt Em had a big bed in one corner, and Dorothy a little bed in another corner. There was no garret at all, and no cellar--except a small hole dug in the ground, called a cyclone cellar, where the family could go in case one of those great whirlwinds arose, mighty enough to crush any building in its path. It was reached by a trap door in the middle of the floor, from which a ladder led down into the small, dark hole.

When Dorothy stood in the doorway and looked around, she could see nothing but the great gray prairie on every side. Not a tree nor a house broke the broad sweep of flat country that reached to the edge of the sky in all directions. The sun had baked the plowed land into a gray mass, with little cracks running through it. Even the grass was not green, for the sun had burned the tops of the long blades until they were the same gray color to be seen everywhere. Once the house had been painted, but the sun blistered the paint and the rains washed it away, and now the house was as dull and gray as everything else.

Choose the answer that best corrects the underlined portion of the passage. If the bolded and underlined portion is correct as written, choose "NO CHANGE."

Possible Answers:

made

NO CHANGE

were making

makes

Correct answer:

made

Explanation:

"Made" is the correct choice, because it is in the past tense and agrees with the subject (four walls, a floor and a roof).

Example Question #132 : Subject Verb Agreement Errors

Select the answer that best corrects the underlined portion of the sentence. If the sentence is correct as is, select "NO CHANGE."

The tracks in the snow and the scat on the ground provides evidence that deer have visited the yard.

Possible Answers:

provides evidence for

was providing evidence that

were providing evidence that

NO CHANGE

provide evidence that

Correct answer:

provide evidence that

Explanation:

There is no need to change the tense, only the number. The compound subject ("tracks and scat") needs a plural verb, provide.

Example Question #11 : Compound Subject Errors

Choose the answer that best corrects the underlined portion of the sentence. If the underlined portion is correct as written, choose "NO CHANGE."

There was a giraffe and a herd of zebras at the zoo.

Possible Answers:

There was giraffes

There were a giraffe 

NO CHANGE

It were a giraffe

It was a giraffe

Correct answer:

There were a giraffe 

Explanation:

The verb precedes the compound subject ("giraffe and a herd of zebras") here, making it tougher to see that you need a plural verb ("were") instead of the singular "was."

Example Question #15 : Compound Subject Errors

Choose the answer that best corrects the underlined portion of the sentence. If the underlined portion is correct as written, choose "NO CHANGE."

The dress and the jacket is in the closet downstairs.

Possible Answers:

jacket it is in the closet

jacket's in the closet

NO CHANGE

jacket they are in the closet

jacket are in the closet

Correct answer:

jacket are in the closet

Explanation:

The compound subject "the dress and the jacket" needs a plural verb "are." If the "and" between the "dress and the jacket" were an "or" then the subject would be singular.

Example Question #953 : Correcting Grammatical Errors

Second language acquisition has already been positively correlated to increased cognitive flexibility (1): what has yet to be investigated is the correlation between cultural literacy—as a potential result of second language acquisition—and the facilitation of social relationships on the individual and community levels, academic and career success, and personal cultural enrichment.  Cultural literacy may be (2) viewed as a deepest sense of foreign language study, as it encompasses all facets of culture rather than just language. If these positive correlations are accurately established (3) , the United State's education system and (4) its lack of priority given to foreign language studies must be reevaluated. Vastly extending foreign language requirements would allow individuals not only the obvious benefit of communicating in more than one language, (5) but also from greater academic success in high school, college, and the workplace, as well as less multicultural tension in social and professional arenas. (6) As the global market continues to be vital to the economic prosperity of nations, and immigration trends change their cultural make-up, (7) both linguistic and cultural understanding and awareness is essential.

Choose the answer that best corrects the bolded and underlined portion of the passage. If the bolded and underlined portion is correct as written, choose "NO CHANGE."

Possible Answers:

NO CHANGE

both linguistic and cultural understanding and awareness is essential.

both linguistic and cultural understanding and awareness are essential.

all linguistic and cultural understanding, in addition to awareness, are essential

Correct answer:

both linguistic and cultural understanding and awareness are essential.

Explanation:

The verb "are" must agree with "understanding and awareness," which are modified by the words "linguistic" and cultural."

Example Question #1291 : Act English

Choose the answer that best corrects the underlined portion of the sentence. If the underlined portion is correct as written, choose "NO CHANGE."

Stephen, along with two of his sisters, have been designated to serve as trustees for their family's estate.

Possible Answers:

are 

were

has been

NO CHANGE

are being

Correct answer:

has been

Explanation:

The subject of the sentence (Stephen) is singular and is followed by a modifying phrase (along with two of his sisters) that is NOT part of the subject. Thus the sentence must have a singular predicate.

 Are, are being, and were are all plural verbs.

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