ACT English : Errors Involving Hyphens, Dashes, and Parentheses

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for ACT English

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Example Question #31 : Errors Involving Hyphens, Dashes, And Parentheses

“What is Leisure?” 

It would likely surprise [1] modern readers if he or she were told that the meaning of life is leisure. This seems to be the same thing as saying that the meaning of life is nothing more than relaxing by the side of the pool. [2] One can imagine almost anyone thinking to himself, “What a preposterous idea.” This idea is not as foreign as it might appear at first glance. Indeed, [3] it could be considered the classic Western position about the very meaning of life. [4] This, of course, lies in contrast to all other global positions, but that’s a topic for another day. 

[5] Of course, we need to understand what is meant by the word leisure if we are going to understand this assertion. The best way to understand this is to consider a contrast between two different kinds of activity. [6] On the one hand, there are many activities that are for the sake of something else. [7] On the other hand. There are those activities that are done for their own sake. These latter kinds of activities are those that are properly understood as being leisurely. [8] For example, when someone cuts onions for a meal, the cutting of the onions is not done for their own sake. The easiest way to figure out if something is being done for the sake of another end is to ask, “Why are you doing that.” [9] The onion cutter will answer, “I am doing it so that I can make dinner.” This helps us to see that the cutting of the onions is for the sake of something else. [10] Indeed, even the eating of dinner is for the sake of something else, namely attaining adequate nutrition. 

[11] In contrast to these examples, leisurely activities are those that are done for they’re own sake. [12] For example, ask someone who enjoys organ music why he is listening to an organ concert. The answer will almost certainly be, “For the sake of listening to organ music. It is that important and beautiful!” Many things can be considered leisurely, including forms of games that are played merely for their own enjoyment; however, it is important to bear in mind that there is a hierarchy of goods. [13] Some types of leisure are better than others and likely are more preferable.

Choose the answer that best corrects section [9].

Possible Answers:

The onion-cutter will answer, “I am doing it so that I can make dinner!”

NO CHANGE

The onion-cutter will answer, “I am doing it so that I can make dinner.”

The onion cutter will answer, “I am doing it so that I can make dinner!”

Correct answer:

The onion-cutter will answer, “I am doing it so that I can make dinner.”

Explanation:

The expression "onion cutter" is really a kind of compound word, composed of two nouns. You should indicate this compounding by using a hyphen between the words. This helps to make them into a single subject for the sentence. Note, however, that it is not necessary to use an exclamation point for the quotation. We really don't know if the onion-cutter is that emphatic about the nature of his action!

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