ACT English : Misplaced or Interrupting Modifier Errors

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for ACT English

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Example Questions

Example Question #351 : Correcting Phrase, Clause, And Sentence 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.

Widespread structural reform is only the way the organization can remain solvent in the future.

Possible Answers:

Widespread structural reform is only the way the organization can remain solvent in the future.

Widespread structural reform is only the way the organization could remain solvent in the future.

Widespread structural reform is only the way the organization can remain solvent for the future.

Widespread structural reform is only the way that organization can remain solvent in the future.

Widespread structural reform is the only way the organization can remain solvent in the future.

Correct answer:

Widespread structural reform is the only way the organization can remain solvent in the future.

Explanation:

The insertion of "only" between "is" and "the" makes it unclear what the word is modifying in the sentence. As "only" is modifying "way," it should be placed next to it in the sentence; therefore, the correct answer choice is "Widespread structural reform is the only way the organization can remain solvent in the future."

Example Question #92 : Correcting Modifier Placement 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.

The Zulu tribe was the British army's arguably most formidable opponent in the Colonial period.

Possible Answers:

was the British army's arguably most formidable opponent

was arguably the British army's most formidable opponent

was the British army's arguing most formidable opponent

was the British army's arguable most formidable opponent

was the British army's most formidable opponent arguably

Correct answer:

was arguably the British army's most formidable opponent

Explanation:

The word "arguably" is an odd place in the sentence that makes it unclear exactly what is being modified by the word. As the thing that is arguable is the status of "the Zulu tribe" against other British opponents. Therefore, the clearest and best answer choice is "was arguably the British army's most formidable opponent."

Example Question #93 : Correcting Modifier Placement 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.

The hill was a particularly difficult challenge for the racers, who could find nothing like it for practicing anywhere.

Possible Answers:

like it anywhere for practicing.

like for it practicing anywhere.

like it for practicing anywhere.

like practicing for it anywhere.

like it practicing for anywhere.

Correct answer:

like it anywhere for practicing.

Explanation:

With "anywhere" placed after "practicing," the sentence reads as though the problem was in "practicing anywhere" rather than its intended meaning of finding something "anywhere" on which the racers could practice. The answer choice that best clarifies this is "like it anywhere for practicing."

Example Question #21 : Correcting Misplaced Or Interrupting Modifier 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.

Only the cure for the common cold is rest, relaxation, and fluids.

Possible Answers:

Only a cure for the common cold is rest, relaxation, and fluids.

The only cure for the common cold is rest, relaxation, and fluids.

Only the cure for a common cold is rest, relaxation, and fluids.

Only the cure for the common cold is rest, relaxation, and fluids.

Only the cure for the common cold is rest relaxation and fluids.

Correct answer:

The only cure for the common cold is rest, relaxation, and fluids.

Explanation:

The use of "only" at the very beginning of the sentence creates confusion throughout the rest of the sentence. As it needs to directly modify "cure," it should be moved directly next to it. The answer choice that appropriately does this is "The only cure for the common cold is rest, relaxation, and fluids."

Example Question #21 : Correcting Misplaced Or Interrupting Modifier 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.

In all of human history, such actions before had never been undertaken.

Possible Answers:

actions before had never been undertaken.

such actions had never before been undertaken.

such actions before had never be undertaken.

such actions before had never been undertaken.

such actions before never been undertaken.

Correct answer:

such actions had never before been undertaken.

Explanation:

The main issue with the underlined phrase is one of word order, as "before" is stuck in a place that makes the meaning confusing. To improve this phrase, "before" should be moved to work with "never." "Such actions had never before been undertaken," is the correct answer choice.

Example Question #21 : Misplaced Or Interrupting Modifier 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.

The tickets only were able to be given out to people who called the radio station.

Possible Answers:

The tickets only were able to be given out to people who called the radio station.

The tickets were only able to be given out to people who called the radio station.

The tickets only were able to be gave out to people who called the radio station.

The tickets only were able to be given out to people who call the radio station.

The tickets only were able to be given out until people who called the radio station.

Correct answer:

The tickets were only able to be given out to people who called the radio station.

Explanation:

The placement of "only" in the sentence is confusing, as it is unclear what "only" is modifying. By moving "only" after the verb, it makes it clear that "only" modifies "able," making the correct answer "The tickets were only able to be given out to people who called the radio station."

Example Question #101 : Correcting Modifier Placement 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.

With each passing year, the veterans of the war fewer grew in number.

Possible Answers:

the veterans of the war fewer grew in number.

the veterans of the war fewer growing in number.

the veterans of the war grew fewer in number.

the veterans of the war fewer grew on number.

the veterans of the war few grew in number.

Correct answer:

the veterans of the war grew fewer in number.

Explanation:

The word "fewer" is in a strange and confusing place in the sentence. The sentence needs to be restrutured so that the veterans have "fewer" "in number." Therefore, the correct answer choice is "the veterans of the war grew fewer in number."

Example Question #102 : Correcting Modifier Placement 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.

Scientists believe the extinction now was caused by a variety of factors millions of years ago, rather than a single cause.

Possible Answers:

Scientists now believe the extinction  was caused by a variety of factors millions of years ago, rather than a single cause.

Scientists believe the extinction now caused by a variety of factors millions of years ago, rather than a single cause.

Scientists believe the extinction now was caused by a variety of factors millions of years ago, rather than a single cause.

Scientists believe the extinction now was causing by a variety of factors millions of years ago, rather than a single cause.

Scientists believe the extinction now was caused by a variety of factors millions of years ago rather than a single cause.

Correct answer:

Scientists now believe the extinction  was caused by a variety of factors millions of years ago, rather than a single cause.

Explanation:

The placement of "now" before "was" makes the sentence read so that the "extinction" appears to be simultaneously "now" and "millions of years ago." The word order should be changed to demonstrate the thing happening "now" is what "scientists believe." Therefore, the correct answer choice is "Scientists now believe the extinction was caused by a variety of factors millions of years ago, rather than a single cause."

Example Question #103 : Correcting Modifier Placement 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.

The flood was the beginning only of the area's experience with natural disasters that season.

Possible Answers:

The flood was the beginning only of the area's experiencing

The flood was the beginning only of the areas experience

The flood was the beginning only for the area's experience

The flood was the beginning only of the area's experience

The flood was only the beginning of the area's experience

Correct answer:

The flood was only the beginning of the area's experience

Explanation:

The insertion of "only" between "beginning" and "of" makes the sentence confusing and awkward. The sentence is attempting to say that the flood began a sequence of awful natural disasters, but "only" should be moved to better indicate this. The answer choice that best clarifies the sentence is "The flood was only the beginning of the area's experience."

Example Question #441 : Phrase, Clause, And Sentence 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.

The king was the person only in the country who could exercise such power.

Possible Answers:

The king was the person in the country only who could exercise such power.

The king was the only person in the country who could exercise such power.

The king was the person only in the country who could exercise such power.

Only the king was the person in the country who could exercise such power.

The king was the person in the country who could exercise such power only.

Correct answer:

The king was the only person in the country who could exercise such power.

Explanation:

In the sentence as it is written, "only" is floating between phrases, and it is not clear what exactly the word is modifying. The sentence is trying to say that the king was the singular person with the ability to exercise the power. So, "only" should be placed next to "person" to make this clear. The only answer choice that places "only" before "person" is "The king was the only person in the country who could exercise such power."

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