ACT English : Other Adjective and Adverb Errors

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for ACT English

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Example Questions

Example Question #2529 : Act English

Margaret Mitchell the writer was having a horrible day. She just completed her latest novel when the tornado sirens went off. Fast, she rushed down into the basement, barricaded the door, and she sat in a corner of the dank dusty room to wait for the storm to pass. The winds howled noisy and increased in intensity until it sounded like the tornado was right above her. Suddenly, a gigantic bang echoed throughout the basement and Margaret dropped to the floor in terror. Then just as suddenly the noise vanished. Margaret got up and dusted her off before moving hesitantly toward the basement door. She opened it, and found the house above her was completely gone. Despite the horror of the site, she sighed and muttered, "Oh, well." A neighbor came running up to her and said, "Margaret! Thank goodness your alive! But what happened to your house, and what about your new book?" Margaret gave a rueful smile and replied, "Oh, that's Gone With The Wind."

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:

NO CHANGE

noisily

with much noise

loud

Correct answer:

noisily

Explanation:

The word "noisy" is an adjective, but its adverbial form "noisily" is the correct choice here to modify the verb "howled," as adjectives do not modify verbs, but adverbs do.

Example Question #31 : Other Adjective And Adverb Errors

The house stood, at the bottom of a hill, making it hard to see from the street. The owner wants it that way, as he had no use for any of his neighbors. “Nosy sneaks and cheats” he would to say to his son. Not that his son ever really listening. The old man did not see him very much, either at his home or going anywhere else. Every time he did see him, his son would just complain about how his house was dark musty, and filthy. The old man did not need such criticism, especially from only his blood relative. He had lived in that house for fifty years, and planned to live there as long as he possibly could. While he lived there, his neighbors would never see him or his house if he could help it. He could take care of him, and steadfastly refused to allow anyone to help. In his tiny house, at the bottom of the hill, the old man was content to be alone, and believed he was living perfect.

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:

NO CHANGE

believing he was living perfect

believed he were living perfect

believed he was living perfectly

Correct answer:

believed he was living perfectly

Explanation:

The word "perfect" modifies the verb "living." However, the word "perfect" is an adjective, a kind of word that modifies nouns and other adjectives, but never verbs, which are modified by adverbs. "Perfect" needs to be changed to the adverbial form, making the correct answer choice "believed he was living perfectly."

Example Question #932 : Word Usage Errors

The bayou was quiet, except for the sounds of insects, water and the occasional alligator. Jim was cleaning his blade, which he had recently used to dispatch one of the undead. His partner Bill and him had come out to the bayou for their nightly patrol and they had found a nest of the undead by an old abandoned dock.

"Hey, Bill!," he shouted gleefully, mindless of whether the noise would attract more undead. "Where'd you go, man?"

A noise to his left had startled him. He turned quick and saw the man who had been closest to him than a brother for the past six months walking slowly toward him.

"Whew," he said: "there you are." He went back to cleaning his blade. "I thought one of those things had got 'cha."

Standing in the dark, the light of the moon did not reach his partners face. The sudden silence caused Jim to look up again. "What's the matter with you, Bill?"

It was only when the thing that was once Bill stepped into the light and Jim saw the fresh bite on it's newly dead face that he realized what the matter was.

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:

He turned quickly

He quickly turned

He quick turned

NO CHANGE

Correct answer:

He turned quickly

Explanation:

The sentence requires the adverb "quickly," and since it describes the manner in which Jim is turning, the adverb should follow the verb rather than precede it.

Example Question #142 : Other Usage Errors

As a child the only thing I wanted to be was a race car driver. My mothers family all lived in central Indiana, and I went to the Indianapolis 500 every year growing up. Between the colors on the cars the speed of the race and the enthusiasm of the crowd, nothing in the world seemed more exciting to a child. I would lay awake at night thinking about getting behind the wheel of my own race car. My bedroom walls were adorned with posters of the all great racers from all over the world.

When I was a teenager, I had the opportunity to race go karts on small tracks against other kids my age. Very quickly I realized I am the terrible driver. Any bumping with another driver was too much for me to handle, and I could not take the turns quick enough to keep pace with the best drivers. None of this diminished my love of racing, however, because just being at the track was such a thrill. The noise, the speed, and rushing were all more exciting from the pits than from the grandstand. If I could never be in the driver’s seat, then I would place myself behind the scenes.

With this new focus, I began studying mechanical engineering and automotive design. I might not have been able to drive a race car; but now I could design a car, build a car, and engineer it to win a race. The drivers still get all the credit for the championships, but everyone knows they would never win without the people like myself.

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:

NO CHANGE

take the turns quick

taking the turns quick enough

take the turns quickly enough

Correct answer:

take the turns quickly enough

Explanation:

The use of the adjective "quick" is incorrect in this sentence, as it is modifying the verb "take." A verb can only be modified by an adverb, meaning that the word "quick" should be changed to its adverbial form, "quickly." The only answer choice that uses the correct form is "take the turns quickly enough."

Example Question #143 : Other Usage Errors

Adapted from “The Fear of the Past” in What’s Wrong with the World by G.K. Chesterton (1910)

The last few decades have marked by a special cultivation of the romance of the future. We seem to have made up our minds to misunderstand what has happened; and we turn, with a sort of relief, to stating what will happen—which is (apparently) more easy. The modern man no longer presents the memoirs of his great grandfather; but is engaged in writing a detailed and authoritative biography of his great-grandson. Instead of trembling before the specters of the dead, we shudder abject under the shadow of the babe unborn. This spirit is apparent everywhere, even to the creation of a form of futurist romance. Sir Walter Scott stands at the dawn of the nineteenth century for the novel of the past; Mr. H. G. Wells stands at the beginning of the twentieth century for the novel of the future. The old story, we know, was supposed to begin: "Late on a winter's evening two horsemen might have been seen . . ." The new story has to begin: "Late on a winter's evening two aviators will be seen . . ." The movement is not without its elements of charm; theres something spirited, if eccentric, in the sight of so many people fighting over again the fights that have not yet happened; of people still aglow with the memory of tomorrow morning. A man in advance of the age is a familiar phrase enough. An age in advance of the age is really rather odd.

What is the best form of the bolded selection, "we shudder abject under the shadow of the babe unborn"?

Possible Answers:

we shudder abject—under the shadow of the babe unborn

NO CHANGE

we shudder abjectly under the shadow of the babe unborn

we shudder abject, under the shadow of the babe unborn

Correct answer:

we shudder abjectly under the shadow of the babe unborn

Explanation:

The key issue with the sentence as written is its use of the adjective "abject." There are two options for correcting the sentence (only one of which is provided). The option as presented is to correct it by changing the adjective into the adverbial form "abjectly," which modifies the verb "shudder." The other option would be to place a comma after "shudder," indicating that we have a subordinate clause that is being used adjectivally to describe the subject "we."

Example Question #941 : Word Usage Errors

Adapted from “Puritanism as a Literary Force” in A Book of Prefaces by H.L. Mencken (1917)

Naturally enough, this moral obsession has given a strong color to American literature. It is true that American literature is set off sharply from all other literatures. In none other will you find so wholesale and ecstatic a sacrifice of ideas, of all the fine gusto of passion and beauty, to notions of what is proper and nice. From the books of grisly sermons that were the first American contribution to letters down to that amazing literature of "inspiration" which now exists, one observes no relaxation of the moral pressure.

In the history of every other literature there have been periods of what might be called moral innocence. In such periods a naive “joie de vivre” (joy of living) has broken through all concepts of duty and responsibility, and the wonder and glory of the universe has been hymned with unashamed zest. The age of Shakespeare comes to mind at once. The violence of the Puritan reactions offers a measure of the pendulums’ wild swing. But in America no such general rising of the blood has ever been seen.

The literature of the nation, even the literature of the minority, has been under harsh and uneducated Puritan restraints from the beginning, and despite a few stealthy efforts at revolt, it shows not the slightest sign of emancipating itself today. The American, try as he will, can never imagine any work of the imagination as wholly without moral content. It must either tend toward the promotion of virtue or, otherwise, be questionable.

Which of the following best replaces the bolded word “without” in the final paragraph?

Possible Answers:

devoid of

questioning

missing

imprecating

Correct answer:

devoid of

Explanation:

The preposition "without" here means lacking. The best replacement for this would be "devoid of," meaning completely lacking.

Example Question #942 : Word Usage Errors

Adapted from “Puritanism as a Literary Force” in A Book of Prefaces by H.L. Mencken (1917)

Naturally enough, this moral obsession has given a strong color to American literature. It is true that American literature is set off sharply from all other literatures. In none other will you find so wholesale and ecstatic a sacrifice of ideas, of all the fine gusto of passion and beauty, to notions of what is proper and nice. From the books of grisly sermons that were the first American contribution to letters down to that amazing literature of "inspiration" which now exists, one observes no relaxation of the moral pressure.

In the history of every other literature there have been periods of what might be called moral innocence. In such periods a naive “joie de vivre” (joy of living) has broken through all concepts of duty and responsibility, and the wonder and glory of the universe has been hymned with unashamed zest. The age of Shakespeare comes to mind at once. The violence of the Puritan reactions offers a measure of the pendulums’ wild swing. But in America no such general rising of the blood has ever been seen.

The literature of the nation, even the literature of the minority, has been under harsh and uneducated Puritan restraints from the beginning, and despite a few stealthy efforts at revolt, it shows not the slightest sign of emancipating itself today. The American, try as he will, can never imagine any work of the imagination as wholly without moral content. It must either tend toward the promotion of virtue or, otherwise, be questionable.

Which of the following is the best adjective to describe the bolded word “ideas” in the first paragraph?

Possible Answers:

thoughtful

edifying

aesthetic

moralistic

Correct answer:

aesthetic

Explanation:

The key phrase directly follows the word "ideas": "of all the fine gusto of passion and beauty." The sentence thus states that there is a sacrifice of all beautiful and passionate ideas. The best adjective for this purpose is the word "aesthetic," which means pertaining to beauty and the appreciation thereof.

Example Question #943 : Word Usage Errors

Adapted from “Puritanism as a Literary Force” in A Book of Prefaces by H.L. Mencken (1917)

Naturally enough, this moral obsession has given a strong color to American literature. It is true that American literature is set off sharply from all other literatures. In none other will you find so wholesale and ecstatic a sacrifice of ideas, of all the fine gusto of passion and beauty, to notions of what is proper and nice. From the books of grisly sermons that were the first American contribution to letters down to that amazing literature of "inspiration" which now exists, one observes no relaxation of the moral pressure.

In the history of every other literature there have been periods of what might be called moral innocence. In such periods a naive “joie de vivre” (joy of living) has broken through all concepts of duty and responsibility, and the wonder and glory of the universe has been hymned with unashamed zest. The age of Shakespeare comes to mind at once. The violence of the Puritan reactions offers a measure of the pendulums’ wild swing. But in America no such general rising of the blood has ever been seen.

The literature of the nation, even the literature of the minority, has been under harsh and uneducated Puritan restraints from the beginning, and despite a few stealthy efforts at revolt, it shows not the slightest sign of emancipating itself today. The American, try as he will, can never imagine any work of the imagination as wholly without moral content. It must either tend toward the promotion of virtue or, otherwise, be questionable.

Which of the following adjectives could be added to the two bolded adjectives “proper and nice”?

Possible Answers:

exciting

meet

prodigious

political

Correct answer:

meet

Explanation:

The two words "proper and nice" mean to express that American literature focuses on (and promotes) only the most acceptable forms of expression. The word "meet" is a bit strange looking in this context, but it can be used as an adjective meaning proper or fitting. The other options clearly do not fit this meaning.

Example Question #944 : Word Usage Errors

Adapted from "The Weakness, Unrest, and Defects of Man," from The Thoughts of Blaise Pascal (ed. 1901)

We care nothing for the present. We anticipate the future as too slow in coming, as if we could make it move faster; or we call back the past, to stop its rapid flight. So imprudent are we that we wander through the times in which we have no part, unthinking of that which alone is ours; so frivolous are we that we dream of the days which are not and pass by without reflection those which alone exist. For the days of the present generally gives us pain; we conceal it from our sight because it afflicts us, and if it be pleasant, we regret to see it vanish away. We endeavor to sustain the present by the future, and think of arranging things not in our power, for a time at which we have no certainty of arriving.

If we examine our thoughts, we shall find them always occupied with the past or the future. We scarcely think of the present, and if we do so, it is only that we may borrow light from it to direct the future. The present is never our end; the past and the present are our means, the future alone is our end. Thus we never live, but hope to live, and while we always lay ourselves out to be happy, it is inevitable that we can never be so.

Which of the following would be a better form of the bolded selection, "Thus we never live, but hope to live, and while we always lay ourselves out"?

Possible Answers:

Thus we never live, but hope to live. And while we always lay ourselves out

Thus we never live but, likewise, hope to live. And while we always lay ourselves out

Thus we never live but hope to live. And while we always lay ourselves out

Thus we never live but, instead, hope to live. And while we always lay ourselves out

Correct answer:

Thus we never live but, instead, hope to live. And while we always lay ourselves out

Explanation:

To understand this answer, it is best to consider the incorrect answer: "Thus we never live but hope to live. And while we always lay ourselves out . . ." Note, first, that we can start a subordinate introductory clause with "and," so there is no problem with the way that all of these options separate out the second half of the original sentence. (As it stands, it is too rambling and long.)

Now, considering the given incorrect answer, the critical thing to notice how confusingly it relates the "never living" and the "hoping to live." The author clearly wants to draw attention to these two states of affairs: (1) We are never actually living. (2) Instead, we are only hoping to live (in the future).

Therefore, the best option is the one that makes this contrast obvious by using the adverb, "instead."

Example Question #945 : Word Usage Errors

Ivan and Oscar, two little white mice living in Mrs. Wiggins house, were desperate for some cheese, but the only way to get to the kitchen was climbing down the old suit of armor that Mrs. Wiggins brought back from England after her honeymoon. Ivan had went down to the kitchen many times before, but Oscar was new to it all and he was more nervous than he would admit. They came out at the hole in the wall above the suit of armors left shoulder, and Oscar watched as Ivan slipped fast into the joins between the steel plates. He then heard Ivan scuttling down through the shoulder, chest, and the left leg before emerging through the left foot below. "Come on down Oscar" called the courageous mouse. Oscar made his way into the shoulder just as his friend had done, but somehow got mixed up and ended up in the right arm. The twists and turns inside the armor were too complicated for his tiny, mousy mind. Finally he called out, "Help, Ivan! Help! Wont you help me make it through the knight?"

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:

slipped quick

NO CHANGE

slipped quickly

slipped fastly

Correct answer:

slipped quickly

Explanation:

The correct adverb here would be "quickly," since "fastly" is not an adverb. While "fast" itself is an adverb, "quickly" is the preferred usage. ("Fast," when used as an adverb, can mean securely or tightly, creating an ambiguity in this context).

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