ACT English : Other Verb Usage Errors

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for ACT English

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Example Questions

Example Question #126 : Improving Sentences

Hold back tears, the woman was moved deeply by her son's gift.

Possible Answers:

Holding backing tears

Hold back tears

Hold back of tears

Held back tears

Holding back tears

Correct answer:

Holding back tears

Explanation:

The introductory phrase that is highlighted in the sentence describes the condition under which the woman reacted to her son's gift. Therefore, the verb form needs to describe a condition or way of being. Such a form is the present participle, which shows action currently being taken, and the correct answer is "Holding back tears."

Example Question #1 : Correcting Other Verb Errors

After a large lunch, the whole group did not want eating for a few hours.

Possible Answers:

did not want to eat for a few hours.

did not want eating over a few hours.

did not wanting to eat for a few hours.

did not want eating for a few hours.

did not wanting eating for a few hours.

Correct answer:

did not want to eat for a few hours.

Explanation:

The underlined portion of the sentence has a problem with the verb form "eating." The gerund form, used here, is inappropriate, as it is actually a verb that functions as a noun; therefore, the correct answer is "did not want to eat for a few hours."

Example Question #128 : Improving Sentences

The orders were unclear, confused the troops everytime they were read out.

Possible Answers:

confusing the troops

confused the troops

confused of the troops

confused all troops

confused troops

Correct answer:

confusing the troops

Explanation:

The use of the verb "confused" creates many different problems in the sentence. By leading off a phrase, the word needs to be in a form that can link the phrase to the first part of the sentence. "Confusing the troops," which uses a past participle to describe the effect of the orders, is the correct answer choice.

Example Question #129 : Improving Sentences

He regularly went seeing the parades that went through downtown.

Possible Answers:

went saw

went seeing

went seen

seeing

went to see

Correct answer:

went to see

Explanation:

The verb form used in the underlined section is completely wrong. The use of the present participle "seeing" confuses the meaning of the sentence and is unclear. The verb "went" needs a complement form, such as an infinitive. Therefore, the correct answer is "went to see."

Example Question #130 : Improving Sentences

Many people who do not believe in them, seeing ghosts.

Possible Answers:

them having seen ghosts.

them seeing ghosts.

them, see ghosts.

them see ghosts.

them, seeing ghosts.

Correct answer:

them see ghosts.

Explanation:

The underlined portion of the senetence awkwardly separates out the seeing of ghosts from the rest of the sentence. The correct answer needs to smoothly place what people have done with those people as a subject. "Them see ghosts," is the best choice among the answer choices.

Example Question #41 : Correcting Verb 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.

Though meteorologists continue to gain access to more and more advanced technology, their weather forecasts wrong more than 50% of the time.

Possible Answers:

their weather forecasts which is wrong

their weather forecasts that is wrong

is their weather forecasts wrong

their weather forecasts are wrong

their weather forecasts wrong

Correct answer:

their weather forecasts are wrong

Explanation:

This is a sentence fragment because it is lacking a verb. Only "their weather forecasts are wrong" adds a verb in the right tense.

Example Question #371 : Correcting Usage 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.

Those who enjoy that author's writing, being those who tend not to read traditional horror, preferring instead the comforts of peaceful stories.

Possible Answers:

writing being the ones tending not to read

writing tend not to read

writing, tending to be those who do not read

writing are the ones that tend not to be the ones reading

writing, being those who tend not to read

Correct answer:

writing tend not to read

Explanation:

Let's break down the originaly sentence: we have "Those who enjoy that author's writing," a subject; "being those who tend not to read traditional horror," an interrupting phrase providing further information about the subject; and "preferring instead the comforts of peaceful stories," a participial phrase again describing the subject. This sentence doesn't contain an actual verb; it is one long description of "those." To correct the sentence's error, we need to introduce a verb, either by adding in a form of "to be" before one of the participles to make it a verb, or changing one of the participles to a different verb form. The only answer choice that corrects the sentence replaces the participle "being those who tend not to read" with the verb "tend not to read." The complete and corrected sentence thus reads, "Those who enjoy that author's writing are those who tend not to read traditional horror, preferring instead the comforts of peaceful stories."

Example Question #43 : Correcting Verb Errors

The trail was much steeper than appearing from the bottom of the mountain.

Possible Answers:

than it had appeared

than was appeared

appearing as such

than was appearing

than appearing

Correct answer:

than it had appeared

Explanation:

The non-underlined, and therefore correct, verb in the sentence is "was," which is in the past tense. Therefore, the verb in the underlined portion of the sentence must also be in the past tense. The only answer choice that is both a correct grammatical form and in the past tense is "than it had appeared."

Example Question #44 : Correcting Verb Errors

The soldiers were horrified at what they had seeing on the battlefield.

Possible Answers:

had seen

being saw

had been seen

had seeing

have seeing

Correct answer:

had seen

Explanation:

The verb construction "had seeing" is an incorrect form, with the participle "seeing" needing some form of the word "be" to be made correct. The form needs to be changed to something more appropriate. "Had seen," featuring the past tense form of "see," is the correct answer choice.

Example Question #45 : Correcting Verb Errors

The entire town became obsessing with the case, following every detail mentioned in the newspapers.

Possible Answers:

The entire town becomes obsessing with the case

The entire town became obsessing among the case

The entire town became obsessed with the case

The entire town became obsessing with the case

The entire town became obsessed among the case

Correct answer:

The entire town became obsessed with the case

Explanation:

The underlined portion of the sentence contains a strange use of the verb "obsessing," which should not be used with the past tense "became." The correct answer choice must change "obsessing" to an appropriate past tense form; therefore, the correct answer is "The entire town became obsessed with the case."

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