ACT English : Other Verb Usage Errors

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for ACT English

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Example Questions

Example Question #141 : Improving Sentences

His father was usually ready telling a joke to lighten the mood.

Possible Answers:

telling the joke

telling a joke

to tell a joke

telling a joking

telling jokes

Correct answer:

to tell a joke

Explanation:

The use of "telling" in the sentence is strange and confusing, as the participle form appears to modify "ready." To appropriately explain what the father was "ready" for, an infinitive, which gives a sense of action; therefore, the correct answer choice is "to tell a joke."

Example Question #31 : Other Verb Usage Errors

Most men feel very uncomfortable reveal their feelings to loved ones.

Possible Answers:

revealed their feelings

reveal their feelings

reveal they're feelings

reveal there feelings

revealing their feelings

Correct answer:

revealing their feelings

Explanation:

The use of the present tense verb "reveal" is confusing in the sentence, as it essentially would act as a second verb in the sentence. The verb needs to be changed to a form that can function as a non-verb. The only answer choice that does this is "revealing their feelings," which uses the gerundive form.

Example Question #2111 : Correcting Grammatical Errors

Politicians having grown increasingly aware of the proper way to deal with the media in recent years.

Possible Answers:

Politicians growing increasingly aware

Politicians having grown increased aware

Politicians have grown increasingly aware

Politicians having grown increasing aware

Politicians having grown increasingly aware

Correct answer:

Politicians have grown increasingly aware

Explanation:

The use of "having grown" in the sentence actually makes the sentence not have a verb, because the use of that verb creates a verbal phrase.  The sentence needs the phrase "having grown" to be turned into an actual verb. Therefore, the correct answer choice is "Politicians have grown increasingly aware."

Example Question #31 : Correcting Other 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.

The new law was specifically targeted people making over one million dollars each year.

Possible Answers:

specific targeting of people

specific targeted people

specifically targeting people

specifically targeted of people

specifically targeted people

Correct answer:

specifically targeting people

Explanation:

Whlie one might say that something "was targeted," one cannot say that something "was targeted" something else and be grammatically correct. As only "targeted" is underlined, and not "was," it needs to be changed. Of all the answer choices, only "specifically targeting people" corrects the sentence's error without introducing new errors or extraneous words.

Example Question #151 : 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.

The soldiers keeping watch through the whole night as ordered.

Possible Answers:

The soldiers keeping watch

The soldiers keeping watch

The soldiers keeping watching

The soldiers keep watch

The soldier's keeping watch

Correct answer:

The soldiers keep watch

Explanation:

The use of "keeping" in the sentence is incorrect, as "keeping" needs some version of the verb "to be" to form a functioning verb. (In the phrase "the soldiers keeping watch," "keeping" is a participle.) The verb must be changed to a form that can work in the sentence. The only choice that does this and keeps the intended meaning is "The soldiers keep watch."

Example Question #31 : Correcting Other 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.

The tiny force holding down the fort until help came three days later.

Possible Answers:

The tiny force, holding down the fort,

The tiny force that holding down the fort

The tiny force holding down the fort

The tiny force holds down the fort

The tiny force held down the fort

Correct answer:

The tiny force held down the fort

Explanation:

The use of the participle "holding" means that there is no actual verb in the sentence. Not only does the form have to change, but the use of "came" later in the sentence means the verb form needs to be the past tense. "The tiny force held down the fort" is the only answer choice that uses the correct tense.

Example Question #31 : Other Verb 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.

The athlete obsessing over his team's loss for the entire offseason.

Possible Answers:

The athlete obsessing around

The athlete to obsess over

The athlete obsessed over

The athlete being obsessing over

The athlete obsessing over

Correct answer:

The athlete obsessed over

Explanation:

The use of the participle "obsessing" actually makes the sentence have no verb, as a participle cannot stand as a verb without some form of the verb "to be." "Obsessing" needs to be changed to an appropriate verb form to make the sentence complete. The only answer choice that uses a correct verb form is "The athlete obsessed over."

Example Question #152 : 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.

The child considering the model truck his favorite toy as soon as he played with it.

Possible Answers:

The child considering that model truck 

The child's considering the model truck

The child considering the model truck 

The child considered the model truck 

The child considering of the model truck 

Correct answer:

The child considered the model truck 

Explanation:

The use of the participle form "considering" in the sentence actually causes the sentence to not have a verb. A participle needs some form of the verb "to be" to make a complete verb phrase. "The child considered the model truck," which uses a simple past tense verb, is the only answer choice that corrects this issue.

Example Question #391 : 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.

The old woman keeping mementos throughout her entire life.

Possible Answers:

The old woman kept

The old woman keeps

The old woman is keeping

The old woman keeping

The old woman keep

Correct answer:

The old woman kept

Explanation:

The use of "keeping" as the only verb in the sentence is wrong, as "keeping" is a present participle, and a present participle always needs some form of the verb "to be" to precede it to create a verbal phrase. Additionally, the sentence needs to employ a past tense verb because its action takes place in the past. As such, the only answer choice that fulfills these requirements is "The old woman kept."

Example Question #241 : Verb Formation 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.

The new CEO was astonishing at the state of the company's finances.

Possible Answers:

The new CEO was astonished

The new CEO were astonishing

The new CEO was astonishing

The new CEO is astonishing

The new CEO astonishing

Correct answer:

The new CEO was astonished

Explanation:

The verbal phrase "was astonishing" is structured as though the CEO is astonishing the company's finances. The only answer choice that fixes this issue is "The new CEO was astonished."

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