ACT English : Other Verb Usage Errors

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for ACT English

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Example Questions

Example Question #51 : 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 project's construction workers had never seeing a building like the new concert hall.

Possible Answers:

had not ever seeing a building

had never seeing the building

have never seeing the building

had never seeing a building

had never seen a building

Correct answer:

had never seen a building

Explanation:

"Seeing" is an incorrect verb form, as it is a present participle, used with a past tense verb, "had." The verb form needs to be changed to make it the past participle form. The only answer choice that uses the correct verb form is "had never seen a building."

Example Question #43 : 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 young girl showing great aptitude for playing the piano from an early age.

Possible Answers:

showing great aptitude at playing the piano

showing great aptitude on playing the piano

showing greater aptitude for playing the piano

showing great aptitude for playing the piano

showed great aptitude for playing the piano

Correct answer:

showed great aptitude for playing the piano

Explanation:

The use of the present participle "showing" as the verb in the sentence makes the verb actually not have a verb. A participle needs to be accompanied by some form of the verb "to be" in order to be a workable verb in a sentence. The answer choice that corrects this issue is "showed great aptitude for playing the piano," which uses a straightforward past tense verb.

Example Question #51 : 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 old man worked making sure he could get home before the sunset.

Possible Answers:

The old man worked making sure that he could get home before the sunset.

The old man to work making sure that he could get home before the sunset.

The old man to work to make sure that he could get home before the sunset.

The old man working to make sure that he can get home before the sunset.

The old man worked to make sure that he could get home before the sunset.

Correct answer:

The old man worked to make sure that he could get home before the sunset.

Explanation:

The use of the participle form "making" is awkward in this sentence, as a participle can only be used with a form of the verb "to be." The word can be changed to an infinitive form, making it pair better with a regular past tense verb to show what the man was working towards. Therefore, the correct answer is "The old man worked to make sure that he could get home before the sunset."

Example Question #51 : 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 novice having few role models in his career, so he took his own route.

Possible Answers:

The novice, having few role models in his career,

The novice having few role models in his own career,

The novice had few role models in his career,

The novice having few role models in his career,

The novice having few role models from his career,

Correct answer:

The novice had few role models in his career,

Explanation:

The use of the present participle "having" as the main verb makes this sentence actually have no verb. A participle can only be a complete verb if it is used with some form of the verb "to be." "The novice had few role models in his career," using the simple past tense form, is the only answer choice that fixes this issue.

Example Question #261 : 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 whole group working under an immense amount of pressure from the higher-ups in the office.

Possible Answers:

working under an immensely amount of pressure

working over an immense amount of pressure

working under an immense amount of pressure

worked under an immense amount of pressure

working under an immense amounts of pressure

Correct answer:

worked under an immense amount of pressure

Explanation:

The use of the participle "working" as the verb in this sentence is incorrect, as a participle needs to be preceded by some form of the verb "to be" in order to function as the verb of a sentence. Either the verb needs to be changed to a workable verb, a form of "to be" needs to be inserted into the sentence right before it. The only answer choice that does either is "worked under an immense amount of pressure," which uses a simple past tense verb.

Example Question #51 : 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 puppies reacting to their mother for the first time soon after their birth.

Possible Answers:

reacting to there mother for the first time

reacting to their mother for a first time

reacting to their mother in the first time

reacting to their mother for the first time

reacted to their mother for the first time

Correct answer:

reacted to their mother for the first time

Explanation:

The use of the participle "reacting" makes the sentence actually have no proper verb, as a participle needs to be preceded by a form of the verb "to be." Either the verb form needs to be changed, or some version of the verb "to be" needs to be added into the sentence to make the sentence have a usable verb. The only answer choice that addresses this problem, by changing the participle to a past tense verb, is "reacted to their mother for the first time."

Example Question #881 : Word 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 grandmother baking pies in the kitchen when everybody arrived.

Possible Answers:

The grandmother baking pies in the kitchen when everybody arriving.

The grandmother, baking pies in the kitchen when everybody arrived.

The grandmother baking pies in the kitchen when everybody arrived.

The grandmother was baking pies in the kitchen when everybody arrived.

The grandmother baking pies, in the kitchen, when everybody arrived.

Correct answer:

The grandmother was baking pies in the kitchen when everybody arrived.

Explanation:

The use of the participle "baking" in the sentence means the sentence does not contain an actual verb. A participle needs to be preceded by some version of the verb "to be" in order to be a complete verbal phrase and act as a verb in a sentence. The only answer choice that makes such a change is "The grandmother was baking pies in the kitchen when everybody arrived."

Example Question #49 : 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 group's biggest concerns centering on the political process itself.

Possible Answers:

The group's biggest concerns centering on the political process its own self.

The groups biggest concerns centering on the political process itself.

The group's biggest concerns centering around the political process itself.

The group's biggest concerns centered on the political process itself.

The group's biggest concerns centering on the political process itself.

Correct answer:

The group's biggest concerns centered on the political process itself.

Explanation:

The use of the participle "centering" as the verb in this sentence actually makes the sentence not have a verb, as a participle needs to be preceded by some form of the verb "to be" in order to function as a verb. The only answer choice that takes care of this problem, by changing the participle to a past tense verb, is "The group's biggest concerns centered on the political process itself."

Example Question #51 : 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. One of the answer choices repeats the underlined portion as it is written.

Lots of voters pay little attention to the actual issues candidates advocating.

Possible Answers:

candidates advocate.

candidates advocating.

candidates advocating them.

advocating of candidates.

candidates advocate of issues.

Correct answer:

candidates advocate.

Explanation:

The underlined portion needs to be improved by straightening out the verb "advocating." The verb tense in the final word needs to match with the use of "pay little attention" at the beginning of the sentence, which is in the present tense. "Candidates advocate" is the best choice among the answers.

Example Question #411 : 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.

Quite apart from the transportation issues, many consumers could not afford the cars once they having been arrived at the dealerships.

Possible Answers:

having been arriving

arriving

have arriving

having been arrived

had arrived

Correct answer:

had arrived

Explanation:

The underlined portion of the sentence features an overwrought complex verb which also features an inappropriate verb usage. The use of "once" indicates the cars arrived in the past, so a past tense needs to be used. "Had arrived" is the best choice among the answers.

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