ACT English : Other Verb Usage Errors

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for ACT English

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Example Questions

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Example Question #561 : Correcting 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. One of the answer choices reproduces the underlined portion as it is written in the sentence.

Having eaten little food while lost at sea, the sailors attacking their meal upon arrival on dry land.

Possible Answers:

the sailors attacking their own meal

the sailors attacking their meal

the sailors attacked their meal

the sailors' attacking their meal

the sailor's attacking their meal

Correct answer:

the sailors attacked their meal

Explanation:

The use of the word "attacking" is actually not a verb in the sentence, but a gerund, that is a verb form that can be used as a noun. The word needs to be turned into the appropriate verb form. "The sailors attacked their meal" is the correct answer choice.

Example Question #571 : Correcting 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. One of the answer choices reproduces the underlined portion as it is written in the sentence.

The many problems accruing in the project seeming to get worse over time.

Possible Answers:

have seeming to get worse over time.

seeming to getting worse over time.

have been seemed to get worse over time.

seemed to get worse over time.

seeming to get worse over time.

Correct answer:

seemed to get worse over time.

Explanation:

The use of the verb "seeming" in the sentence makes the sentence incomplete. As "seeming" is a gerund, or a verb form that functions as a noun, there is actually no verb in the sentence. The correct answer is "seemed to get worse over time."

Example Question #201 : 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 reproduces the underlined portion as it is written in the sentence.

Having seen many natural wonders in his life, the general was still astonishing at the massive waterfall.

Possible Answers:

also astonishing at the massive waterfall.

still astonished at the massive waterfall.

still astonishing in the massive waterfall.

still astonishing to the massive waterfall.

still astonishing at the massive waterfall.

Correct answer:

still astonished at the massive waterfall.

Explanation:

The "waterfall" makes the "general" have a feeling of astonishment. The sentence as written makes this quite confusing. To make it correct grammatically, the form of the word needs to be something the general does. "Still astonished at the massive waterfall" is the correct answer choice.

Example Question #573 : Correcting 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. One of the answer choices reproduces the underlined portion as it is written in the sentence.

Unlike his contemporaries, the painter sticking closely to shapes that could exist in reality.

Possible Answers:

a painter sticking closely

the painter sticking close

the painter sticking closer

the painter sticking closely

the painter stuck closely

Correct answer:

the painter stuck closely

Explanation:

The use of the verb form "sticking," a past participle," makes the action of the sentence unclear, as such forms usually need an extra verb to clarify the action. The verb form should be change to an active tense. Thus, "the painter stuck closely" is the correct answer choice.

Example Question #281 : Verb Formation Errors

Choose the answer that best corrects the underlined portion of the sentence. If the underlined portion is correct as written, choose "NO CHANGE."

I love to shopping on weekends.

Possible Answers:

I love shopping on weekends.

NO CHANGE

I love shop on weekends.

I love to shopped on weekends.

Correct answer:

I love shopping on weekends.

Explanation:

This sentence is incorrect as written; it should either use an infinitive and read "I love to shop on weekends" or use a gerund and read "I love shopping on weekends." The gerund option is presented as one of the answer choices, so it is the correct answer.

Example Question #61 : 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. One of the answer choices reproduces the underlined portion as it is written in the sentence.

The girls having a party commemorating the end of the school year.

Possible Answers:

The girls having the party 

The girls are having a party 

The girls having some party 

The girls having party 

The girls having a party 

Correct answer:

The girls are having a party 

Explanation:

The sentence as constructed does not actually contain a verb. "Having" in this sentence is the present participle, which always needs a form of the verb "to be." In this sentence, the appropriate form is "are," the plural form, making "The girls are having a party" the correct answer.

Example Question #1501 : Improving Sentences

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 battalion marching towards the battlefield on their way to the conflict.

Possible Answers:

The battalion marching toward the battlefield on their way to the conflict.

The battalion marching towards the battlefield on there way to the conflict.

The battalion marches towards the battlefield on their way to the conflict.

The battalion marching towards the battlefield on their way against the conflict.

The battalion marching towards the battlefield on their way to the conflict.

Correct answer:

The battalion marches towards the battlefield on their way to the conflict.

Explanation:

The use of "marching" makes the sentence not have a verb, as the participle form always needs some form of the verb "to be" used immediately before it to make it a complete verb. (For example, it's not grammatically correct to say "The fish swimming across the lake." Anyone who heard this might ask, "The fish swimming across the lake did what?" since "swimming" is a participle—a verb acting like an adjective. Instead, the correct way to say this would be, "The fish was swimming across the lake," or, alternatively, use a different verb form altogether, such as "The fish swam across the lake." To correct the problem's sentence, either the participle "marching" needs to be preceded by some form of the verb "to be," or it should be changed to some other form than the present participle to avoid functioning as an adjective and instead clearly function as the sentence's verb. The only answer choice that uses either of these options is "The battalion marches towards the battlefield on their way to the conflict."

Example Question #72 : Other Verb Usage Errors

“The Dark Ages?” by Matthew Minerd (2016)

There are two different ways to consider the so-called “Dark Ages.” On the one hand, you can think of the period directly after the fall of the Roman Empire, when civilization began to collapse throughout the Western Empire. On the other hand, you can consider the period that followed this initial collapse of society. It is a gross simplification too use the adjective dark to describe the civilization of either of these periods.

As regards the first period it is quite a simplification to consider this period to be a single historical moment. It is not as though the civilization switched off like a lightbulb. At one moment light and then, at the next, dark. Instead, the decline of civilization occurred over a period of numerous decades and was, in fact, already occurring for many years before the so-called period of darkness. Thus, the decline of civilization was not a rapid collapse into barbarism, but instead, was a slow alteration of the cultural milieu of a portion of Europe. Indeed, the Eastern Roman Empire retained much of it’s cultural status during these years of decline!

More importantly, the period following the slow collapse of the Western Empire was much less “dark” than almost every popular telling states. Indeed, even during the period of decline, the seeds for cultural restoration was being sown. A key element of this cultural revival were the formation of monastic communities throughout the countryside of what we now know as Europe. Although these were not the only positive force during these centuries, the monasteries had played an important role in preserving and advancing the cause of culture through at least the thirteenth century and arguably until the Renaissance.

How should the underlined and bolded selection be changed?

Possible Answers:

It was a gross simplification too use the adjective

It was a gross simplification to use the adjective

It is a gross simplification, too, to use the adjective

It is a gross simplification to use the adjective

It is a gross simplification, too, use the adjective

Correct answer:

It is a gross simplification to use the adjective

Explanation:

As written, the selection misuses the word "too." This means also. What you need is the form "to" in order to complete the infinitive verb form "to use." Note, however, that you should not add "too" in addition to "to." There is no need for expressing "also" in the actual content expressed in this passage. This is the only direct statement made about the simplification in question. Hence, you do not need to say "also" or "too."

Example Question #2151 : Correcting Grammatical Errors

“The Dark Ages?” by Matthew Minerd (2016)

There are two different ways to consider the so-called “Dark Ages.” On the one hand, you can think of the period directly after the fall of the Roman Empire, when civilization began to collapse throughout the Western Empire. On the other hand, you can consider the period that followed this initial collapse of society. It is a gross simplification too use the adjective dark to describe the civilization of either of these periods.

As regards the first period it is quite a simplification to consider this period to be a single historical moment. It is not as though the civilization switched off like a lightbulb. At one moment light and then, at the next, dark. Instead, the decline of civilization occurred over a period of numerous decades and was, in fact, already occurring for many years before the so-called period of darkness. Thus, the decline of civilization was not a rapid collapse into barbarism, but instead, was a slow alteration of the cultural milieu of a portion of Europe. Indeed, the Eastern Roman Empire retained much of it’s cultural status during these years of decline!

More importantly, the period following the slow collapse of the Western Empire was much less “dark” than almost every popular telling states. Indeed, even during the period of decline, the seeds for cultural restoration was being sown. A key element of this cultural revival were the formation of monastic communities throughout the countryside of what we now know as Europe. Although these were not the only positive force during these centuries, the monasteries had played an important role in preserving and advancing the cause of culture through at least the thirteenth century and arguably until the Renaissance.

How should the underlined and bolded selection be changed?

Possible Answers:

Instead, the decline of civilization occurred over a period of numerous decades, and was, in fact, already occurring for many years before the so-called period of darkness.

NO CHANGE

Instead, the decline of civilization occurred over a period of numerous decades and were in fact already occurring, for many years before the so-called period of darkness.

Instead, the decline of civilization occurred over a period of numerous decades and was, in fact, already occurring, for many years before the so-called period of darkness.

Instead, the decline of civilization occurred over a period of numerous decades and were, in fact, already occurring for many years before the so-called period of darkness.

Correct answer:

NO CHANGE

Explanation:

As written, there are no errors in this sentence. The changes in the verb form are not necessary. The subject of the sentence is "decline." This is a singular verb and hence requires a singular noun, namely "was." It wouldn't make sense to say, "The decline were . . . "! Likewise, no comma alterations need to be made. There are not multiple independent clauses in the sentence, and it makes no sense to place place a comma before the prepositional use of "for" in this sentence.

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