ACT English : Period, Exclamation Point, and Question Mark Errors

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for ACT English

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Example Questions

Example Question #11 : Period, Exclamation Point, And Question Mark Errors

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

One of his classes meets at 8 a.m., but he has another at 8 p.m.

Possible Answers:

One of his classes meets at 8 a.m. but he has another at 8 p.m.

NO CHANGE

One of his classes meets at 8 a,m, but he has another at 8 p,m.

One of his classes meets at 8 a.m., but he has another at 8 p.m..

One of his classes meets at 8 a.m, but he has another at 8 p.m.

Correct answer:

NO CHANGE

Explanation:

The sentence is correct as written.  If the abbreviation "a.m." or "p.m." falls at the end of the sentence, an additional period is not necessary, but if it comes at the end of a dependent clause or a phrase that would otherwise end in a comma, the comma is required in addition to the period on the abbreviation.  Because the sentence joins two complete sentences with a conjunction ("but"), the comma is required.

Example Question #11 : Period, Exclamation Point, And Question Mark Errors

When I retired I took up sprinting.  I ran for my university track team a D3 team don’t get too excited and performed as a top athlete in our conference.  I fell in love with running so much that I even signed up to run cross country in the fall.  Endurance is not my thing and that is part of why I am lazy.  I played soccer one season because the team needed an extra body.  I was an awful terrible soccer player but it was so much fun!  

What punctuation would be the most suitable at the end of the underlined portion, if the author wants to place special emphasis on this sentence?

Possible Answers:

 even signed up to run cross country in the fall;

 even signed up to run cross country in the fall!

 even signed up to run cross country in the fall? 

 even signed up to run cross country in the fall - 

 even signed up to run cross country in the fall. 

Correct answer:

 even signed up to run cross country in the fall!

Explanation:

Exclamation points are used to add emphasis.  Because the sentence included the word "even," we know the author wants to emphasize this, making it a prime location for an exclamation point.

Example Question #11 : Period, Exclamation Point, And Question Mark Errors

My lunch I had with my friend Gary (1) did not go very well. For one thing (2) he said he would come to pick me up (3) at noon. He normally texts me when he's outside, so I waited until 12:25.  Finally, at 12:30, he sends (4) a text: "Left my phone at home and had to come back to get it since you weren't downstairs waiting."

When he came back to get me, he was mad, at me. (5) "I couldn't find your doorbell," he shouted, "because there was no name tag on it, so I had gone (6) all the way home to get my phone just to text you!" (7)

"Wait a minute," I said, starting to get angry myself, "you're mad at me because you left your phone at home and you couldn't find my doorbell?"

"That's right," he replied __________ (8). "If you had been waiting downstairs, I would have had to not go through all of this." (9)

"But you're the one who left your phone at home," I countered, "and you always text me when you get here. Never have you asked me (10) to wait outside for you."

"Well, you should have," he muttered.

The rest of the day goes (11) downhill from there, all because my former friend Gary is (12) too proud to admit when he makes a mistake.

Choose from the following four options the answer that best corrects the underlined mistake preceding the question number. If there is no mistake or the original text is the best option, choose "NO CHANGE."

Possible Answers:

to text you"!

NO CHANGE

to text you."

to text you".

Correct answer:

NO CHANGE

Explanation:

The attribution phrase "he shouted" implies the need for an exclamation mark, which would follow the quotation but would be placed inside the quotation marks.

Example Question #13 : Period, Exclamation Point, And Question Mark Errors

The student the hand of whom was up (1) gave the wrong answer. She was asked what was a substantive adjective (2), and she answered that a substantive adjective is one that describe (3) a substance. "No!" (4) the teacher barked. "A substantive adjective takes the place of a noun in a sentence, as when someone talks about the rich and the poor (5). Did you learn nothing in this class?" He then asked what a superlative adjective was, to which she replied (6) that a superlative adjective was one that took the place of a noun in a sentence. "But thats (7) what I just said," the teacher screamed! (8) The student had said (9) that she had heard him, therefore (10) she answered his question. "You answered my question previously, (11)" he bellowed, "not the last one!" "Ah, you mean the latest one," the student replied, the moment at which (12) the teacher turned to the wall and started beating his head against it.

Choose from the following four options the answer that best corrects the underlined mistake preceding the question number. If there is no mistake or the original text is the best option, choose "NO CHANGE."

Possible Answers:

"No",

"No,"

NO CHANGE

"No"!

Correct answer:

NO CHANGE

Explanation:

The phrase "the teacher barked" implies that an exclamation point is appropriate here, and the punctuation should be placed inside the quotation mark.

Example Question #11 : Period, Exclamation Point, And Question Mark Errors

The student the hand of whom was up (1) gave the wrong answer. She was asked what was a substantive adjective (2), and she answered that a substantive adjective is one that describe (3) a substance. "No!" (4) the teacher barked. "A substantive adjective takes the place of a noun in a sentence, as when someone talks about the rich and the poor (5). Did you learn nothing in this class?" He then asked what a superlative adjective was, to which she replied (6) that a superlative adjective was one that took the place of a noun in a sentence. "But thats (7) what I just said," the teacher screamed! (8) The student had said (9) that she had heard him, therefore (10) she answered his question. "You answered my question previously, (11)" he bellowed, "not the last one!" "Ah, you mean the latest one," the student replied, the moment at which (12) the teacher turned to the wall and started beating his head against it.

Choose from the following four options the answer that best corrects the underlined mistake preceding the question number. If there is no mistake or the original text is the best option, choose "NO CHANGE."

Possible Answers:

said" the teacher screamed.

said," the teacher screamed.

said!" the teacher screamed.

NO CHANGE

Correct answer:

said!" the teacher screamed.

Explanation:

The word "screamed" indicates that the exclamation mark is appropriate here, and the punctuation should be placed inside the quotation marks since it is part of the teacher's utterance, not the sentence itself.

Example Question #12 : Period, Exclamation Point, And Question Mark Errors

"Whomever (1) wins the game will play in the Megabowl," (2) Paul shouted, and Derek wasnt (3) sure how to respond.  He dint (4) particularly care for football generally, (5) or for the Megabowl specifically but (6) he did not want to upset his best friend, whom (7) was obviously excessively (8) excited about the news.  He took a deep breath then (9) he said  "That's wonderful news (10) Paul.  Where is the game be (11) held?"  Paul grinned and replied, "In Antarctica!"  Derek blinked.  "Since when are they having football games in Antarctica" he (12) asked.  Paul simply smiled and said, "There had to be some good to come out of global warming, right?"

Choose from the following four options the answer that best corrects the underlined mistake preceding the question number. If there is no mistake or the original text is the best option, choose "NO CHANGE."

Possible Answers:

Megabowl",

Megabowl!"

NO CHANGE

Megabowl"!

Correct answer:

Megabowl!"

Explanation:

The phrase, "Paul shouted," implies that an exclamation mark is required, and marks such as question marks and exclamation marks should be placed inside the quotation marks.

Example Question #12 : Period, Exclamation Point, And Question Mark Errors

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

"That's not the way you would write that!," she exclaimed.

Possible Answers:

"That's not the way you would write that," she exclaimed!

"That's not the way you would write that," she exclaimed.

NO CHANGE

"That's not the way you would write that!" she exclaimed!

"That's not the way you would write that!" she exclaimed.

Correct answer:

"That's not the way you would write that!" she exclaimed.

Explanation:

The phrase "she exclaimed" necessitates the use of the exclamation mark, which takes the place of the comma that normally goes inside quotation marks at the end of a quoted sentence. The sentence itself is not an exclamation, though. It is the person being quoted who is over-excited, not the person reporting what she has said.

Example Question #13 : Period, Exclamation Point, And Question Mark Errors

Adapted from The Sorrows of Young Werther by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1774; trans. Boylan 1854)

Wilhelm, what is the world to our hearts without love. What is a magic-lantern without light? You have but too kindle the flame within, and the brightest figures shine on the white wall; and, were love only to show us fleeting shadows, we are yet happy, when, like mere children, we behold it, and are transported with the splendid phantoms. I have not been able to see Charlotte today. I was prevented by company from which I could not disengage myself. What was to be done? I sent my servant to her house, that I might at least see somebody today whom had been near her. Oh, the impatience with which I waited for his return! Oh, the joy with which I welcomed him. I should certainly have caught him in my arms and kissed him, if I had not been ashamed.

It is said that the Bonona stone, when placed in the sun, attracts its rays and for a time appears luminous in the dark. So was it with me and this servant. The idea that Charlotte's eyes had dwelt on his countenance, his cheek, his very apparel, endeared it all inestimably to me so that, at that moment, I would not have parted from him for a thousand crowns. His presence made me so happy! Beware of laughing at me, Wilhelm. Can that be a delusion which makes us happy?

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

Possible Answers:

Oh, the joy with which I welcomed him!

NO CHANGE

Oh, the joy with whom I welcomed him.

Oh, the joy with which, I welcomed him!

Oh the joy with which I welcomed him.

Correct answer:

Oh, the joy with which I welcomed him!

Explanation:

The only error in the sentence, as written, is its lack of an exclamation point. Clearly, the author is expressing this level of excitement, as indicated by the sentence preceding this one. There is no need to change any other punctuation. The best clue for this sentence is the parallel construction in the preceding sentence: "Oh, . . . !"

Example Question #754 : Correcting Grammatical Errors

I love to cleaning. It’s a good way to unwind at the end of the day, and, I always function better in a clean environment. I once heard someone say, “You’re home is your temple.” I attempt to lived my life by that. My priorities are getting rid of clutter, sweeping the floor, washing the dishes, and cleaning the counter top in our kitchen. I mop the floor extremely, quickly. I don’t mop all that often, but my roommates appreciate it whenever I do!. 

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

Possible Answers:

I don’t mop all that often, but my roommates appreciate it whenever I do!?

I don’t mop all that often, but my roommates appreciate it whenever I do!

I don’t mop all that often, but my roommates appreciate it whenever I do!!

I don’t mop all that often! but my roommates appreciate it whenever I do!

NO CHANGE

Correct answer:

I don’t mop all that often, but my roommates appreciate it whenever I do!

Explanation:

An exclamation point can replace a period to add emphasis to the end of a sentence. It cannot be used in the middle of a sentence. Using more than one exclamation point is almost always unnecessary. The sentence is not a question, so a question mark is not needed.

Example Question #14 : Period, Exclamation Point, And Question Mark Errors

During the final months of 2007, the prices of basic grains nearly doubled in Northern Africa, Latin America, and much of Asia, the high prices caused a global food crisis. The catastrophe sparked and incited an international debate regarding the licensing of new technologies to developing nations. One economist warned that because of the risk of unforeseen price shocks, officials should proceed very cautiously. The construction of private farms pose a serious financial threat to farmers in the United States; nevertheless, of the five most industrialized nations, the United States exports more crops.  

How do some countries cope with food crises better than others. It is technology that accounts for the majority of the difference. The rate at which countries adopt innovations depends significantly on environmental factors. These environmental factors include climate, soil and elevation. The variability in environment inhibits new technologies from gaining worldwide popularity that are suited for one particular region over another. For example, the pesticides used in Europe are much more acidic than North America. Without the different levels of acidity, pests would prevent the crops to grow.

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:

for Asia. The

of, Asia. The

of Asia. The

NO CHANGE

of Asia, the quite

Correct answer:

of Asia. The

Explanation:

The first sentence in this passage contains two independent clauses: 1) "During the final months of 2007, the prices of basic grains nearly doubled in Northern Africa, Latin America, and much of Asia," and 2) "The high prices caused a global food crisis." 

The insertion of a comma between two independent clauses without a coordinating conjunction such as "and" or "but" is called a comma splice. The original text and the answer choice "Asia, the quite" contain comma splices and are therefore incorrect. Although the answer choice ", Asia. The" avoids a comma splice, it is incorrect because it contains an unnecessary comma before the word "Asia."

Only the answer choice "Asia. The" avoids a comma splice without adding any unnecessary punctuation.

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