ACT English : Conjunction Errors

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for ACT English

varsity tutors app store varsity tutors android store varsity tutors amazon store varsity tutors ibooks store

Example Questions

Example Question #6 : Correcting Phrase, Clause, And Sentence 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 teacher reprimanded his class, saying that he was neither pleased with their poor work nor was he willing to accept their rowdy behavior.

Possible Answers:

saying that he was neither pleased with their poor work nor was he willing to accept their rowdy behavior.

saying that neither was he pleased with their poor work nor was willing to accept their rowdy behavior.

saying that he was neither pleased with their poor work nor willing to accept their rowdy behavior.

saying that he was pleased neither with their poor work nor willing to accept their rowdy behavior.

saying that he was neither pleased with their poor work or willing to accept their rowdy behavior.

Correct answer:

saying that he was neither pleased with their poor work nor willing to accept their rowdy behavior.

Explanation:

The correlative conjunctions “neither” and “nor” belong together. In "neither . . . nor" sentences, the two options (“pleased with their poor work” and “willing to accept their rowdy behavior”) must be presented in a grammatically parallel way so that the words following “neither” and the words following “nor” are parallel phrases.

Example Question #7 : Correcting Phrase, Clause, And Sentence 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.

She told her children that she would take them to either the toy store or to the ice cream parlor if they finished all their chores on time.

Possible Answers:

she would take them either to the toy store or to the ice cream parlor

she would take them to either the toy store or to the ice cream parlor

she would either take them to the toy store or the ice cream parlor

she would take them to either the toy store and the ice cream parlor

she would either take them to the toy store or to the ice cream parlor

Correct answer:

she would take them either to the toy store or to the ice cream parlor

Explanation:

The correlative conjunctions “either” and “or” get paired together here. In "either . . . or" sentences, the two options being discussed (in this case, going to the toy store and going to the ice cream parlor) must be presented in a grammatically parallel way so that the words following “either” and the words following “or” are parallel phrases. In this case, “to the toy store” and “to the ice cream parlor” are the only options that are parallel; otherwise, you’re comparing apples and oranges.

Example Question #4 : Correcting Phrase, Clause, And Sentence 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.

In the future, not Ellen and not Marcia are allowed to go outside without asking the teacher for permission.

Possible Answers:

not Ellen and not Marcia are allowed

neither Ellen nor Marcia are allowed

not Ellen and not Marcia is allowed

neither Ellen nor Marcia is allowed 

neither Ellen and Marcia are allowed

Correct answer:

neither Ellen nor Marcia is allowed 

Explanation:

The correct form for this sentence is "neither . . . nor." In addition, "neither . . .nor" leads to use of the singular form "is" rather than "are."

Example Question #21 : Correlative Conjunction Errors

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

The oblivious cashier continued to ignore both the increasing line of customers at his register or his manager's requests to speed things up.

Possible Answers:

NO CHANGE.

either the increasing line of customers at his register and his manager's requests to speed things up.

both the increasing line of customers at his register and his manager's requests to speed things up.

both the increasing line of customers at his register, his manager's requests to speed things up.

neither the increasing line of customers at his register or his manager's requests to speed things up.

Correct answer:

both the increasing line of customers at his register and his manager's requests to speed things up.

Explanation:

The correct pair of correlative conjunctions to use here is "both/and." The other options listed here are either mismatched or inappropriate for the situation.

Example Question #22 : Correlative Conjunction Errors

Choose the grammatically correct version of each sentence.

His wife's ultimatum aggravated him: "Either you take that puppy back to the pet store and if not you'll spend the night in the doghouse."

Possible Answers:

"Either take that puppy back to the pet store and you will spend the night in the doghouse."

NO CHANGE

"Either take that puppy back to the pet store and you will spend the night in the doghouse."

"Either you will take that puppy back to the pet store or you would spend the night in the doghouse."

"Either you take that puppy back to the pet store or you spend the night in the doghouse."

Correct answer:

"Either you take that puppy back to the pet store or you spend the night in the doghouse."

Explanation:

This is simply a matter of creating the appropriate parallelism using the correct correlative conjunction pair: "Either...or...". Note that the syntax of phrase following the word "or" in the correct answer mirrors that following the word "Either." The correct correlative conjunction pair is ALWAYS "either ... or," no other option can be correct.

Example Question #23 : Correlative Conjunction Errors

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

Either the blue skirt or the purple dresses is on sale this weekend.

Possible Answers:

they will be on sale

NO CHANGE

are on sale

is to be on sale

is going to be on sale

Correct answer:

are on sale

Explanation:

When two subjects are joined by correlative conjunctions "either....or" the verb that follows must agree with the second one.  In this case the second subject, the purple dresses, is plural so the verb should be the plural "are" instead of "is."

Example Question #24 : Correlative Conjunction Errors

“Mathematics and Learning”

What subject should be learned first?  The question rightly troubles anyone who’s interest is in education.  Of course, young children often must learn in a very basic and rote fashion, applying their apt memorization skills to simple tasks that will serve them very well in later years when they go one to apply such knowledge to more complex topics.  However, when the time comes to designing curricula, an important question must be answered for older students, namely “What is most important first topic in these students’s education?”

An argument can be made for the use of mathematics as a tool for teaching students how to reason more clearly.  This is not because mathematics is the basis of all knowledge.  Indeed not.  There are many important subjects including not only the humanities like poetry and history but sciences like biology and physiology too.   These topics are not strictly speaking mathematical in nature, even though mathematics can be used in it in many ways.

Our minds are best geared for learning things that we can sense, things that are visible and tangible.  Although mathematics is abstract, it can begin with this kind of sense derived experience.  Beginning with simple everyday examples, children can be taught the more abstract and difficult skills that must be learned for the sake of the development of mathematical skills.  In the process of learning these topics, the children will begin to learn important rules about reasoning.  He or she will learn how several propositions can serve as the basis for conclusions.  They will learn how certain properties are related to various geometric figures and arithmetical rules.  Although much of this will be memorized at first, with time, they will have the opportunity to see that human reasoning in mathematical subjects is orderly and logical.  On the basis of such “logical experience,” young learners can then begin to be taught the rules of logic that they have been using all along.  As the medievals used to say, they could go from logica utens, logic used in other subjects, to logica docens logic taught, as a unique, and separate subject.

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

Possible Answers:

NO CHANGE

not only the humanities like poetry and history but indeed sciences like biology and physiology too

not only the humanities like poetry, and history, but sciences like biology, and physiology too

not only the humanities like poetry and history, but sciences like biology and physiology too

not only the humanities like poetry and history but also sciences like biology and physiology too

Correct answer:

not only the humanities like poetry and history but also sciences like biology and physiology too

Explanation:

Whenever you use the expression "not only," you should then include a correlated expression "but also." You are trying to express that not only one thing is involved but, in fact, another thing is also involved. Hence, in this sentence, we are concerned not only with poetry and history "but also" with sciences like biology and physiology.

Example Question #25 : Correlative Conjunction Errors

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

Although Chris has explained his financial situation many times to his parents, but they seemingly fail to comprehend how dire it has become.

Possible Answers:

they

because they

however they

so they

NO CHANGE

Correct answer:

they

Explanation:

The word "although" at the beginning of the sentence creates a subordinate clause which must be linked to a main clause with a comma.  

Conjunctions like "but" and "so" should be used to join two main clauses.

"However" would create redundancy.

"Because" would create another subordinate clause and thus make the sentence a fragment.

Example Question #26 : Correlative Conjunction Errors

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

Neither the cactuses nor the seedlings grew well under the low-light conditions.

Possible Answers:

Either the cactuses nor the seedlings

Neither the cactuses or the seedlings

NO CHANGE

Either the cactuses or the seedlings

The cactuses or the seedlings

Correct answer:

NO CHANGE

Explanation:

This question asks about the use of correlative conjunctions, which come in pairs and must both be used in the sentence. The correlative conjunctions "neither...nor" are correctly used in this sentence to express negation. The use of "either" and "or" would incorrectly suggest positivity. 

Example Question #27 : Correlative Conjunction Errors

Josh suffered from a fear of dogs ever since he is a little boy. He would shiver in his boots thinking of a dog barking at him, biting him, or that could chase him. He had never met a single dog he liked. The scarier dog he had ever seen was Mr. Green’s dog, whom he had to pass every day. On his way to school. This dog barked so loudly it made Josh’s hairs stand on end.

She said that there was no need to be afraid. Josh’s mom told him that dogs only barked because they were excited to see him. She told him that he just needed to be confident and not act afraid of this dogs’ barking, and speak in a reassuring tone. Then the dog would quiet down and act more friendly.

Josh felt that neither confidence or a reassuring tone would make any difference. He didn’t think he would ever get over his fear. However, one day he had enough. Barking for hours, he realized the dog was bored and just needed a friend. He wasn’t sure if his mother’s advice would prove true? Hiding his fear, he approached the dog and spoke to it in a reassuring tone. To his surprise, the dog wagged it’s tail and quieted down right away. 

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

Possible Answers:

neither confidence nor a reassuring tone

NO CHANGE

either confidence or a reassuring tone

either confidence nor a reassuring tone

not confidence and not a reassuring tone either

Correct answer:

neither confidence nor a reassuring tone

Explanation:

This question asks you about the correct use of correlative conjunctions. The correlative conjunctions "neither...nor" are used to express negation, and both should be used together. It is not correct to use "or" with "neither," or "either" with "nor." This sentence requires negative correlative conjunctions, so the form "neither confidence nor a reassuring tone" is correct.

Learning Tools by Varsity Tutors