ACT English : Subordinating 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 #1 : Correcting Subordinate Conjunction 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.

Because the giant squid is an elusive creature rarely seen by humans, scientists are beginning to gain a better understanding of the creature by studying it using remote cameras. 

Possible Answers:

Considering

Although 

As

Since

Because

Correct answer:

Although 

Explanation:

The sentence is trying to explain that in spite of the giant squid's elusiveness, scientists are finding new ways of studying it. The sentence therefore is trying to contrast two ideas, as opposed to showing causation with the word "because." The only answer choice that uses a contrasting conjunction is "Although," so it is the correct answer.

Example Question #2 : Correcting Subordinate Conjunction 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.

Because my father was afraid of fish, so he would never take us to the aquarium.

Possible Answers:

Although my father was afraid of fish, he would never take us to the aquarium.

He would never take us to the aquarium because my father was afraid of fish.

Because my father was afraid of fish the aquarium he would never take us to.

Because my father was afraid of fish, he would never take us to the aquarium.

Because my father was afraid of fish, so he would never take us to the aquarium.

Correct answer:

Because my father was afraid of fish, he would never take us to the aquarium.

Explanation:

Subordination problems happen when there are two subordinate clauses and no main clause. The "because" and "so" in the original sentence clash with each other. We only need one. That way, the clause from which a subordinating conjunction is omitted becomes an independent clause, and we need at least one independent clause in the sentence for it to be complete.

Example Question #1 : Correcting Subordinating Conjunction 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.

Prisons are a relatively recent phenomenon in world history, because exorbitant costs.

Possible Answers:

because exorbitant cost.

exorbitant costs.

because they have exorbitant costs.

because exorbitant costs.

because exorbitant costs of prisons.

Correct answer:

because they have exorbitant costs.

Explanation:

The underlined phrase, a separate clause further explaining the first half of the sentence, does not work as a complet sentence. In order to appropriately fit after "because," the phrase needs to be turned into a complete thought. "Because they had exorbitant costs" is the best choice among the answers.

Example Question #11 : Subordinating 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."

Kendall made known to all of her friends that, she was the fastest runner.

Possible Answers:

Kendall made known to all of her friends that:she was the fastest runner.

Kendall made known to all of her friends that she was the fastest runner.

No change

Kendall made known to all of her friends that- she was the fastest runner.

Correct answer:

Kendall made known to all of her friends that she was the fastest runner.

Explanation:

No comma or other punctuation is required here to separate the clause "she was the fastest runner" because it is an indirect quotation introduced by "that."

Example Question #1 : Correcting Subordinating Conjunction 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.

Some prescription drugs can produce dangerous interactions when combined with other chemicals, and you should always tell your physician about any medications you take at home.

Possible Answers:

so you should always tell your physician about any medications you take at home.

although you should always tell your physician about any medications you take at home.

but you should always tell your physician about any medications you take at home.

and you should always tell your physician about any medications you take at home.

and you should always be telling your physician about any medications you take at home.

Correct answer:

so you should always tell your physician about any medications you take at home.

Explanation:

This sentence contains an error in its logic of cause and effect. The first part of the sentence is the reason for the advice offered in the second part. So, you should change "and" to a word that demonstrates the cause-and-effect relationship. Do not add a contrast word like "but" or "although" unless the sentence includes some sort of contradiction or opposition.

Example Question #2 : Correcting Subordinate Conjunction 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 highway, which is notorious for its terrible potholes, was closed on Monday, and I had to take an alternate route to work.

Possible Answers:

The highway, which is notorious for its terrible potholes, was closed on Monday, so I had to take an alternate route to work.

The highway, which is notorious for its terrible potholes and was closed on Monday, I had to take an alternate route to work.

The highway, which is notorious for its terrible potholes, was closed on Monday, although I had to take an alternate route to work.

The highway, which is notorious for its terrible potholes, was closed on Monday, and I had to take an alternate route to work.

The highway, which is notorious for its terrible potholes, was closed on Monday, or I had to take an alternate route to work.

Correct answer:

The highway, which is notorious for its terrible potholes, was closed on Monday, so I had to take an alternate route to work.

Explanation:

Based on the information in this sentence, we can infer that there is a cause-and-effect relationship: as a result of the highway being closed, the speaker had to take a different route to work. “So” is the only conjunction here that indicates cause and effect.

Example Question #12 : Subordinating 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."

He was constantly multitasking, eating and watching television, while he did his Calculus homework.

Possible Answers:

NO CHANGE

He was constantly multitasking and eating dinner, watching television while he was doing his Calculus homework.

He was constantly multitasking, eating dinner and watching television while doing his Calculus homework.

He was constantly multitasking: he was eating dinner, then he was watching television, and while he was doing his Calculus homework.

He was constantly multitasking, eating dinner, watching television, while he was doing his Calculus homework.

Correct answer:

He was constantly multitasking, eating dinner and watching television while doing his Calculus homework.

Explanation:

The original problem uses "while" as a subordinating conjunction in a manner that compromises the parallelism related to the gerunds in the example of Gerald's multitasking. All of the incorrect answer choices somehow change the meaning of the original sentence; the correct answer choice also happens to be the most efficient method of communicating the example of Gerald's multitasking.

Example Question #13 : Subordinating 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 grapefruit production has been negatively impacted by the recent cold weather, retail prices for grapefruit have risen dramatically.

Possible Answers:

Even though

 

Because

NO CHANGE

However

Despite

Correct answer:

Because

Explanation:

The two clauses establish a cause-and-effect relationship; thus, "because" is the only correct coordinator.

Example Question #14 : Subordinating Conjunction Errors

In the given sentence, which of the following subordinating conjunctions will MOST change the meaning of the sentence if substituted for the underlined word?

I want to buy a car once I have a high-paying job.

Possible Answers:

as long as

while

if

because

unless

Correct answer:

unless

Explanation:

This question asks about the use of subordinate conjunctions, which join a subordinate clause to a main clause. The subordinate conjunction that would most change the meaning of the sentence is "unless," because the use of "unless" implies that the narrator will only buy a car if he does NOT have a high-paying job. All the other subordinate conjunctions express the causal connection between a high-paying job and the purchase of a car.

Example Question #15 : Subordinating Conjunction Errors

Choose the answer that, if inserted in place of the underlined text, would most change the meaning of the sentence. 

I wanted to eat a big meal so that I would not get hungry later.

Possible Answers:

in order that

because that way

so

even though

Correct answer:

even though

Explanation:

This question asks you to analyze how different subordinating conjunctions change the meaning of a sentence. Subordinating conjunctions join a main clause to a subordinate clause. In this sentence, "so that," "so," "in order that," and "because that wzy" all convey the same meaning: eating a big meal is intended to prevent hunger in the future. The subordinating conjunction phrase "even though" reverses the sentence's meaning, implying that the narrator wants to eat a big meal despite the fact that future hunger is unlikely.

Learning Tools by Varsity Tutors