ACT English : Understanding Referents

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for ACT English

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Example Questions

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Example Question #21 : Understanding Referents

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

Delving into the topic of quantum physics with a great deal of enthusiasm, the research team went on to make a number of startling claims about the relationship between time and space.

Possible Answers:

They were delving into the topic of quantum physics with a great deal of enthusiasm,

They delved into the topic of quantum physics with a great deal of enthusiasm,

Delved into the topic of quantum physics with a great deal of enthusiasm,

NO CHANGE

Having delved into the topic of quantum physics with a great deal of enthusiasm,

Correct answer:

Having delved into the topic of quantum physics with a great deal of enthusiasm,

Explanation:

The opening phrase should establish that they action took place before the team went to to make its claims. Since the second clause is a main clause preceded by a comma, answer choices that are main clauses create comma splices.

Example Question #22 : Understanding Referents

“Bach and German Hymnody”

[31] The great German composer, Johann Sebastian Bach was a member of a prodigiously talented musical family. [32] A significant number of Johann Sebastians ancestors and descendants were musicians of various levels of talent. [33] Although he was known for music of a variety of forms, one of his most enduring legacies is the repertoire of chorale music by which he improved and solidified the world of German congregational singing.

During the period after the Protestant Reformation, a number of hymns were written for use in the common worship of the Christians of the time. [34] The structured form of these compositions were well suited for congregational singing although they would sound strange to our contemporary ears. [35] The harmonies and meters of these hymns are very close in character to the music with which we are familiar. They lack some of the standard structural elements that we take for granted in this form of organized [36] Western music, these small differences would stand out to our sensibilities.

It was the great glory of Johann Sebastian Bach to have harmonized a great number of these hymns, often penning multiple such harmonies. [37] One solitary single melody might be made by Bach into three, four, or even five different harmonic compositions. [38] This amazing feat of musical prowess is no small addition to the original behest of Lutheran hymns that Bach had inherited from his fellow religious brethren. [39] Many of these harmonies remain to this day as classic renditions of these songs. [40] They are sung not only in the German world but in Protestant and Catholic services. [41] Indeed they are even sung in wholly secular concerts thanks to their great beauty!

Interestingly enough, Bach was more recognized as a talented performer, rather than composer, of music in his own lifetime. While he was still composing, knowledge of Bach’s work was limited to music connoisseurs who happened to be physically near places [42] he lived and worked. It was not until the early 19th century, when the first biography of Bach was published, that academic and popular interest [43] truly picked up steam. In the two centuries that followed, his works have continued to proliferate in both religious and purely musical contexts.

This great diffusion of one mans’ work is a testament to his prodigious talent. [44] It also stands as a testament to the fact that Bach’s work came at a pivotal time when the Protestant hymnody was crystallizing, as well as when Western harmonies were coming into a particular expression that is known as the Baroque. [45]

 

Choose the answer that best corrects section [38].

Possible Answers:

This amazing feat of musical prowess is no small addition to the original behest of Lutheran hymns, that Bach had inherited from his fellow religious brethren.

Such amazing feats of musical prowess are no small addition to the original behest of Lutheran hymns that Bach had inherited from his fellow religious brethren.

Such amazing feats of musical prowess is no small addition to the original behest of Lutheran hymns that Bach had inherited from his fellow religious brethren.

NO CHANGE

Correct answer:

Such amazing feats of musical prowess are no small addition to the original behest of Lutheran hymns that Bach had inherited from his fellow religious brethren.

Explanation:

This question requires you to read the passage intelligently, as it is based on a broader context. Notice that the sentence before this one discussed how Bach would make one song into several. This is talking about multiple activities, not just one. Therefore, it is better to speak of "feats of prowess" than just the singular "feat of prowess" written of in the passage as it stands. It is tempting to think that this is okay, for the passage is generally speaking of Bach's overall project of chorale writing; however, here it is better to draw attention to his multiple actions of writing multiple chorales.

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