ACT English : Other Usage Errors

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for ACT English

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Example Questions

Example Question #1 : Correcting Conventional And Idiomatic 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.

I learned a lot from the woman that I talked to.

Possible Answers:

I learned a lot from the woman who I talked to.

I learned a lot from the woman that I talked to.

I would learn a lot from the woman that I had talked to.

I learned a lot from the woman whom I talked to.

I learned a lot from the woman to whom I talked.

Correct answer:

I learned a lot from the woman to whom I talked.

Explanation:

We do not end a sentence with a preposition. Also, we use the pronoun "whom" when a person is the object of the verb. Here, the woman is the object of the verb "talked".

Example Question #1 : Correcting Conventional And Idiomatic 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.

No matter how hard I concentrated on the question, the solution to it kept alluding me.

Possible Answers:

the solution to it kept alluding me.

alluding me was the solution to it.

the solution was kept elusive.

the solution was keeping allusive.

the solution to it kept eluding me.

Correct answer:

the solution to it kept eluding me.

Explanation:

This question deals with incorrect word choice. The correct word is elude, which means to stay out of reach. Allude means to indirectly refer to something.

Example Question #651 : 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 rain has a big affect on his mood.

Possible Answers:

The rain affects his mood.

(No changes to original.)

On his mood, the rain is largely effecting.

His mood has a big affect on the rain.

The rain has a big effect on his mood.

Correct answer:

The rain has a big effect on his mood.

Explanation:

Here, we need the noun “effect,” not the verb “affect.”

Example Question #41 : Correcting Other 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.

Many New Yorkers had no choice but to evacuate the area because of the imminent danger of the approaching snow storm.

Possible Answers:

because of the imminent danger of the approaching snowstorm.

because of the eminent danger of the approaching snow storm.

because of the eminent danger from the approaching snowstorm.

because of the imminent danger of the approaching snow storm.

because of the imminent danger from the approaching snow storm.

Correct answer:

because of the imminent danger of the approaching snowstorm.

Explanation:

“Imminent” means threatening or looming, while “eminent” means well-known or famous. Also, “snowstorm” is a compound word (two words put together).

Example Question #1 : Correcting Errors Involving Commonly Confused Words

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 car was determined to be the one which was used in the robbery.

Possible Answers:

the one having been used in the robbery.

that which was used in the robbery.

which was used in the robbery.

the one which was used in the robbery

that was used in the robbery.

Correct answer:

the one which was used in the robbery

Explanation:

While the underlined phrase is a bit convoluted, the phrase is fully grammatically correct. Either "that" or "which" would be appropriate in the sentence, but using both or futher modifying the phrase makes it confusing and unclear. 

Example Question #221 : Correcting Word Usage Errors

The two campaigns became certain the election was so close election night would not feature a definite result.

Possible Answers:

was closely

was so close that

was too close

was close

was so close

Correct answer:

was so close that

Explanation:

The key problem with the sentence is that the portion after the underlined part has to be introduced by a pronoun introducing the relative clause "election night would not feature a definite result." "Was so close that" is the only choice among the answers featuring such a word.

Example Question #1 : Correcting Errors Involving Commonly Confused Words

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.

We're you ever planning on telling me that we're almost out of gas or were you going to wait until the car stopped working?

Possible Answers:

Were you ever planning on telling me that were almost out of gas or were you going to wait until the car stopped working?

Were you ever planning on telling me that we're almost out of gas or we're you going to wait until the car stopped working?

We're you ever planning on telling me that were almost out of gas or we're you going to wait until the car stopped working?

Were you ever planning on telling me that we're almost out of gas or were you going to wait until the car stopped working?

We're you ever planning on telling me that we're almost out of gas or we're you going to wait until the car stopped working?

Correct answer:

Were you ever planning on telling me that we're almost out of gas or were you going to wait until the car stopped working?

Explanation:

"Were" is the past tense of "to be," and "we're" is the contraction of the two words "we are." For the first underlined word, we need the past tense of "to be," and we can tell this by noticing that this "were" needs to function as part of the verb "were . . . ever planning." The second underlined word needs to be the contraction of "we are," since we could replace it with "we are" ("that we are almost out of gas") and the sentence would still make sense. The third word needs to be the past tense of "to be," since, like the first word, it is part of the verb phrase "were . . . going." So, the correct answer is "Were you ever planning on telling me that we're almost out of gas? Or were you going to wait until the car stopped working?"

Example Question #42 : Correcting Other 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.

Marlene and Josh spent hours debating what to wear and where to go for dinner.

Possible Answers:

where and wear

wear and where

wear and were

were and wear

wear and wear

Correct answer:

wear and where

Explanation:

"Wear" is a verb, "where" is an adverb, and "were" is the plural past tense form of the verb "to be." So, the correct answer is "wear and where."

Example Question #1 : Correcting Conventional And Idiomatic 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.

What is most importantest in life is having love, health, and happiness in personal relationships.

Possible Answers:

importantest

most important

most importantest

more importanter

most importantly

Correct answer:

most important

Explanation:

"Importantest" is not a word, and is an incorrect superlative form. The proper superlative form of "important" is "most important," which is the correct answer choice.

Example Question #2091 : Sat Writing

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.

Kylie studied until morning in preparing her test stategy for the next exam.

Possible Answers:

for preparing her test strategy

to prepare her test strategy

in an effort to prepare her test strategy

for the preparation of her test strategy

in preparing her test strategy

Correct answer:

to prepare her test strategy

Explanation:

This is an usual utilization of the word "preparing." Simply "to prepare" is more practical.

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