ACT English : Other Usage Errors

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for ACT English

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Example Questions

Example Question #61 : Other Usage 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 concerto was performed by a famous pianist.

Possible Answers:

There was a concerto that was performed by a famous pianist.

The concerto were performed by a famous pianist.

NO CHANGE

A famous pianist performed the concerto.

The famous pianist was a performer of the concerto.

Correct answer:

A famous pianist performed the concerto.

Explanation:

Use active voice ("the pianist performed the concerto") rather than passive ("was performed by"). Active voice is more direct, and produces clearer more concise sentences.

Example Question #62 : Other Usage Errors

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

We could of been the state champions this year if our star player hadn't been suspended for unsportsmanlike conduct.

Possible Answers:

We were going to be the state champions

We could have been the state champions

We should of been the state champions

NO CHANGE

We would of been the state champions

Correct answer:

We could have been the state champions

Explanation:

Despite the fact that "could have" and "could of" sound similar (and are often used interchangeably) when spoken, it is technically grammatically incorrect to use "of" instead of "have" after could/would/should. 

Example Question #61 : Other Usage Errors

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

I should of taken out the trash and done the dishes this morning, but I was busy studying for the test.

Possible Answers:

NO CHANGE

I could of taken out the trash

I should have taken out the trash

I shouldve taken out the trash

I would of taken out the trash

Correct answer:

I should have taken out the trash

Explanation:

Even though "should of" sounds ok and is often used in everyday speech, it is technically incorrect usage and should be "should have."  "Shouldve" is an incorrect contraction of "should have" because it lacks the apostrophe between the "d" and the "v."  Similarly, could of and would of are incorrect and should be could have or would have.

Example Question #62 : Other Usage Errors

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

Wendy advocates for the ethical treatment of animals.

Possible Answers:

advocates

advocate for

advocates to

NO CHANGE

advocates about

Correct answer:

advocates

Explanation:

When used as a verb, as it is in this sentence, "advocate" is not followed by the preposition "for." If advocate were being used as a noun, for example, "Wendy is an advocate for the ethical treatment of animals" then "for" would be correct but when used as a verb "advocate/s" stands alone.

Example Question #63 : Other Usage 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 conference will feature a panel discussion on the topic of using infrared lasers in space to help monitor the ozone layer in our atmosphere.

Possible Answers:

to

in

with

NO CHANGE

over

Correct answer:

NO CHANGE

Explanation:

The correct idiomatic complement for "discussion" in this sentence is "of".

Example Question #64 : Other Usage Errors

Choose the answer that best corrects the underlined portion of the sentence. If the underlined portion is correct as written, select “NO CHANGE.”

Did you figure out the right bus to get in this time?

Possible Answers:

the right bus to get of

the right bus to get inside of

NO CHANGE

the right bus to get into

the right bus to get on

Correct answer:

the right bus to get on

Explanation:

This question asks you about the correct preposition to use after a verb. When discussing boarding a bus, the preposition "on" should be used: "to get on a bus." This rule is idiomatic and must be memorized. 

Example Question #61 : Other Usage Errors

Are you trying to stick to a budget? Using coupons for purchases, also known as “couponing” is a great way to save money on groceries. Coupons are a little piece of paper that can give you a discount on what you buy. You will be amazed at the great bargains and amazing savings you can get!

It’s easy to get started. When you open up your daily newspaper, one might find a glossy insert full of coupons. Some of the coupons will be for things you don’t buy, some will be for things you buy all the time. Go through the coupons and chop out the ones you can use.

The key to successful couponing is getting multiple copies of coupon circulars. Ask your friends, your neighbors, and family if they have any extras. Some coupon users even go through the recycling at their office to find more coupons! Have you ever heard of such a thing in your life! Completely devoted, these circulars help coupon users to get even more savings.

Couponing might sound like hard work, but for many people, it’s also a hobby. Not only does it help them save hundreds of dollars per year, but also it gives them a fun challenge every time they do their shopping. 

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:

key for

key into

key of

NO CHANGE

key in

Correct answer:

NO CHANGE

Explanation:

This question asks you about the correct preposition to use with a noun. When the noun "key" is used to describe an important secret or way of mastering something, the preposition that should follow is "to." This rule is idiomatic, which means it must be memorized. 

Example Question #65 : Other Usage Errors

Maybe your thinking of getting a dog; but you are not sure how it will affect your budget. Don’t worry! It’s possible to enjoy the companionship with a dog without spending too much of your precious dollars.

First, you will want to make a list of all the necessary items needed before you bring Fluffy home. Compare costs at different pet stores, grocery stores and big box stores. You will need to buy food, a leash, and purchase toys for your dog.

When it comes to the many dog food choices, you don’t want to just buy the cheaper option. You will want to do some research to see what is healthiest for your dog! One of the best ways to save money on dog food is to buy it in bulk.

Don’t forget to plan for some other big expenses, the vet consultation, wellness exam, and any treatments your dog needs. When you bring your pet to the vet, they may need shots, which can vary for price. Call different clinics in the area and ask how much they charge for the standard immunizations? You might find that there is a lot of differences between offices.

The key to sticking to your budget is planning everything out! With good preparation and organization, a dog will not cost you more money than you planned for.

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

Possible Answers:

companionship for a dog

NO CHANGE

dog companionship 

companionship to a dog

companionship of a dog

Correct answer:

companionship of a dog

Explanation:

This question asks you about the correct preposition to use with a verb. This sentence is describing the ability to enjoy a dog's companionship. The correct preposition to use to indicate this possession is "of:" "the companionship of a dog."

Example Question #65 : Other Usage Errors

Maybe your thinking of getting a dog; but you are not sure how it will affect your budget. Don’t worry! It’s possible to enjoy the companionship with a dog without spending too much of your precious dollars.

First, you will want to make a list of all the necessary items needed before you bring Fluffy home. Compare costs at different pet stores, grocery stores and big box stores. You will need to buy food, a leash, and purchase toys for your dog.

When it comes to the many dog food choices, you don’t want to just buy the cheaper option. You will want to do some research to see what is healthiest for your dog! One of the best ways to save money on dog food is to buy it in bulk.

Don’t forget to plan for some other big expenses, the vet consultation, wellness exam, and any treatments your dog needs. When you bring your pet to the vet, they may need shots, which can vary for price. Call different clinics in the area and ask how much they charge for the standard immunizations? You might find that there is a lot of differences between offices.

The key to sticking to your budget is planning everything out! With good preparation and organization, a dog will not cost you more money than you planned for.

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

Possible Answers:

vary with price

NO CHANGE

vary what price

vary in price

vary the price

Correct answer:

vary in price

Explanation:

This question asks you about the correct preposition to use after a verb. The preposition "in" should generally be used after the verb "vary" when describing a quality that varies.

Example Question #63 : Conventional And Idiomatic Usage Errors

The rainforest in Borneo which is home to a declining orangutan population is in danger because of the slash and burn agriculture practices of palm oil plantations. As a student of environmental science and policy, I had the opportunity to travel to Borneo with a team of scientists and learn more about the situation.  It was my first time visiting the rainforest, and I was excited to hike, camp, and learning.   At night, we cooked dinner over a small camp stove, but during the day we ate plants along the trail. The biologists's extensive training in botany helped them identify which plants were edible during their trek through the rainforest.  I felt very fortunate to see this beautiful, endangered forest. One of the scientists told me that much of the trails in the forest are impassable during the rainy season.

After a few days of trekking, we arrived in a part of the forest that was supposed to be a protected area.  However, the local minister of forestry was known for catering to the wishes of large palm oil plantation owners. The minister was determined to support the lucrative palm oil industry, irregardless of the costs. Consequently, he had recently allowed the area’s largest company to conduct slash-and-burn farming within the boundaries of the protected area. The scientists told me that these practices not only harmed orangutan habitats, and they contributed to global warming by releasing large amounts of carbon dioxide when peat burns on the forest floor.

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

Possible Answers:

regardless from

irregardless from

NO CHANGE

irregardless to

regardless of

Correct answer:

regardless of

Explanation:

"Regardless of" is the correct idiomatic expression. While people say "irregardless" in everyday speech, it is not grammatically correct. 

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