ACT English : Usage 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

← Previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 75 76

Example Question #1 : Other Usage Errors

The teacher had several questions for her students when they returned from the museum. Who did they talk to? What did they see?  

 “We talked to whoever would answer our questions,” replied Jake with the red hair (as opposed to Jake who sat behind him with the brown hair). “Our questions were answered by one woman most of the time.”

"But who was that woman?" the teacher asked.

"We never got her name," Jake with the brown hair said.  "At the time, we didn't think her name was important." 

Upon hearing this, Hugh was getting annoyed. "Her name wasn't 'Important,'" said Hugh, "it was Ingrid." 

"Oh," Jake with the brown hair said. "I knew it started with an 'I.'"

"We saw several paintings by some guy named Renoir," Jake with the red hair said. 

"What were these?" Jake with the brown hair asked.

"They were the bigger of the three by the door," Jake with the brown hair replied.

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

Possible Answers:

as opposed to the Jake with brown hair who sat behind him

as opposed to Jake who sat behind him

as opposed to Jake with the brown hair who sat behind him

NO CHANGE

Correct answer:

as opposed to Jake with the brown hair who sat behind him

Explanation:

The phrases "with the brown hair" and "who sat behind him" are both functioning as adjectival prepositional phrases here, but they must be placed in the most logical order - "Jake with the brown hair" functions as one grammatical idea, and "who sat behind him" in turn modifies it.

Example Question #2 : Other Usage Errors

The teacher had several questions for her students when they returned from the museum. Who did they talk to? What did they see?  

 “We talked to whoever would answer our questions,” replied Jake with the red hair (as opposed to Jake who sat behind him with the brown hair). “Our questions were answered by one woman most of the time.”

"But who was that woman?" the teacher asked.

"We never got her name," Jake with the brown hair said.  "At the time, we didn't think her name was important." 

Upon hearing this, Hugh was getting annoyed. "Her name wasn't 'Important,'" said Hugh, "it was Ingrid." 

"Oh," Jake with the brown hair said. "I knew it started with an 'I.'"

"We saw several paintings by some guy named Renoir," Jake with the red hair said. 

"What were these?" Jake with the brown hair asked.

"They were the bigger of the three by the door," Jake with the brown hair replied.

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

Possible Answers:

At that time

In that time

In the time

NO CHANGE

Correct answer:

NO CHANGE

Explanation:

The phrase "at the time" is the most logical prepositional phrase to use here.

Example Question #1 : 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 girls were always challenging their father's rules for every opportunity.

Possible Answers:

their father's rules on every opportunity.

their father's rules in every opportunity.

their father's rules for every opportunity.

their father's rules onto every opportunity.

their father's rules at every opportunity.

Correct answer:

their father's rules at every opportunity.

Explanation:

The use of the preposition "for" in the sentence is odd, and does not properly reflect what the girls are doing. The preposition should be changed to indicate that they challenged during certain moments. The preposition that best shows this is "at," making the correct answer choice "their father's rules at every opportunity."

Example Question #1 : 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.

While I really enjoy studying the French language, I would also like to try and learn some Portuguese as well.

Possible Answers:

I would also like to try to learn some Portuguese as well.

I would also like to try to learn some Portuguese.

I would also like to try learning some Portuguese.

I would also like to try and learn some Portuguese.

I would also like to try and learn some Portuguese as well.

Correct answer:

I would also like to try to learn some Portuguese.

Explanation:

Only the preposition “to” can follow the verb “to try.” It isn’t necessary to include the “as well” because “also” means the same thing; the original phrasing is redundant. 

Example Question #1 : 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.

She would frequently compare her mother with the most loving of saints.

Possible Answers:

with most loving of saints.

with the most loving of saints.

to the most loving of saints.

with saints that are the most loving.

to most loving of saints.

Correct answer:

to the most loving of saints.

Explanation:

The grammatical error in the underlined portion is the use of the word "with." Comparisons are not done "with" something else, but "to" something else. The correct answer choice is "to the most loving of saints."

Example Question #1 : Correcting Preposition 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 amount of people living in the area was still a matter of much debate in researchers.

Possible Answers:

in researchers.

around research.

among research.

among researchers.

around researchers.

Correct answer:

among researchers.

Explanation:

The underlined elements of the sentence have an issue with the usage of the preposition before researchers. The debate happens from one researcher to the next, and the correct preposition would indicate this. "Among researchers" is the best choice among the answers.

Example Question #1 : Correcting Preposition 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.

Questions are rarely asked by students in an imposing teacher.

Possible Answers:

in an imposing teacher.

by an imposing teacher.

to an imposing teacher.

in a teacher imposing.

through an imposing teacher.

Correct answer:

to an imposing teacher.

Explanation:

The underlined portion of the sentence has an odd use of the preposition "in." The questions are actually being asked by students, directed at the teacher, and the preposition needs to reflect this; therefore, "to an imposing teacher" is the correct answer choice.

Example Question #1 : 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.

In the past, corporations had very few restrictions on what they had to pay from employee's wages.

Possible Answers:

to pay for employees' wages.

to pay on employees' wages.

for pay from employees' wages.

to pay from employees' wages.

to pay from employees' wage.

Correct answer:

to pay for employees' wages.

Explanation:

The use of the preposition "from" in the sentence is very odd. The correct preposition needs to indicate the the "wages" are something the "corporations" give to the "employees." The answer choice that best reflexts this is "to pay for employees' wages."

Example Question #1 : 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.

To some people, the idea of Mardi Gras in New Orleans is synonymous for rowdy behavior, noisiness, and disorder.

Possible Answers:

of

to

with

about

in meaning for

Correct answer:

with

Explanation:

According to the idiomatic usage of prepositions, "synonymous" is typically followed by the preposition "with," not "for." All other variations are grammatically incorrect. 

Example Question #1 : 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.

The mother was endlessly comparing her friends’ children against her own, something that drove her whole family crazy.

Possible Answers:

The mother was endlessly comparing her friends’ children with her own, 

The mother was endlessly comparing her friends’ children against her own, 

The mother was endlessly in comparison with her friends’ children with her own, 

The mother was endlessly in comparison with her friends’ children and her own, 

The mother was endlessly comparing her friends’ children for her own, 

Correct answer:

The mother was endlessly comparing her friends’ children with her own, 

Explanation:

“With” and “to” are the only possible prepositions for the verb “compare.” “Compare with” is used for objects of essentially the same type (for example, comparing one family’s children with another family’s), while “compare to” is used for objects of essentially different types (for example, comparing a mother to a raging forest fire).

← Previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 75 76
Learning Tools by Varsity Tutors