ACT English : Revising Content

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for ACT English

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Example Questions

Example Question #31 : Act English

Jimmy is annoyed at the video game that he was playing. For one thing, there was not nearly enough suspenseful moments plot twists or exciting escapes in the game to satisfy him. For another, it was incredibly hard while playing the game to control the cars. It always wanted to veer to the left when he tried to steer to the right. But the ending of the game was worst. By the time he got to the end, the hero had decided to stop chasing rogue spies and therefore marry his girlfriend, a surprise attack resulted in her being kidnapped, and the hero must go on a final mission to save her before the game can be completed. That would of been fine, except it involved tracking the enemy using a helicopter, and Jimmy much to his chagrin never mastered flying the helicopter.

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:

could be

could have been

will be

NO CHANGE

Correct answer:

could be

Explanation:

The phrase "could be" signals the necessity of getting through the mission to finish the game and the past tense of the action.

Example Question #11 : Revising Content

Jimmy is annoyed at the video game that he was playing. For one thing, there was not nearly enough suspenseful moments plot twists or exciting escapes in the game to satisfy him. For another, it was incredibly hard while playing the game to control the cars. It always wanted to veer to the left when he tried to steer to the right. But the ending of the game was worst. By the time he got to the end, the hero had decided to stop chasing rogue spies and therefore marry his girlfriend, a surprise attack resulted in her being kidnapped, and the hero must go on a final mission to save her before the game can be completed. That would of been fine, except it involved tracking the enemy using a helicopter, and Jimmy much to his chagrin never mastered flying the helicopter.

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:

would've

will have

NO CHANGE

will

Correct answer:

would've

Explanation:

When most people think they hear the phrase "would of," what they're actually hearing is "would've," the contracted form of "would have," which is the appropriate choice here.

Example Question #12 : Writing And Revising Effectively

Adapted from The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin (1784)

At the time I established myself in Pennsylvania there was not a good booksellers shop in any of the colonies to the southward of Boston. In New York and Philadelphia the printers were indeed stationers; they sold only paper, etc., almanacs, ballads, and a few common school-books. Those who loved reading were obliged to send for their books from England; the members of the Junto had each a few. We had left the ale-house, where we first met, and hired a room to hold our club in. I proposed that we should all of us bring our books to that room, where they would not only be ready to consult in our conferences but become a common benefit, each of us being at liberty to borrow such as he wished to read at home. This was accordingly done, and for some time contented us.

Finding the advantage of this little collection, I proposed to render the benefit from books more common by commencing a public subscription library. I drew a sketch of the plan and rules that would be necessary, and got a skillful conveyancer, Mr. Charles Brockden, to put the whole in form of articles of agreement, to be subscribed, by which each subscriber engaged to pay a certain sum down for the first purchase of books, and an annual contribution for increasing them. So few were the readers at that time in Philadelphia, and the majority of us so poor, that I was not able, with great industry to find more than fifty persons, mostly young tradesmen, willing to pay down for this purpose forty shillings each, and ten shillings per annum. On this little fund we began. The books were imported; the library was opened one day in the week for lending to the subscribers, on their promissory notes to pay double the value if not duly returned. The institution soon manifested its utility, was imitated by other towns and in other provinces. The libraries were augmented by donations; reading became fashionable; and our people, having no public amusements to divert their attention from study, became better acquainted with books, and in a few years were observed by strangers to be better instructed and more intelligent than people of the same rank generally are in other countries.

Which of the following would be an acceptable replacement for the underlined phrase?

Possible Answers:

a blueprint

a contract

an outline

a document

Correct answer:

an outline

Explanation:

Franklin's description of what this sketch entailed sounds like an outline of the library project instead of one of the other choices.

Example Question #32 : Act English

Adapted from The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin (1784)

At the time I established myself in Pennsylvania there was not a good booksellers shop in any of the colonies to the southward of Boston. In New York and Philadelphia the printers were indeed stationers; they sold only paper, etc., almanacs, ballads, and a few common school-books. Those who loved reading were obliged to send for their books from England; the members of the Junto had each a few. We had left the ale-house, where we first met, and hired a room to hold our club in. I proposed that we should all of us bring our books to that room, where they would not only be ready to consult in our conferences but become a common benefit, each of us being at liberty to borrow such as he wished to read at home. This was accordingly done, and for some time contented us.

Finding the advantage of this little collection, I proposed to render the benefit from books more common by commencing a public subscription library. I drew a sketch of the plan and rules that would be necessary, and got a skillful conveyancer, Mr. Charles Brockden, to put the whole in form of articles of agreement, to be subscribed, by which each subscriber engaged to pay a certain sum down for the first purchase of books, and an annual contribution for increasing them. So few were the readers at that time in Philadelphia, and the majority of us so poor, that I was not able, with great industry to find more than fifty persons, mostly young tradesmen, willing to pay down for this purpose forty shillings each, and ten shillings per annum. On this little fund we began. The books were imported; the library was opened one day in the week for lending to the subscribers, on their promissory notes to pay double the value if not duly returned. The institution soon manifested its utility, was imitated by other towns and in other provinces. The libraries were augmented by donations; reading became fashionable; and our people, having no public amusements to divert their attention from study, became better acquainted with books, and in a few years were observed by strangers to be better instructed and more intelligent than people of the same rank generally are in other countries.

From the context, it seems clear that a subscriber is similar to the contemporary idea of __________.

Possible Answers:

a library patron

a person paying an annual fee for a magazine

a person paying an annual fee for the use of something

an investor

Correct answer:

an investor

Explanation:

While we currently think of a "subscriber" as someone who pays an annual fee either to use something or to receive a magazine or newspaper; the term in Franklin's usage is closer to what we would now think of as an investor.

Example Question #15 : Revising Content

Adapted from The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin (1784)

At the time I established myself in Pennsylvania there was not a good booksellers shop in any of the colonies to the southward of Boston. In New York and Philadelphia the printers were indeed stationers; they sold only paper, etc., almanacs, ballads, and a few common school-books. Those who loved reading were obliged to send for their books from England; the members of the Junto had each a few. We had left the ale-house, where we first met, and hired a room to hold our club in. I proposed that we should all of us bring our books to that room, where they would not only be ready to consult in our conferences but become a common benefit, each of us being at liberty to borrow such as he wished to read at home. This was accordingly done, and for some time contented us.

Finding the advantage of this little collection, I proposed to render the benefit from books more common by commencing a public subscription library. I drew a sketch of the plan and rules that would be necessary, and got a skillful conveyancer, Mr. Charles Brockden, to put the whole in form of articles of agreement, to be subscribed, by which each subscriber engaged to pay a certain sum down for the first purchase of books, and an annual contribution for increasing them. So few were the readers at that time in Philadelphia, and the majority of us so poor, that I was not able, with great industry to find more than fifty persons, mostly young tradesmen, willing to pay down for this purpose forty shillings each, and ten shillings per annum. On this little fund we began. The books were imported; the library was opened one day in the week for lending to the subscribers, on their promissory notes to pay double the value if not duly returned. The institution soon manifested its utility, was imitated by other towns and in other provinces. The libraries were augmented by donations; reading became fashionable; and our people, having no public amusements to divert their attention from study, became better acquainted with books, and in a few years were observed by strangers to be better instructed and more intelligent than people of the same rank generally are in other countries.

A "promissory note" in contemporary English is __________.

Possible Answers:

a contract one signs promising to return books on time

a contract one signs to use a library

a contract one signs promising to repay a loan

a contract one signs to get a loan

Correct answer:

a contract one signs promising to repay a loan

Explanation:

"Promissory note" refers to the contract one signs upon getting a loan that in essence promises that you will repay that loan. The term in this context, obviously, means something very different.

Example Question #14 : Writing And Revising Effectively

Adapted from The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin (1784)

At the time I established myself in Pennsylvania there was not a good booksellers shop in any of the colonies to the southward of Boston. In New York and Philadelphia the printers were indeed stationers; they sold only paper, etc., almanacs, ballads, and a few common school-books. Those who loved reading were obliged to send for their books from England; the members of the Junto had each a few. We had left the ale-house, where we first met, and hired a room to hold our club in. I proposed that we should all of us bring our books to that room, where they would not only be ready to consult in our conferences but become a common benefit, each of us being at liberty to borrow such as he wished to read at home. This was accordingly done, and for some time contented us.

Finding the advantage of this little collection, I proposed to render the benefit from books more common by commencing a public subscription library. I drew a sketch of the plan and rules that would be necessary, and got a skillful conveyancer, Mr. Charles Brockden, to put the whole in form of articles of agreement, to be subscribed, by which each subscriber engaged to pay a certain sum down for the first purchase of books, and an annual contribution for increasing them. So few were the readers at that time in Philadelphia, and the majority of us so poor, that I was not able, with great industry to find more than fifty persons, mostly young tradesmen, willing to pay down for this purpose forty shillings each, and ten shillings per annum. On this little fund we began. The books were imported; the library was opened one day in the week for lending to the subscribers, on their promissory notes to pay double the value if not duly returned. The institution soon manifested its utility, was imitated by other towns and in other provinces. The libraries were augmented by donations; reading became fashionable; and our people, having no public amusements to divert their attention from study, became better acquainted with books, and in a few years were observed by strangers to be better instructed and more intelligent than people of the same rank generally are in other countries.

Which of the following would be an acceptable replacement for the underlined phrase?

Possible Answers:

extended

expanded

swollen

strengthened

Correct answer:

expanded

Explanation:

While all of the choices are synonyms of the word "augmented," the word "expanded" fits best within the context of the sentence.

Example Question #1 : Introductions, Transitions, And Conclusions

Humanities: This passage is adapted from chapter three of Sir John Lubbock’s The Pleasures of Life. The chapter is entitled “A Song of Books” and was written in 1887.

Of all the privileges we enjoy in this nineteenth century there is none, perhaps, for which we ought to be more thankful than for the easier access to books.

The debt we owe to books was well expressed and articulated by Richard de Bury, Bishop of Durham, author of Philobiblon, written as long ago as 1344, published in 1473, and the earliest English treatise on the delights of literature: "These,” he says, “are the masters who instruct us without rods and ferules, without hard words and anger, without clothes or money. If you approach them, they are not asleep; if you interrogate them, they conceal nothing; if you mistake them, they never grumble; if you are ignorant, they cannot laugh at you. The library, therefore, of wisdom is more precious than all riches, and nothing that can be wished for is worthy to be compared with it. Whosoever therefore acknowledges himself to be a zealous follower of truth, of happiness, of wisdom, of science, or even of the faith, must of necessity make himself a lover of books.” 

This feeling that books are real friends is constantly present to all who love reading. “I have friends,” said Petrarch, “whose society is extremely agreeable to me; they are of all ages, and of every country. They have distinguished themselves both in the cabinet and in the field, and obtained high honors for their knowledge of the sciences. It is easy to gain access to them, for they are always at my service, and I admit them to my company, and dismiss them from it, whenever I please. They are never troublesome, but immediately answer every question I ask them. Some relate to me the events of past ages, while others reveal to me the secrets of Nature. Some teach me how to live, and others how to die. Some, by their vivacity, drive away my cares and exhilarate my spirits; while others give fortitude to my mind, and teach me the important lesson how to restrain my desires, and to depend wholly on myself. They open to me, in short, the various avenues of all the arts and sciences, and upon their information I may safely rely in all emergencies. In return for all their services, they only ask me to accommodate them with a convenient chamber in some corner of my humble habitation, where they may repose in peace; for these friends are more delighted by the tranquillity of retirement than with the tumults of society.”

“He that loveth a book,” says Isaac Barrow, “will never want a faithful friend, a wholesome counsellor, a cheerful companion, an effectual comforter. By study, by reading, by thinking, one may innocently divert and pleasantly entertain himself, as in all weathers, so in all fortunes.”

The author is considering adding the following sentence to the end of the second paragraph:

"But if the debt were great then, how much more now."

Should the author make this addition?

Possible Answers:

No, because references to the present in paragraphs three and four are not clear enough to make the addition helpful.

Yes, because the appreciation of books that the author describes in the past is not adequate evidence for the author's claim.

Yes, because a link to the present is crucial to the author's argument.

No, because the author is not concerned with the present. 

No, because the author has already made a similar comparison between the present and the past in the first paragraph.

Correct answer:

No, because references to the present in paragraphs three and four are not clear enough to make the addition helpful.

Explanation:

There are no clear references to the appreciation of books in the present as contrasting with their appreciation in the past; thus, the sentence is unhelpful and unnecessary. 

Example Question #1 : Introductions, Transitions, And Conclusions

This year, my New Year's resolution was to not buy any more books until I had read all of the books I already had. But, after getting fifty dollars for my birthday, I couldn't resist stopping by the library's used book sale.

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:

Additionally,

That is,

Moreover,

For instance, 

NO CHANGE

Correct answer:

NO CHANGE

Explanation:

Here, “But” is the best transition word. “But” implies a contrast, and there is indeed a contrast between the idea expressed in the first sentence (making a commitment not to buy more books) and the idea expressed in the second (stopping by the book sale). The relationship of the second sentence to the first is not that of an example, an additional detail, or a clarification, which is why the other answers are not correct.

Example Question #1 : Introductions, Transitions, And Conclusions

My mother was born in China. Additionally, she emigrated to the US when she was twenty-seven, but she was never able to get used to this country. She was used to haggling in loud, bustling street markets—not walking through the silent, orderly rows of American grocery stores. She also never became fluent in English; filling out forms and writing business letters confused her.

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:

For example,

OMIT the underlined portion and begin the sentence with the word “She”

Accordingly,

NO CHANGE

However,

Correct answer:

OMIT the underlined portion and begin the sentence with the word “She”

Explanation:

Here, the best correction would be to delete the word “Additionally” and to use no transition word. The word “additionally” is usually used in a list or when you are adding details on to a description; however, in this case we do not have a list, and the first two sentences are more action rather than description. The relationship of the second sentence to the first is also not an example, a contrast, or a necessary event, which is why the other answers are not correct.

Example Question #1 : Introductions, Transitions, And Conclusions

The truth is, I kinda hate my brother. Can you blame me? We're always fighting. Today, he "borrowed" my favorite book and now its ripped in two.  Likewise, my brother and I like to play sports together. We both bond over games like volleyball, and basketball. We both play real good. We even were considering trying out for the high school team together.

What is the best alternative for the underlined word, "Likewise"?

Possible Answers:

Nevertheless,

Hence,

For instance,

NO CHANGE

Furthermore,

Correct answer:

Nevertheless,

Explanation:

The author is contrasting negative feelings he/she has regarding his/her brother with more positive feelings towards the brother. Therefore, a transition word that shows contrast is the best option. "Likewise" shows similarity, "For instance" shows an relationship of clarification, while "Hence" and "Therefore" imply causation. "Nevertheless" implies a contrasting relationship between ideas and is the best choice.

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