ACT English : Revising Content

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for ACT English

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Example Questions

Example Question #11 : Word Choice, Style, And Tone

Unfortunately, two years later, the public fear of invasion won out, and the digging stopped. Almost 100 years later, in 1973, investigations into building a tunnel began again, but once more, digging stopped after two years. This time, construction on the tunnel was prevented in England by economic continued recession. Finally, in 1984, construction began on what eventually became the Chunnel. In 1987, workers began digging on the British side; the following year, digging on the French side began.

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

Possible Answers:

continued construction on the tunnel was prevented, by an economic recession, in England

continued construction in England on the tunnel prevented by an economic recession

NO CHANGE

an economic recession—in England—prevented continued construction on the tunnel

an economic recession in England prevented continued construction on the tunnel

Correct answer:

an economic recession in England prevented continued construction on the tunnel

Explanation:

The correct answer uses active voice, and the subject and verb are clear. The other choices are unclear, use passive voice, or are grammatically incorrect.

Example Question #41 : Revising Content

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.”

"By study, by reading, by thinking, one may innocently divert and pleasantly entertain himself, as in all weathers, so in all fortunes.”

Possible Answers:

oneself, as in

themselves

herself

NO CHANGE 

Correct answer:

oneself, as in

Explanation:

The pronoun use must be consistent with the subject, which in this case is "one."

Example Question #12 : Word Choice, Style, And Tone

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.”

Which of the options below does the LEAST to articulate the author's attitude toward books.

"They are never troublesome, but immediately answer every question I ask them."

Possible Answers:

don't demand anything,

are sometimes hard to follow,

teach me without running out of energy,

resist the human temptation toward sloth,

Correct answer:

are sometimes hard to follow,

Explanation:

The author has a positive attitude toward books and appreciates their availability, a sentiment the correct answer fails to express.

Example Question #11 : Word Choice, Style, And Tone

The world is full of contradictions and I am full of them as well.  Every person has their quirks and I am no exception.  I love sports but I am also lazy I love animals, but I am not a vegetarian and I love teaching but I hate taking classes.  With all these contradictions how does a person like me make sense?  I would love to enlighten you!

What would make the underlined portion grammatically correct?

Possible Answers:

NO CHANGE

I would love, to enlighten you!

I would love to have enlightened you!

I would love—to enlighten you!

I would love to be enlightening you!

Correct answer:

NO CHANGE

Explanation:

The sentence is correct as written.  Adding extra punctuation or extra words to the verb clouds the meaning.

Example Question #41 : Revising Content

To begin I should explain how it is that I am a sports-lover but lazy.  I have tried as many sports as have been possible in my life and I have enjoyed all of them.  I had competed in national gymnastics which is probably the most holistically challenging for ten years.  This sport took precedence in all of middle and high school for me.  

What word would be the most appropriate to place in the underline spot?

Possible Answers:

NO CHANGE

performance

perseverance

predominance

preference

Correct answer:

NO CHANGE

Explanation:

"Precedence" is the only option that has to do with ordering rank and priority:  "Predominance" is the act of having lordship over something, "performance" has to do with a stage or role, "perseverance" is the act of continuing despite odds, and "preference" has to do with choice.  

Example Question #42 : Revising Content

When I retired I took up sprinting.  I ran for my university track team a D3 team don’t get too excited and performed as a top athlete in our conference.  I fell in love with running so much that I even signed up to run cross country in the fall.  Endurance is not my thing and that is part of why I am lazy.  I played soccer one season because the team needed an extra body.  I was an awful terrible soccer player but it was so much fun!  

How should the transition between the two underlined parts of sentences be best accomplished?

Possible Answers:

cross country in the fall; therefore, endurance

cross country in the fall—endurance

cross country in the fall and endurance

cross country in the fall; however, endurance

NO CHANGE

Correct answer:

cross country in the fall; however, endurance

Explanation:

The sentences need to remain separated because they are both complex sentences and none of the answer choices are proper for combining complex sentences.  The transition cannot be "therefore" because the first sentence does not cause the second.  We learn that, even though the author ran a season of cross country, the author discovers that he is not very good at the longer distances, so "however"is the correct transition.

Example Question #43 : Revising Content

Choose the best definition of "impute." 

Possible Answers:

To disagree strongly.

To question excessively. 

To attribute to someone.

To accuse.

To exhaust. 

Correct answer:

To attribute to someone.

Explanation:

The correct answer is "to attribute to someone," as this is the definition of "impute." 

Example Question #11 : Word Choice, Style, And Tone

Which word is a synonym for anachronistic?

Possible Answers:

outmoded

fashionable

rebellious

exclusive

pertinent 

Correct answer:

outmoded

Explanation:

"Outmoded" is a synonym for anachronistic. The definition of "anachronistic" is a person or thing that seems to be from a different time or something that is out-of-date, or outmoded

Example Question #12 : Word Choice, Style, And Tone

Choose the word that most closely means "momentary." 

Possible Answers:

perpetual

unremitting 

diurnal

perennial

ephemeral

Correct answer:

ephemeral

Explanation:

"Ephemeral" means momentary or fleeting.

Example Question #21 : Word Choice, Style, And Tone

Choose the word that best completes the sentence: 

John has a __________ routine, following the same schedule every day.

Possible Answers:

peculiar 

 

aberrant 

exasperating

mundane

impetuous

Correct answer:

mundane

Explanation:

"Mundane" is the best choice to complete this sentence, because mundane means ordinary or common. The context of the sentence suggests that John's schedule is very regular.

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