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Kristin Fracchia

ACT Challenge Question 4: Clarity and Pronouns – Explanation

Magoosh ACT Challenge Question

Missed the double dose of grammar goodness we served up earlier this week? Here’s the ACT Challenge Question again below…then carry on to the bottom of this post for answers and explanations.

ACT Challenge Question #4

Kendra Michelson helped establish art as an important mode of learning in the city’s struggling schools. She taught local artists the strategies they needed to help children as young as five become bourgeoning artists who could then apply this creativity to their other subjects. Today, there are more than seven thousand (1) artists-in-residence around, all of (2) which teach classes to underprivileged students in school-based art studios.

B. adults and children creating art,
C. artist-teachers,
D. DELETE the underlined portion

G. whom
H. who
J. them

Answers and Explanations

ANSWERS: 1. C 2. G

Answer choice C is correct because it states the noun in the clearest way possible. These are “artist-teachers” (artists turned into teachers) who have been created by Michelson. If this artificially constructed compound noun sounds awkward to you, then you need to work by process of elimination with the other answer choices. Each of them has a flaw that guarantees that it isn’t the right answer!

Answer choice A is incorrect because of the colloquial use of the word “around.” Although this is an expression we might use when casually speaking, on the ACT, we always want to use academic English.

Answer choice B is incorrect because it incorrectly groups the “children” with the adult teachers. The modifier intends to say that it is the adult teachers who are teaching classes to the young students, not that the children are also teaching classes.

Answer choice D is incorrect mostly because it deletes the comma that is necessary to set off the subsequent modifier, but also because it is slightly unclear who the “seven thousand” is referring to if the noun is deleted.

We can eliminate F because “which” is a pronoun that refers to things not people, and the pronoun here is referring to the artists. We can eliminate J because if we use the subject pronoun “them” then we are creating a comma splice.

We need an object pronoun here because the pronoun is within a prepositional phrase. This is the trickiest part of this question. It may seem like we need the subject pronoun “who” (because the pronoun here refers to who is teaching the classes), but the pronoun is embedded in a prepositional phrase. Because prepositional phrases are used to express a relationship, they don’t act on their own, and so they require object pronouns. This means our answer can’t be H either. The correct answer then is the object pronoun referring to people, (G) “whom.”


About Kristin Fracchia

Kristin makes sure Magoosh's blogs are chock-full of awesome, free resources for students preparing for standardized tests. With a PhD from UC Irvine and degrees in Education and English, she’s been working in education since 2004 and has helped students prepare for standardized tests, as well as college and graduate school admissions, since 2007. She enjoys the agonizing bliss of marathon running, backpacking, hot yoga, and esoteric knowledge.

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