Dying to know how you did on on our ACT English practice questions? Check out the answers and explanations below.
1. d. 1969
In this case, we do not want to put a comma after 1969 because the prepositional phrase “in 1969” is connected to the following prepositional phrase “by a Dallas engineer.” So (a) is incorrect. (b) is incorrect because what follows the semicolon cannot stand alone as a sentence. (c) demonstrates an incorrect use of a colon. So our answer is (d).
2. d. became
On the ACT, we always want to err on the side of conciseness. Shorter is almost always better, which means (d) “became” should be a tempting option. But the real grammar issue we are tackling is verb tense consistency. The sentence tells us we are talking about the 1970s and 1980s, so we know we are talking about the past, so we can eliminate (c). Answer choice (a) “had became” is never correct; it should be “had become.” (b) “Had been becoming” is also too wordy and awkward, so our answer is (d).
3. a. NO CHANGE
The punctuation in the underlined portion depends on on the punctuation that is not underlined in the sentence. We have a subordinate clause (“when more of the population….with the idea of automated technology”) that needs to be set off with commas, so even though it might otherwise seem odd to put a comma before “that,” it needs to be there for that reason, so we can eliminate (b). (d) is incorrect because we do not have an independent clause before the semicolon that can stand alone as a sentence. And “c” is missing a key word “that” that helps link the information together, so it is incomplete. So our answer is (a).
4. c. in
This is an idiom question about preposition usage. We can say that something spread “throughout,” “all throughout,” “across,” or “all over” a city, but to say the ATMs were installed “in” New York City changes the meaning. The sentence intends to say that they were spread throughout. So (c) is our answer because it is the one that is not acceptable.
5. b. descriptive detail about the imagery of the advertising campaign.
On these questions, we always want to pay attention to the exact information contained in the underlined portion. (a) is incorrect because that underlined portion doesn’t explain why people used ATMs during the blizzard; it just says that they did. (c) is incorrect because that idea is not stated earlier in the paragraph. (d) is trickier because you can infer from the passage that people began to believe ATMs were necessary, but the underlined information doesn’t state that. So our answer is (b): the paragraph would lose descriptive detail about the imagery of the advertising campaign.