ACT English Modifiers

SAT Question of the Day

The SAT question of the day is a Circle Graph Question that has already been addressed on this blog: click here to see an explanation.

ACT Question of the Day

This ACT English Question is similar to an Improving Sentences Question in the SAT writing section.  Read the entire sentence from the passage that contains the underlined portion, listening for errors.  Then evaluate the underlined portion and mark any error that you find.

The first time you read this sentence it should sound strange to you.  The writer apparently went to a "university that was located in the Midwest at the time."  Do universities move very often?  The problem here is that "at the time" describes when the writer was a freshman, but there are two many words between the modifier and the words that they modify.  

Look at the original sentence on the ACT site.  The part of the sentence that reads "university that was located in the Midwest" is unnecessarily wordy.  If you can eliminate the verb "was," you can change the assumption that everything after it describes the university so that "at that time" will describe the situation of the speaker.  Look down at your answer choices.

(A)  You know that there is a problem with the original sentence.  Eliminate this choice.

(B)  This choice is more concise, but it has a new problem.  The word "then" indicates a time period, and it is followed by "at that time" which also indicates a time period.  Eliminate this choice because it is needlessly redundant.  

(C)  This choice conveys the meaning of the underlined portion of the sentence very concisely and fixes the modifier error that you found.  Keep it.

(D)  This choice is still wordy and it does not fix the modifier error that you found.  It also introduces a new error.  When you use the word "which" instead of "that," you must have a comma before it.  There is no comma before the "which" in this answer choice.  Eliminate it.

The correct answer is (C).

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