ACT English 1.3 Sentence Structure
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ACT English: Sentence Structure Drill 1, Problem 3. Proper word choice for independent clauses.
|ACT English||Sentence Structure|
|Product Type||ACT English|
|Sentence Structure||Sentence Fragments|
Subordination and Coordination
In this question, the word "as" is doing its best to be what's called a "subordinating
When we slap a subordinating conjunction on the front of what was formerly an independent
clause, the clause's independent spirit is broken, and it suddenly becomes a dependent,
Subordinate clauses are always dependent on a main clause, and can never be on their own,
without becoming fragments.
The second supposed sentence here is a good example of this.
"The children ran behind, shouting and waving goodbye," totally works as an independent
It can stand on its own two feet as a complete sentence, since it has a subject, "children,"
and a predicate, "shouting and waving."
However, as soon as we put "as" in front of this formerly independent clause, its legs
are taken out from under it. Whoopsies.
The addition of "as" signals that the clause is meant to augment the main clause instead
of just doing its own thing.
So, in our sample clauses, the grandparents who are driving away are the main event, while
the children they're leaving behind are the secondary information.
Man, we hope these kids' parents are still around. These grandparents are pretty negligent.
One way to fix the original sentence would be to take out the period and just stick the
This would allow "as" to fulfill its dream of being a proper subordinating conjunction.
Unfortunately, dreams rarely come true...
None of the answer choices present this option, so none of these words are destined to connect
anything to anything.
We can't go around beginning full sentences with subordinating conjunctions, like "as,"
that don't connect anything; otherwise the world would descend into fragmented madness.
This means that we can not only get rid of choice (A), we can also eliminate choice (B).
"While" is a subordinating conjunction as well, and it has all the same problems as
its buddy "as."
Choice (C) suffers from a similar problem. "During" is a preposition, a part of speech
whose job it is to link nouns, pronouns, and phrases.
Because "during" isn't allowed to link anything here, it also transforms the final clause
into a fragment.
It's kind of like this version of the sentence begins with a bridge that leads to nothing
Choice (D) is the correct answer because it uses a period to separate both independent
clauses and lets them do their thing all by themselves.
Hopefully, the grandparents in question here didn't leave these kids all by themselves.
If so, somebody better call social services.