ACT English 1.4 Passage Drill
ACT English: Passage Drill 1, Problem 4. Which selection has the correct punctuation?
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And here are the potential answers:
A little punctuation knowledge is necessary to nail down the answer to this question.
Without it, we’re lost--and we hate being lost.
We’ll eliminate choice (D) first. It’s incorrect because colons introduce lists,
emphasize things, or define terms.
And none of those are happening in this sentence.
We hereby “sentence” choice (D) to spend some time learning about colons.
(C) is incorrect too.
There’s absolutely no good reason to add a comma after “with” in this sentence.
Breaking the thought there makes zero sense. It’s almost like somebody added a comma
randomly just to see what would happen.
This leaves us with choices (A) and (B).
(B) separates “with” from the earlier part of the sentence with a comma, while (A)
lets it ride with no comma at all.
Turns out that (A) wins this round.
Commas are often used to separate nonessential parts of sentences.
The phrase that “with” introduces, however, is essential to the meaning of this sentence.
Without this phrase, we’d have no idea that “a drupe is a fruit with a hard stony cover.”
And, of course, we’d all be lost without that essential bit of knowledge…