ACT English 3.13 Passage Drill
ACT English: Passage Drill 3, Problem 13. Which punctuation mark fits best between the words in the underlined portion?
|ACT English||Passage Drill|
|Handwriting, Capitalization, Punctuation||Punctuation Marks|
|Punctuation||Dashes, Question Marks, and Exclamation Points|
This question asks us to identify the punctuation required to link the main clause to the phrase
that tags along at the end of the sentence.
Somehow or another, we have to find a way to attach...
"Most of the water seen in the funnel of a waterspout is actually condensate"...
"moisture in the air resulting from the condensation of water vapor"...
without breaking any of the holy laws of grammar.
Choice (D) suggests that we not use any punctuation whatsoever.
This is a mistake, though. We definitely need some kind of punctuation to separate the phrase
from the main clause.
Without punctuation, it becomes nearly impossible to understand that the phrase is helping to
And we know that everybody out there is dying to know what that is so...
(B) is wrong because it uses a semicolon incorrectly.
Semicolons are mainly used to link two independent clauses, meaning clauses that can stand on
their own as complete sentences.
Though the main clause is independent, the phrase that follows doesn't have its own verb,
so it's totally dependent on the main clause for its existence.
Which must be kinda stressful for the main clause.
(C) is incorrect for a similar reason. By putting a period between the clause and the
phrase, (C) is declaring that the phrase is ready to stand as an independent clause.
Unfortunately, this is not the case.
Without a verb, the phrase just isn't ready to face the world alone.
The correct answer is (A). Though a comma would also work here, it's totally OK to use a dash.
Dashes are useful when a writer wants to really emphasize something. So using a dash is a
way of connecting something to a sentence, while also creating some distance.
Thus, romantic relationships between clauses and phrases linked by dashes are notoriously hard to navigate.