ACT English 3.2 Sentence Structure
ACT English: Sentence Structure Drill 3, Problem 2. How should the underlined portion of the sentence be changed?
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The noun or pronoun that's being modified has to come directly after the modifying phrase, right?
So, all we have to do is ask ourselves who or what the phrase is describing and plop
that noun or pronoun where it's supposed to be.
In this question, "sweeping up the paper from the floor" is the phrase. So, if choice (A)
is correct, then it's the missing key that's making the floor spic-and-span.
It doesn't make much sense for a key to sweep a floor to find itself, or for a key to do
any sweeping at all for that matter. Therefore we can confidently move on to other options.
We can easily eliminate choice (B) as well, since it makes the same error as (A).
Though it might not look like it at first glance, choice (C) actually makes the same
mistake as (A) and (B).
The first noun that follows our modifying phrase is again "key." "Aunt Sue" might be
a noun on its own, but here the apostrophes makes it possessive, and therefore it functions
as a modifier.
By describing whose key this is, the noun becomes an adjective.
Choice (D) correctly places Aunt Sue in her place of glory directly after the modifying
This version makes it clear that Aunt Sue was the one doing the sweeping that then helped
her find the missing key.
For the record, if anybody has a magic key that wants to sweep some floors, we're interested.