ACT English 3.7 Passage Drill
ACT English: Passage Drill 3, Problem 7. Which choice places commas correctly in this sentence?
|ACT English||Passage Drill|
|Parts of Speech||Restrictive and Nonrestrictive Relative Clauses|
|Product Type||ACT English|
|Punctuation Marks||Comma Placement|
The phrase "called the cascade" is nonessential to the sentence. Don't believe us?
Well, read it without the phrase included.
"Eventually, a ring of spraying water forms the base."
See, the sentence hasn't lost any essential meaning even though we snipped the phrase.
Sure, the fact that these rings of spraying water are called cascades is good to know
and will make us look cool in Science class.
But in this particular sentence, the phrase is like those extra appetizers we order because
want them, not because we need them.
OK, enough about overeating. Now that we've established that this phrase is nonessential,
the next step is knowing that nonessential elements in a sentence have to be set apart by commas.
With this seemingly innocent piece of information, we can swiftly lay waste to the incorrect answer choices.
Choice (B) places a comma between the words "called" and "the." Not only does this comma
not enclose the nonessential phrase, it also breaks up the phrase in a way that doesn't make sense.
Options (C) and (D) also make the mistake of using commas to break up the phrase.
Dude, who knew commas could be such home-wreckers?
(C) encloses "the cascade" with commas, and (D) does the same to "called." Neither is
correct, so they're both getting nixed.
The right answer is (A) because it takes our advice and walls the entire phrase away with commas.
We wonder if nonessential phrases ever get lonely in there.