ACT English 4.12 Passage Drill
ACT English: Passage Drill 4, Problem 12. Which choice indicates the best placement for the word "actually"?
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It can modify verbs, adjectives, and other adverbs.
It’s great for the adverb that it’s so multitalented.
In this job climate, we all need every leg-up we can get.
Let’s read the segment of the original sentence in which the word “actually” appears.
“Well, the process is very actually simple...”
Hm, sounds like “actually” might be slacking a bit on its adverbial duties.
We’d advise it to take its job more seriously, or else it might find itself in the unemployment line.
Option (A) recommends that we leave “actually” where it is, but this doesn’t work.
As is, the adverb “very” is modifying “actually,” but “very actually” isn’t
a construct that’s typically used in the English language--except maybe in an E. E. Cummings poem.
We’re guessing the writer wasn’t trying to slip experimental poetry into this article,
so we’ll go ahead cross out choice (A).
Option (C) has another bad suggestion, but we’ll read the sentence its way just for fun.
Show: “Well, the actually process is very simple...”
See, we said it was a bad suggestion.
Here, the adverb “actually” is modifying the noun “process.”
This is the kind of thing that makes grammarians really upset.
As we said earlier, adverbs are only allowed to modify verbs, adjectives, and other adverbs.
Anything else is out of bounds, so choice (C) is wrong.
Now we’re down to (B) and (D).
We’ll read the sentence both ways and see which works the best.
(B) “Well, the process is very simple actually...”
(D) “Well, the process is actually very simple...”
Option (B) wouldn’t sound weird in a normal conversation,
but out of the two, option (D) is the better bet.
“Actually” is modifying its fellow adverb “very,” and to avoid confusion it’s
usually best to place the modifier directly before the word it’s modifying.
Quick question before we go...
What if we want a 100%-guaranteed-to-come-true fortune? Is the process still simple?