ACT English 4.13 Passage Drill
ACT English: Passage Drill 4, Problem 13. What punctuation mark, if any, best precedes "sugar" in this sentence?
|ACT English||Passage Drill|
|Product Type||ACT English|
|Punctuation||Dashes, Question Marks, and Exclamation Points|
In the original sentence, the writer uses an em dash to put some distance between “sugar”
and the rest of the sentence.
Hm, maybe the writer thinks the sentence needs to cut back on sweets.
In any case, this choice looks pretty good to us, but we’ll go through the rest of
the options just to be on the safe side.
No doubt, choice (B) is incorrect.
Semicolons are used to connect independent clauses, meaning clauses that can stand on
their own because they have a subject and verb.
The noun “sugar” just can’t make it alone, so we’re taking (B) out of consideration.
Option (C) doesn’t work either.
With the way this sentence is structured, some kind of punctuation is needed to set “sugar”
apart, while still connecting the noun to the sentence in a way that’s grammatically correct.
(D) sets “sugar” apart with an ellipsis.
It’s a fun idea, but it doesn’t fly grammatically.
Ellipses are usually used to show an omission of some kind. If we’re quoting something
and want to leave a bit out, we stick a “dot dot dot” in there to stand in for the part we’re omitting.
Ellipses are also used when writing dialogue, where they show that someone’s thoughts trail off.
It reminds us of the time...
Sorry, our brains wondered a bit there.
We gave the other options a shot, but choice (A) gets it right by using the em dash
to emphasize the noun “sugar.”
On a personal note....
Not only is (A), "no change," the correct answer, it was also the fortune that came
with our Kung Pao Beef right before we lost every last cent playing a game of piggy-bank
catch while standing over a subway grate.