ACT English 5.13 Passage Drill
ACT English: Passage Drill 5, Problem 13. For the sake of logic and coherence, where should the word "often" be placed?
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Here it is: it’s best to place a modifier as close as possible to the word it modifies.
Sure, it’s simple, but sometimes it can be a little tricky to figure out exactly which
word the modifier should describe.
Option (B), for example, is very confused.
It suggests placing the adverb “often” before the conjunction “but.”
Adverbs can only modify verbs, adjectives, and other adverbs, so this one’s a definite no.
P.S. We refrained from making a butt joke just now because it’s beneath us.
Choice (D) does suggest that “often” describe a verb. Too bad it’s the wrong one, though.
By saying that spiders “often avoid” getting entangled in their webs
it actually implies that they sometimes do get entangled.
We know several spiders who would be very offended by this notion, so we’ll cross out (D).
This brings us to options (A) and (C), which might be a little hard to choose between.
Choice (A) claims that “made people wonder often” is fine,
while (C) prefers “often made people wonder.”
Of the two, option (C) is better, because “often”
is trying to describe the verb “made” not “wonder.”
It's not that people wonder often about this question, but rather that when the topic of
spider webs does come up (which probably isn't that often), they sometimes wonder about it.
We slightly resent this question because it’s going to make us wonder about this topic all day.