ACT English 5.3 Passage Drill
ACT English: Passage Drill Drill 5, Problem 3. How would you correct the underlined segment, if at all?
|ACT English||Passage Drill|
|Product Type||ACT English|
|Sentence Structure||Sentence Fragments|
Subordination and Coordination
To “extrude,” is to force, press, or push something out, often through a hole.
So it’s the perfect word to describe the way in which spiders force sticky stuff out
of their spinnerets.
OK, our stomachs just turned a bit. Let’s move on.
The main beef between these answer choices is whether the word “that” or “which”
is right for the sentence.
It’s no surprise the answers disagree about this; misuse of these words is one the most
common grammatical mistakes out there.
Here’s the deal...
“That” is used to introduce restrictive clauses.
These are clauses that the sentence can’t do without. If removing a clause from a sentence
changes the sentence’s meaning or omits something vital, we know we’re dealing with
a restrictive clause.
The word “which,” on the other hand, is used to introduce nonrestrictive clauses.
These are clauses that can be removed from the sentence without changing the meaning.
They’re additional information, extra spice if you will.
In the sentence in question, the clause is totally restrictive.
If the writer cut it, we’d have no idea how these proteins are extruded through spiders’ spinnerets to make silk.
We hope this isn’t where our silk boxers came from.
If so, they’re going in the trash as soon as we get home.
Since the clause is restrictive, we know the word “which” is not required, and we can
cross out options (B) and (C).
This brings us to answers (A) and (D). Both correctly use “that” to introduce the
restrictive clause, so we’ll have to find another way to narrow down our options.
(D) uses the present progressive tense with “are extruding,” while (A) uses the simple
present with “are extruded.”
Out of the two, (A) is the best answer because the simple present can be used to talk about
things that happen in general.
(D)’s use of the present progressive makes it sound like the extruding is happening right now.
Sure, spiders all over the world are currently weaving their webs, but the author is referring
to the way in which they generally accomplish they’re web weaving.
Anyway, we try not to think about the fact that spiders everywhere are weaving as we speak.
What if they're working together to form one giant web to trap humankind?
Laugh now, but only time will tell.