PARCC Grammar Practice Questions

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1. The word boycott derives from the name of Charles C. Boycott, an English land agent in Ireland that was ostracized for refusing to reduce rent.

Correct! Wrong!

1. B: When referring to a person, use "who," not "that" [(A), (D)] or "which" (C). The past perfect "had been" [(D), (E)] is inappropriate in this context: simple past "was ostracized" refers to the historical event itself. Past perfect would only be used with something identified as leading up to the past event, e.g. "...who had been refusing to reduce rent for years and finally was ostracized."

2. As a result of his method for early music education, Shinichi Suzuki has been known as one of the world's great violin teachers.

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2. C: Present perfect (A) implies Suzuki is not still known thusly. Past perfect (B) implies he stopped being known thusly in the past. Also, "known" is less accurate than "seen": the former suggests fact; the latter connotes perception/view/opinion, the case here. Present progressive (D) is awkward and suggests the opinion is only current and short-term. "Has been" without "seen" (E) changes the meaning from public opinion to fact-and past, not present, fact.

3. Last night the weather forecaster announced that this is the most rainy season the area has had in the past decade.

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3. E: "Rainiest" is the superlative form of the adjective "rainy." ("Rainier" is the comparative.) Using "most"/"more" plus the original adjective instead of its superlative/comparative form when it has one is incorrect with one-syllable adjectives and usually awkward with two-syllable adjectives.

4. Although Mandy is younger than her sister, Mandy is the tallest of the two.

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4. B: When comparing two things/people, use the comparative (-er/more), not the superlative (-est/most), only used when comparing three or more. "Has been" (C) is only correct when sentence context warrants, e.g. "...has been the taller of the two for three years." Here it is extraneous. "Most tall" (D) is doubly incorrect: once for using superlative, not comparative; and again for using "most"(/"more") instead of "-est"(/"-er") with a one-syllable adjective. "More taller" (E) is an incorrect double/redundant comparative.

5. When Katherine Hepburn's play came to town, all the tickets had sold out far in advance.

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5. D: Though common, using "sold out" in active voice with "tickets" as the subject is undesirable since tickets cannot literally sell themselves, so passive voice is more appropriate. Also, past perfect "had been sold out" is more correct than simple past tense "were sold out" (C) since the selling out preceded when the play came to town (past tense). "For" (E) instead of "far" in advance is the wrong preposition/word choice for the meaning and makes no sense.

6. The origins of most sports is unknown.

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6. C: Subject-verb agreement: The subject "origins" is plural, so the verb must agree with "are." The singular "is" (A) or "has been" (D) is incorrect. Present perfect "have been" (B) only applies if the context dictates it, e.g. "have been unknown until recently." Adding "now" (E) changes the meaning, implying they were previously known.

7. Neither of the Smith brothers expect to be drafted by a major league team this year.

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7. B: "Neither" is singular, so "expects" is correct. "Expect" (A) is plural. Present perfect "has expected" (C) is superfluous and awkward, as are present progressive "is expecting" (D) and past progressive "was expecting" (E). These would only apply if followed by (e.g.) "...until now" for (C) and (E) or "...until next year" (D).

8. Has any of the witnesses been sworn in yet?

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8. E: "Any" can be singular or plural; in this context, plural is more appropriate. When asking questions with plural count nouns, use "any" as plural. For singular, "Has any one of the witnesses...?" is better. "Is" (B), "will" (C), and "are" (D) are not correct auxiliary verbs in past perfect with "been."

9. TheLusitania sunk on May 7, 1915.

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9. E: The past tense of "sink" is "sank." "Sunk" (A) is part of the present perfect ("has sunk"/"is sunk"/"has been sunk"- passive voice) and past perfect (had sunk"/"was sunk" (C)]/"had been sunk"- passive voice) tenses. "Did sink" (B) is awkward and unnecessary. "Did sank" (D) is incorrect: past-tense auxiliary verbs are never used together with past-tense main verbs (doubling).

10. Whos in the office now?

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10. D: An apostrophe is required in "who's," a contraction of "who is." No apostrophe (A) is incorrect. "Whose" (B) is the possessive (i.e. belonging to whom). Its irregular spelling differentiates it from the contraction "who's" (like "its" vs. "it's"). "Whose" is never spelled with a final apostrophe (E). "Who is" (C) is not incorrect, but expanding the contraction to full form avoids correctly identifying the contraction's correct spelling.

11. There are now many kinds of dictionaries, such as a dictionary of synonyms and antonyms, a biographical dictionary, and a geographical dictionary with pronunciations given.

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11. A: This is the most economical wording of the modifying prepositional phrase. "That has" (B) is unwieldy and superfluous. The plural "pronunciations" is not possessive and thus should not have an apostrophe (C). "Have" [(D), (E)] is plural, disagreeing with the singular subject.

12. Towering 700 feet above the valley floor, Mount Rushmore National Memorial was an impressive site.

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12. C: Present tense is more correct when describing something that currently still exists. Also, from the sentence context, "sight," i.e. something to see, is the desired meaning whereas "site" [(A), (E)] means a location. Past tense [(A), (D)] would only be correct in context, e.g. "...was an impressive sight when we visited it last year." The article "a" (B) is incorrect before a vowel ("an" is correct).

13. San Francisco lays southwest of Sacramento.

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13. E: The present tense of "to lie" is "lies." "Lays" is the present tense of the transitive (taking a direct object) verb "to lay," e.g. "We lay books on this table." "Has laid" (B) should be "has lain," but present perfect makes no sense here: San Francisco's location has not moved. Present progressive "is lying" (C) is similarly misleading regarding a non-temporary location. "Lain" (D) is present perfect/past perfect, not present-and moreover lacks its auxiliary verb (has/had).

14. Did they know that Labor Day always came on the first Monday in September?

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14. B: Although the predicate is past-tense ("Did they know...?"), something that is still true, like a national holiday, "always comes on" the same day in present tense. "Always came on" (A) implies it no longer does, as does "has come" (C) and "had come" (D). "Has came" (E) is never used: the present perfect (has) and past perfect (had) both take the form "come."

15. Eating, drinking, and to stay up late at night were among her pleasures.

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15. C: The series of gerunds ("-ing"-participial verbals used as nouns) require parallel structure. To agree with "eating" and "drinking," "staying up late" is correct. The infinitive "to stay/remain" [(A)/(B)] disagrees with the gerunds "eating, drinking." Adding "She liked..." (D) incorrectly places the third verbal into an independent clause with another subject and verb, contradicting the sentence structure-and redundant with "were among her pleasures." "Trying to stay up late" (E) changes the meaning.

16. Each night when night came and the temperature fell, my parents lit the fire in the bedroom.

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16. A: A comma between a modifying phrase/clause and the clause it modifies is correct. Inserting "that" [(B), (C)] is incorrect: "the temperature fell," along with "night darkness came," is introduced by the adverb "when." It is not a restrictive relative clause introduced by "that." Past tense "fell" is preferred over the awkward "did fall" (B). "Because" (D) is incorrect: the clause was already introduced by "when." Past-perfect "had fallen" (E) disagrees with past-tense "darkness came" and "my parents lit..."

17. Frances promised to bring the Papago basket that she bought in Arizona.

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17. B: Past perfect is correct because Frances promised (past tense) to bring what she had bought before she promised. Present perfect "has bought" (C) disagrees with the past-tense predicate "promised." "Did buy" (D) is just an awkward or archaic version of past tense "bought" (A); "purchased" (E) is simply a past-tense synonym for "bought"-all incorrect here. (Frances did not buy the basket at the same time that she promised to bring it.)

18. He has lain his racquetball glove on the beach.

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18. B: The correct present-perfect of transitive verb (i.e. it always takes a direct object) "to lay" is "has laid." "Has lain" (A) is intransitive, e.g. "He has lain on this bed before." "Have lain" (C) uses not only the wrong verb/tense, but also a plural auxiliary verb with a singular subject, like "have laid" (D). "Is lying" (E) should be "is laying" with the object "racquetball glove;" but even corrected, changing the tense changes the meaning here.

19. I would have lent you my notes if you would have asked me.

Correct! Wrong!

19. D: In conditional-subjunctive constructions, "if..." introduces the conditional clause/phrase, and the corresponding "then..." subjunctive uses "would have." Using "would have" in the conditional is incorrect. There is no such construction as "could of" (B) or "had of" (E); these incorrectly substitute the preposition "of" for the auxiliary verb "have." "Could ask" (C) is wrong in both tense and meaning.

20. Many scientists are still hoping to have found life on another planet.

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20. B: "Hoping," like "planning"/"dreaming"/"expecting," etc., is future-oriented and in the present participle ("-ing"), requires the infinitive in modifying verbs, i.e. "hoping to find." Scientists cannot hope "to have found" [(A), (E)] something already that they are "still hoping" to find. "Two" (C) is the spelling of the number 2, and "too" (E) is the adverb meaning "also," not the preposition "to." "To have been found" errs doubly, using both present-perfect tense and passive voice incorrectly here.

21. Because she had an astounding memory, Sue has never forgotten an important equation.

Correct! Wrong!

21. C: With present-perfect "has never forgotten," present-tense "has an astounding memory" is correct. "Had" (A) and "did have" (D) are past-tense; and "has had" (E) is present-perfect tense, all implying Sue no longer has an astounding memory, contradicting the statement that she still "has never forgotten." "Could have had" (B) completely changes the meaning and also contradicts "has never forgotten."

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