PARCC Usage Practice Questions

Each underlined section corresponds to an answer choice. The first underlined section corresponds to choice A, the second with choice B, and so on. Please select the answer choice that either contains an error or select choice E, which is “No error.”

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1. Bill Cosby is a well respected actor and comedian. No error.

Correct! Wrong!

1. B: The adjective "well-respected" is hyphenated, not two separate words.

2. Known as Johnny Appleseed, John Chapman distributed apple seeds and saplings to families bound for the west. No error.

Correct! Wrong!

2. D: When referring to the region, "West" should be capitalized, as with the East, North, and South. When indicating direction, as in "Turn left and drive west for 25 miles," these are lower-case.

3. Dancing to unanimous acclaim in The United States and Europe, she was known for her interpretation of Stravinsky's Firebird. No error.

Correct! Wrong!

3. B: "United States" is capitalized, but the article "the" before it should not be capitalized, as it is not part of the name.

4. Needing a sustained wind for flight, the albatross rarely crosses the equator. No error.

Correct! Wrong!

4. D: "Equator" is a name, i.e. a proper noun, and therefore, it should be capitalized.

5. Sparta and Athens, putting aside there own rivalry, fought off the Persians. No error.

Correct! Wrong!

5. A: The third-person plural possessive pronoun is spelled "their." "There" is an adverb indicating place or position (e.g. "here or there").

6. Mahalia Jackson, called the greatest potential blue's singer since Bessie Smith, would sing only religious songs. No error.

Correct! Wrong!

6. A: The term for this genre of music is "blues," i.e. a plural noun. It is NOT possessive and therefore, should NOT have an apostrophe.

7. Elected to the House of Representatives in 1958, Shirley Chisholm became the first black female member of Congress. No error.

Correct! Wrong!

7. E: This sentence is correct as it is written.

8. Put the ingredients altogether in a bowl when you make the cake. No error.

Correct! Wrong!

8. B: The correct adverb to modify the verb "put" here is "together." "Altogether" has a different meaning, i.e. entirely, totally, or on the whole, e.g. "I am altogether disgusted with your terrible grammar" or "Altogether, it was a pleasant day." The sentence given could sound correct when spoken, but it would have to be spelled as two separate words: "Put the ingredients ALL TOGETHER."

9. Horatio, Hamlet's loyal friend, wishes to die by his own hand, but he consents to stay alive so he can tell Hamlet's story. No error.

Correct! Wrong!

9.E: This sentence is correct as it is written.

10. We visited Boston Harbor, the site of the Boston Tea Party. No error.

Correct! Wrong!

10. E: This sentence is correct as it is written.

11. George's mother, Karen, has come with us to the mall. No error.

Correct! Wrong!

11. E: This sentence is correct as it is written.

12. Marian Anderson, the first black person employed as a member of the Metropolitan opera, was born February 17, 1902. No error.

Correct! Wrong!

12. D: "Opera" should be capitalized as part of the name "Metropolitan Opera."

13. The new expenditures will be born by the American taxpayers. No error.

Correct! Wrong!

13. B: The correct spelling of the future perfect tense of "to bear," meaning carried, held, or supported, as in this sentence, is "borne" with a final e. ("Airborne" is another example.) "Born" is ONLY a correct spelling for the meaning "given birth to," e.g. "The baby was born on schedule."

14. Having joined a volunteer program, Mark helps by reading stories to patients in the children ward. No error.

Correct! Wrong!

14. D: The word "children" should be possessive, i.e. "children's", to modify "ward."

15. Mr. French, the superintendent of schools in our district, spoke at the PTA meeting last night. No error.

Correct! Wrong!

15. E: This sentence is correct as it is written.

16. Specially treated cloths, are best for cleaning eyeglass lenses. No error.

Correct! Wrong!

16. B: There should NOT be a comma between the subject and verb.

17. When he addresses the legislature, the Governor will have to answer several questions about the budget. No error.

Correct! Wrong!

17. B: Since "governor" is not paired with a name, e.g. "Governor Jones," it should NOT be capitalized.

18. According to some modern scientists, Galileo's observations, which were made possible by the invention of the telescope, was long overdue. No error.

Correct! Wrong!

18. D: The verb should be the plural "were" to agree with its subject, "observations," not the singular "was."

19. Follow the marked route or you will surely loose your way. No error.

Correct! Wrong!

19. D: The correct spelling is "lose," pronounced with a "z" sound and meaning to misplace, be deprived of, or fail to keep. The spelling "loose," pronounced with an "s" sound, is an adjective meaning not attached or not restrained; or a verb meaning to free, unleash, or detach.

20. Shakespeare tried to show us the complexity of the human's mind. No error.

Correct! Wrong!

20. D: Correct usage is the adjective "human" modifying the noun "mind." The possessive "human's mind" would only be used to indicate an individual human, e.g. "Through their direct comparison of the two subjects, the psychologists concluded that the human's mind was more complex than the dog's mind."

21. The governor announced that the roof of the capital needs repair. No error.

Correct! Wrong!

21. C: The correct word here is Capitol, with its initial letter capitalized and spelled with an o. "Capital" is a different word, meaning the official government seat of a state or country (e.g. the capital of New York is Albany); wealth, in money or property; preeminent, e.g. "Wisconsin is the cheese capital of America"; excellent, e.g. "He's a capital fellow"; or upper-case ("capital letters"). Capitol refers to the U.S. Congress building or similar buildings of state legislatures.

22. I am reading about Geraldine Ferraro, the first female vice-presidential candidate of a major party. No error.

Correct! Wrong!

22. E: This sentence is correct as it is written.

23. After the eggs are weighed, they are separated by weight in to five groups. No error.

Correct! Wrong!

23. D: The correct preposition is "into," because it shows a process or a change. One cannot separate eggs "in" groups; this would imply they were already in groups and were somehow being separated further within those groups-e.g., into smaller groups. One can only separate or divide things into groups.

24. The President decorated the astronaut, who had orbited Earth. No error.

Correct! Wrong!

24. C: The comma is unnecessary before a nonrestrictive relative dependent clause. It is only required before a restrictive relative dependent clause, i.e. one that is essential to identify the subject it modifies (in this case, which astronaut?). When the relative clause gives additional information, it is enclosed by commas.

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