PARCC Word Usage Practice Test Questions
Each underlined section corresponds to an answer choice. The first underlined section corresponds to choice A, the second to choice B, and so on. Please select the answer choice that either contains an error or select choice E, which is “No error.”
1. Whom did you talk to at the information desk at the airport? No error.
1. E: This sentence is correct as it is written.
2. Ellen always got into more trouble than me. No error.
2. D: "Than me" in the comparative is incorrect; it should be "than I." This can be deduced by adding a verb to the pronoun to finish the thought: "...than I am," not "...than me am."
3. The title of salutatorian goes to whomever has the second highest academic average. No error.
3. B: "...to whomever" would only be correct if it is a direct object in all parts of the sentence, e.g. "...to whomever you want." However, in this sentence it is a subject in the prepositional phrase: "... to whoever has..." and thus should be "whoever" so "who" agrees with "has." "Whoever" as subject takes precedence over "whomever" as object.
4. Do you feel good enough to go to the store? No error.
4. B: How you feel is expressed by the adverb "well," not by the adjective "good," e.g. "I have good feelings."
5. Bolivar, an idol between his contemporaries, has been the inspiration for many modern revolutions. No error.
5. A: "Between" only refers to two, e.g. "Between you and me;" when modifying more than two, as here since "his contemporaries" refers to many people, "among" is the correct preposition.
6. Birds fly south in the winter threw an instinct not completely understood by scientists. No error.
6. C: The correct spelling of the preposition meaning via or by means of, as it is used here, is "through." "Threw" is the past tense of the verb "to throw."
7. No animal has yet been discovered that can "see" infrared light with its eyes. No error.
7. E: This sentence is correct as it is written.
8. Lying there in the half-dark of my room, I could see my shelf, with my books-some of them prizes I had won in high school. No error.
8. E: This sentence is correct the way that it is written.
9. The man who sat beside Ben and I was running for the city council. No error.
9. C: "Ben and I" as an indirect object is incorrect: it should be "Ben and me." The correct personal pronoun can be ascertained by removing the added "Ben and:" We would not write "The man who sat beside I," but "The man who sat beside me..." and this does not change when adding another object (Ben).
10. Whom did you say sent this package? No error.
10. A: "Whom" is used to indicate an indirect object, e.g. "to whom" or "for whom" did you send this package? But this example asks the question, "Who sent this package?" and further specifies "Who did you say it was?" "Who" agrees with "sent," not with "did you say."
11. There isn't scarcely room on the front steps to pose the entire class for a picture. No error.
11. A: "Scarcely" means "barely" or "hardly;" i.e. it minimizes, indicating very little. Only a positive quantity, like the state of being indicated by "is," can be minimized. A negative, i.e. "is not," cannot be minimized, as nothing exists to be made smaller. Minimizer + negative is akin to a double negative and equally incorrect.
12. Haven't none of you seen my dog? No error.
12. B: This is a double negative as written. With the negative "Haven't" goes "any," not "none."
13. I found the expensive vase broken when I first came in the room. No error.
13. D: One comes into a room; one cannot come "in" a room, house, or situation. This is a common usage error. "In" means already there; "into" indicates movement there from someplace else.
14. Mrs. Clement, my English teacher, said that I could of improved my reading comprehension score if I had spent more time reading great literature. No error.
14. C: There is no such verb construction as "could of." "Of" is a preposition meaning belonging to or associated with. The subjunctive mood, present perfect tense is "could have." The auxiliary verb "have" indicates the action "improved" here as accomplished in the past (present perfect), and the auxiliary verb "could" indicates the subjunctive mood, expressing possibility as opposed to reality.
15. If you sign up as a volunteer for the special olympics, you will find that you receive as much as you give. No error.
15. A: "Special Olympics" is a name, i.e. a proper noun, and hence the initial letters of both words should be capitalized.
16. "Your themes," said Ms. Buchanan, will be due in class on September 7; late papers will lose one full grade." No error.
16. A: The open-quotation mark is missing before "will be" to show that the dialogue resumes following the non-dialogue insertion of said Ms. Buchanan.
17. What should I do when the computer says, "Sorry, try again?" No error.
17. D: The close-quotation mark should immediately follow "again" and the question mark should come after it. Punctuation marks such as commas, periods, semicolons, colons, etc. are placed inside of quotation marks when the punctuation is part of the line of dialogue or quotation; however, when the punctuation mark is part of the outer sentence that contains the dialogue or quotation, it is placed outside of the end-quotation mark.
18. "Whose in the office now?" asked Mom. No error.
18. A: The contraction of "Who is" is spelled "Who's." The word "Whose," used incorrectly here, is the possessive personal pronoun meaning "belonging to whom," e.g. "Whose coat is this?"
19. Parking her car at the depot, Ms. Jones decided to take the bus to town. No error.
19. E: This sentence is correct as it is written.
20. In 1936, Adolph Hitler refused to congradulate the great Jesse Owens, winner of four gold medals in the Berlin Olympics. No error.
20. B: The word "congratulate" is misspelled here with a "d" instead of a "t" as it should be spelled.
21. Preserving rare and valuable books is one of the challenges facing the Librarian of Congress. No error.
21. E: The title Librarian of Congress is capitalized on the U.S. Library of Congress website whether it includes a specific name (e.g. "Librarian of Congress Billington") or not. It is a title similar to President of the United States.* If the sentence read only "the librarian/president," i.e. not a title or referring to a specific individual, "librarian/president" would not be capitalized. (NOTE: This is an exception; so is POTUS.* Normally, when not naming an individual, such terms are lower-case.)
22. Everyone is excited about graduation because all had worked so hard for it. No error.
22. C: "Everyone" is a collective noun. To agree with it, the modifying clause should read "because they had worked..." , not "because all had worked...".
23. Without saying a word, the major gave a nod of ascent. No error.
23. D: The correct spelling for the intended meaning here is "assent," i.e. agreement. The word spelled "ascent" as it is here means a climb or upward progress, e.g. one's ascent up a mountain or one's ascent to leadership, success, fame, wealth, etc. rather than agreement.
24. Just as they were about to go to bed, Jane told her mother, "Its my turn to wind the clock." No error.
24. C: The correct spelling of the contraction of "it is" has an apostrophe: "It's my turn." "Its" as spelled here is the possessive impersonal pronoun, e.g.: "This coat is missing its buttons."