9 ACT Grammar Rules You Must Know (Quiz-based Cheatsheet)

Due to the popularity of the 18 SAT Grammar Rules You Must Know Cheatsheet, I’ve decided to make one more relevant to the ACT. But because there is so much overlap between the two tests, I won’t be repeating the rules from that post in this one.

Just know that all the rules listed there also show up on the ACT, so make sure to review that post as well.

Anyway, each point below lists common question variations and it’s your job to know how to correct them. Confused by anything? Ask in the comments or pick up our ACT English book.

1. Comma Uses

Add commas where necessary.

  1. Drinking coffee scientists have discovered may help prevent heart disease.
  2. I’ve decked out my laptop with a keyboard cover, pokemon stickers and a transparent case.
  3. Our school’s computer science club which was founded in 2000 has prompted other schools to start their own.
  4. The panda is a warm gentle animal that dines on bamboo shoots.
  5. The mailman dropped off the package and I told my brother that his computer had arrived.
  6. As the plane took off the flight attendants gave us emergency directions.
  7. Molly Henman a spokeswoman for the Democratic National Committee reviewed the candidates’ statements.
  8. Most bats are blind. Their sense of hearing however is amazing.
  9. I did what I did to improve the system not destroy it.
  10. Carly unlike Joey thinks before she speaks.

2. Comma Abuses

Remove unnecessary commas. Some are correct.

  1. I love eating delicious, strawberry shortcake.
  2. Each year, only schools with good classroom sizes, and a top test score average will receive funding.
  3. The public computers in the lab, have been moved due to vandalism.
  4. Each of the students, and teachers, in the school will receive a handbook on proper conduct.
  5. All across China, where new housing projects accommodate the wealthy instead of the poor, protests are being staged at city government buildings.
  6. I can’t buy those new shoes, if the price is too high.
  7. Marjorie introduced the new students, to their dorm rooms for the year.
  8. Beneath the electric chair that Eric sat in, was a knife that he used to cut himself free.

3. Apostrophes

  1. Tonys hat is on the floor.
  2. Louis’ scarf is 3 feet long.
  3. Both players’s jerseys were soaked with sweat.
  4. The book has a cool picture on it’s cover.
  5. He is the actor whose most known for his role in Batman.
  6. Jake wasn’t at the office, so he must of gone to the store.

4. Relevance

  1. The bank robbers threw the wads of cash into trash bags and rushed out the door, whose hinges were getting rusty. Outside, they met up with a friend who drove them to a secret hiding place. The police tried to follow them but they were too late onto the scene.
  2. Since its inception, the Cathay Pacific airline has served millions of customers worldwide. Obviously, flying is faster than driving. The company continues to offer world class service, comfortable seating, and delicious meals on all flights.
  3. My dad runs a bakery in Boston’s Chinatown, but there’s also a Chinatown in Toronto. He sells freshly baked pork buns, egg tarts, and cakes to the locals everyday.

5. Awkward/Redundant Phrasing

  1. In her biography about her life, she writes about overcoming poverty and fear.
  2. During high school, I sung in a trio that consisted of three people.
  3. Scratching the rash made it more worse than before.
  4. Lizzy raised her hand to respond to the teacher’s question, which needed an answer.
  5. The fundraising failed as a consequence of the fact that it didn’t receive enough attention from the students.
  6. I have to leave to go to a party at this present moment in time.
  7. Carrying drugs is something that could put you in jail.

6. Dashes & Colons

  1. Consider the amount of paper that’s wasted by unnecessary printing, a hundred thousand pages, three times as much as what our competitors use.
  2. The handbook lays out the most common mistakes when it comes to writing, lack of structure, having nothing to say, and repetitiveness.
  3. What you should remember from this whole ordeal is: that there can be no progress without sacrifice.
  4. Cambridge is home to two of the best universities in the world MIT and Harvard.

7. Transitions

  1. Although women in cities from New York to Boston demanded equality in academic opportunities, most East Coast universities did not yield to such demands. In fact, coeducational balance did not become a prominent issue for East Coast admissions officers until the 1960s.

    (A) NO CHANGE
    (B) In addition,
    (C) For example,
    (D) Be that as it may,

  2. As it turned out, Senator Aldrich did not plan his Jekyll Island trip for relaxation purposes. Therefore, he confidentially planned the weeklong affair to confer with Wall Street executives for a specific purpose––to draft a banking reform bill that would create a centralized American banking system.

    (A) NO CHANGE
    (B) Nevertheless,
    (C) Instead,
    (D) Afterwards,

  3. Some conservatives claim that America was founded as a Christian nation by devout men who sought to establish a system of law and governance based on the Bible. More secular voices, in summary, have argued that the “Christian nation” concept is a misnomer.

    (A) NO CHANGE
    (B) likewise,
    (C) for instance,
    (D) on the other hand,


8. Word Choice

  1. Tired from the 20 mile hike, Yasmine retired to her tent and snoozed.

    (A) NO CHANGE
    (B) hit the sack.
    (C) slept.
    (D) dozed off.

  2. The company plans to increase efficiency by renovating waste into reusable fuel.

    (A) NO CHANGE
    (B) adjusting
    (C) improving
    (D) converting

  3. The manager told the employees that the company was doing fine and that no one would be fired.

    Which of the following fits most specifically in the context of this sentence?
    (A) NO CHANGE
    (B) assured
    (C) instructed
    (D) notified

  4. Avoiding the media and the public, the star athlete attempted to shield himself from all the negative comments directed towards him.

    (A) NO CHANGE
    (B) prevent
    (C) screen
    (D) strengthen


9. Phrase Placement

  1. During summer camp, I would talk to the other campers about friends back home living in the cabin.
  2. The best placement for the underlined portion would be:
    (A) where it is now.
    (B) after the word talk.
    (C) after the word campers.
    (D) after the word friends.

  3. As young kids, we would hide from our parents in the kitchen next to the river of the abandoned house.

    (A) NO CHANGE
    (B) next to the river in the kitchen of the abandoned house.
    (C) in the kitchen of the abandoned house next to the river.
    (D) in the kitchen of the river next to the abandoned house.


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