ACT Test Prep – English Section – Practice Question #8
January 8, 2017

ACT Test Prep – English Section – Practice Question #7

Spoiler alert: The answer is below the line.

We recommend that you challenge yourself to answer the question correctly, then learn why the right answer is right and the wrong answers are wrong. Go to actsuccess.org to learn more about test-taking strategies or buy the award-winning online ACT Success Test Prep course.

Good luck!


The right answer is A. Since the noun they precedes both the verb are and the verb contain, no comma is necessary after degraded. Furthermore, the information presented in this choice is the most relevant to the paragraph. (In this question, the right and wrong answers are determined by a combination of grammatical and stylistic factors—the test does not do this often, but it does happen, so watch out for it!)

The right answer is NOT B because this would result in two independent clauses joined by a conjunction without a comma in front of it (and, to a lesser extent, because the passage is about plantlife, not animal life, so information about birds is irrelevant).

The right answer is NOT c because this would result in a dependent “afterthought” clause that is not separated from the preceding independent clause with a comma (and, to a lesser extent, because the term flora refers to all plantlife, and so the phrase grasses and flowers and flora is redundant).

The right answer is NOT D because the passage is about diversity in prairie plantlife, not what interests tourists (and, to a lesser extent, because the idea that tourists from Western states would be more interested in degraded prairies than are tourists from other places is nonsensical).

Jim Giovannini
Jim Giovannini
Jim Giovannini has dedicated his thirty-year educational career to improving the lives of students. A former classroom teacher who became the founder of both ACT Success, Inc. and Academic Tutoring, LLC in Chicago. Co-author of two bestselling ACT test prep tools for Barron’s Educational Series: Barron’s ACT Flash Cards and Barron’s 6 ACT Practice Tests. ACT Success Online® brings highly affordable and highly effective digital ACT test prep to all students.