GMAT Verbal : Correcting Other Punctuation Errors

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for GMAT Verbal

varsity tutors app store varsity tutors android store

Example Questions

← Previous 1

Example Question #1 : Correcting Other Punctuation Errors

In introductory histories of Scholastic thought, three figures: Thomas Aquinas, John Duns Scotus, and William of Ockham are generally considered paradigmatic.

Replace the underlined portion with the answer choice that results in a sentence that is clear, precise, and meets the requirements of standard written English.

Possible Answers:

three figures: Thomas Aquinas; John Duns Scotus; and William of Ockham are generally considered

three figures: Thomas Aquinas, John Duns Scotus, and William of Ockham; are generally considered

three figures: Thomas Aquinas, John Duns Scotus, and William of Ockham are generally considered

three figures: Thomas Aquinas, John Duns Scotus, and William of Ockham, are generally considered

three figures—Thomas Aquinas, John Duns Scotus, and William of Ockham—are generally considered

Correct answer:

three figures—Thomas Aquinas, John Duns Scotus, and William of Ockham—are generally considered

Explanation:

While a colon can be used to introduce a list at the end of an independent clause, the list of three figures is, in this case, a parenthetical aside explaining who the sentence is talking about. As such, it should be set off like other interrupting parenthetical clauses—as in the credited response, which uses em-dashes.

Example Question #12 : Improving Sentences

Replace the underlined portion with the answer choice that results in a sentence that is clear, precise, and meets the requirements of standard written English. One of the answer choices reproduces the underlined portion as it is written in the sentence.

Who will take care of my dog, who needs a lot of care and attention, when I go on vacation next week

Possible Answers:

Who will take care of my dog, who needs a lot of care and attention, when I go on vacation next week,

Who will take care of my dog, who needs a lot of care and attention, when I go on vacation next week!

Who will take care of my dog, who needs a lot of care and attention, when I go on vacation next week?

Who will take care of my dog, who needs a lot of care and attention, when I go on vacation next week;

Who will take care of my dog, who needs a lot of care and attention, when I go on vacation next week.

Correct answer:

Who will take care of my dog, who needs a lot of care and attention, when I go on vacation next week?

Explanation:

Because the sentence starts with the word "who," it should be obvious that it is a question and thus has to end with a question mark. Don't get confused by the extra phrase that describes the dog.

Example Question #2 : Correcting Other Punctuation Errors

Replace the underlined portion with the answer choice that results in a sentence that is clear, precise, and meets the requirements of standard written English. One of the answer choices reproduces the underlined portion as it is written in the sentence.

Marcia was overjoyed that the dog, at long last, would have a house of it's own.

Possible Answers:

Marcia was overjoyed the dog, at long last, would have a house of it's own. 

Marcia was overjoyed that the dog, at long last, would have a house of it's own to have. 

Marcia was overjoyed that the dog, at long last, would have a house of its own. 

Marcia was overjoyed that the dog, at long last, to have a house of its own. 

Marcia was overjoyed that the dog, at long last, would have a house of it's own.

Correct answer:

Marcia was overjoyed that the dog, at long last, would have a house of its own. 

Explanation:

"It's" is a contraction of "it is," while "its" is the possessive form of "it." We can see now how the in the first sentence, the contraction does not make sense, and should be replaced with the possessive.

Example Question #3 : Correcting Other Punctuation Errors

Replace the underlined portion with the answer choice that results in a sentence that is clear, precise, and meets the requirements of standard written English

Jeremy flew to Europe last week: He said he wanted to be alone for awhile.

Possible Answers:

Jeremy flew to Europe last week; He said he wanted to be alone for awhile.

Jeremy flew to Europe last week he said; he wanted to be alone for awhile.

Jeremy flew to Europe last week he said he wanted to be alone for awhile.

Jeremy flew to Europe last week, he said he wanted to be alone for awhile.

Jeremy flew to Europe last week; he said he wanted to be alone for awhile.

Correct answer:

Jeremy flew to Europe last week; he said he wanted to be alone for awhile.

Explanation:

The example sentence uses a colon where a semicolon would be more appropriate. While a colon requires an independent clause before it, when trying to separate two independent clauses it is best to use a semicolon. Also, in the example sentence, the first letter of the second clause is incorrectly capitalized. The best version of the sentence reads, "Jeremy flew to Europe last week; he said he wanted to be alone for awhile."

Example Question #4 : Correcting Other Punctuation Errors

Replace the underlined portion with the answer choice that results in a sentence that is clear, precise, and meets the requirements of standard written English. One of the answer choices reproduces the underlined portion as it is written in the sentence.

Josh couldn't wait for spring break to begin, he and his girlfriend had bought tickets to Costa Rica several months in advance.  

Possible Answers:

Josh couldn't wait for spring break to begin... he and his girlfriend had bought tickets to Costa Rica several months in advance.  

Josh couldn't wait for spring break to begin, he and his girlfriend had bought tickets to Costa Rica several months in advance.  

Josh couldn't wait for spring break to begin; he and his girlfriend had bought tickets to Costa Rica several months in advance.  

Josh couldn't wait for spring break to begin? he and his girlfriend had bought tickets to Costa Rica several months in advance.  

Josh couldn't wait for spring break to begin: he and his girlfriend had bought tickets to Costa Rica several months in advance.  

Correct answer:

Josh couldn't wait for spring break to begin; he and his girlfriend had bought tickets to Costa Rica several months in advance.  

Explanation:

The sample sentence uses a comma where a semicolon would be more appropriate. The semicolon properly separates two independent clauses in the sentence. 

Example Question #5 : Correcting Other Punctuation Errors

Replace the underlined portion with the answer choice that results in a sentence that is clear, precise, and meets the requirements of standard written English. One of the answer choices reproduces the underlined portion as it is written in the sentence.

Since we never figured out it's original name, we decided to give our new rescue dog a brand new name. 

Possible Answers:

Since we never figured out it's original name,

Since we never figured out its original name?

Since we never figured out it's original name;

Since we never figured out its original name,

Since we never figured out its original name -

Correct answer:

Since we never figured out its original name,

Explanation:

The original sentence uses the incorrect contraction "it's" instead of the correct possessive form of "it," "its." We can replace "it's" with "its" and leave the comma as-is.

Example Question #6 : Correcting Other Punctuation Errors

Replace the underlined portion with the answer choice that results in a sentence that is clear, precise, and meets the requirements of standard written English. One of the answer choices reproduces the underlined portion as it is written in the sentence.

Daisy spent the weekend deciding which college major she wanted to choose, botany or dance. 

Possible Answers:

Daisy spent the weekend deciding which college major she wanted to choose... botany or dance. 

Daisy spent the weekend deciding which college major she wanted to choose, botany or dance. 

Daisy spent the weekend deciding which college major she wanted to choose: botany or dance. 

Daisy spent the weekend deciding which college major she wanted to choose? botany or dance. 

Daisy spent the weekend deciding which college major she wanted to choose. botany or dance. 

Correct answer:

Daisy spent the weekend deciding which college major she wanted to choose: botany or dance. 

Explanation:

The colon is the correct punctuation mark to use in this instance, as it sets Daisy's two options apart from the first clause of the sentence. 

Example Question #7 : Correcting Other Punctuation Errors

Replace the underlined portion with the answer choice that results in a sentence that is clear, precise, and meets the requirements of standard written English.

Julie went to the store to pick up a few things eggs fruit and vegetables. 

Possible Answers:

Julie went to the store to pick: up a few things eggs, fruit, and vegetables. 

Julie went to the store, to pick up a few things: eggs, fruit and vegetables. 

Julie, went to the store to pick up a few things eggs: fruit, and vegetables. 

Julie went to the store to pick up a few things: eggs, fruit, and vegetables. 

Julie, went to the store, to pick up a few things: eggs fruit and vegetables. 

Correct answer:

Julie went to the store to pick up a few things: eggs, fruit, and vegetables. 

Explanation:

This sentence has a subordinate clause that is modifying a word in the main clause "eggs, fruit, and vegetables." This clause needs to be separated from the main clause with a colon, since it is not being joined with a conjunction, relative pronoun, or otherwise. Colons are used to indicate that one clause modifies another in some way. Here, the clause "eggs, fruit, and vegetables" modifies the previous clause by explaining what Julie went to the store to get. Furthermore, since "eggs, fruit, and vegetables" is a list, a comma needs to separate each item in the list. The best answer choice is "Julie went to the store to pick up a few things: eggs, fruit, and vegetables." 

Example Question #8 : Correcting Other Punctuation Errors

Replace the underlined portion with the answer choice that results in a sentence that is clear, precise, and meets the requirements of standard written English.

The manager was considering instituting a new incentive program however the past incentive programs had not worked out so well.

Possible Answers:

The manager was considering instituting a new incentive program, however; the past incentive programs

The manager was considering instituting a new incentive program; however, the past incentive programs

The manager was considering instituting a new incentive program however, the past incentive programs

The manager was considering instituting a new incentive program, however, the past incentive programs

The manager was considering instituting a new incentive; program however the past incentive programs

Correct answer:

The manager was considering instituting a new incentive program; however, the past incentive programs

Explanation:

This sentence joins two independent clauses without the use of a coordinate conjunction. A semicolon must separate independent clauses that are joined in this way. Furthermore, the word "however" is the start of the new clause, so the semicolon needs to occur before this word. "However" is an example of a conjunctive adverb; when they join sentences, a semicolon must occur before the word and a comma must appear afterwards. The correct answer choice is "The manager was considering instituting a new incentive program; however, the past incentive programs."

Example Question #9 : Correcting Other Punctuation Errors

Replace the underlined portion with the answer choice that results in a sentence that is clear, precise, and meets the requirements of standard written English.

"How was the party"? Mike asked.

Possible Answers:

"How was the party?"

How was the party

"How was the party?,"

"How was the party"?

"How was the party"

Correct answer:

"How was the party?"

Explanation:

This sentence contains a punctuation error. Ending punctuation should always be on the inside of quotation marks. When using ending punctuation in quotes, a comma is not used. The correct answer is, "How was the party?" "

← Previous 1
Learning Tools by Varsity Tutors

Incompatible Browser

Please upgrade or download one of the following browsers to use Instant Tutoring: