PSAT Writing : Correcting Correlative Conjunction Errors

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for PSAT Writing

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Example Questions

Example Question #1 : Correcting Phrase, Clause, And Sentence 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.

In Emily Brontë's novel Wuthering Heights, the heroine, Catherine, must choose between true love or social preeminence.

Possible Answers:

the heroine, Catherine, must have chosen between true love or social preeminence.

the heroine, Catherine, must choose between true love or social preeminence.

the heroine, Catherine, must choose between true love and social preeminence.

the heroine, Catherine, must have to be choosing between true love either or social preeminence.

the heroine, Catherine, must make a choice between true love or social preeminence.

Correct answer:

the heroine, Catherine, must choose between true love and social preeminence.

Explanation:

Only answer choice "the heroine, Catherine, must choose between true love and social preeminence" correctly uses "and" with the preposition "between."

The other answer choices, including the original text "the heroine, Catherine, must choose between true love or social preeminence," contain an incorrect idiomatic expression. When we have "between," we typically need the word "and"—rather than "or"—to separate the entities that follow.

Example Question #21 : Correcting Conjunction 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 repeats the underlined portion as it is written.

When she went to the zoo, Lyndsey got to see not only tigers, but polar bears, iguanas, and toucans.

Possible Answers:

When she went to the zoo, Lyndsey got to see not only tigers, and polar bears, iguanas, and toucans.

When she went to the zoo, Lyndsey got to see not only tigers, also polar bears, iguanas, and toucans.

When she went to the zoo, Lyndsey got to see not only tigers, although polar bears, iguanas, and toucans too.

When she went to the zoo, Lyndsey got to see not only tigers, but polar bears, iguanas, and toucans.

When she went to the zoo, Lyndsey got to see not only tigers, but also polar bears, iguanas, and toucans.

Correct answer:

When she went to the zoo, Lyndsey got to see not only tigers, but also polar bears, iguanas, and toucans.

Explanation:

In standard English, when you use the phrase "not only" in a sentence, it should be followed by the phrase "but also." So, the correct answer is "When she went to the zoo, Lyndsey got to see not only tigers, but also polar bears, iguanas, and toucans."

Example Question #18 : Correlative Conjunction 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.

The remake of the film was neither enjoyable and definitely not faithful to the original film.

Possible Answers:

nor were it faithful to the original film

nor was it faithful to the original film

and it wasn't even faithful to the original film

nor faithful to the original film

and definitely not faithful to the original film

Correct answer:

nor faithful to the original film

Explanation:

When "neither" is used in a sentence, "nor" should follow it, creating the structure "neither X nor Y," where X and Y are items formatted in the same manner. To correct the sentence, we need to change "and definitely not" to "nor." Several answer choices do this: "nor faithful to the original film," "nor were it faithful to the original film," and "nor was it faithful to the original film." "Nor were it faithful to the original film" and "nor was it faithful to the original film" might each look like potentially correct answers, but each introduces a verb that disrupts the parallel structure of "neither X nor Y," in which "nor" should be immediately followed by "faithful to the original film." The correct answer is thus "nor faithful to the original film," making the corrected sentence, "The remake of the film was neither enjoyable nor faithful to the original film."

Example Question #1 : Correcting Correlative Conjunction 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.

Today, psychotherapy is one of the only treatments that has been shown to help treat, but even help prevent, most psychological disorders.

Possible Answers:

help treat, but even prevent, most 

help treat and prevent, most 

help treat and prevent, most 

help treat and even prevent most 

help treating and preventing

Correct answer:

help treat and even prevent most 

Explanation:

The best way to rephrase "help treat, but even help prevent, most psychological disorders" is "help treat and even prevent most psychological disorders." Commas can be used to denote an interrupting phrase, which is an idea connected to the main idea but not necessary to the understanding of the main idea of the sentence. For example, an interrupting clause may provide additional information about the main idea or a qualification (using "but" or "however"). In this example, the idea that psychotherapy can help prevent psychological disorders is part of the main idea of the sentence, so it does not have to be separated from the remainder of the sentence by commas.

Example Question #12 : Correcting Phrase, Clause, And Sentence 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.

In the future, not Ellen and not Marcia are allowed to go outside without asking the teacher for permission.

Possible Answers:

neither Ellen nor Marcia is allowed 

neither Ellen nor Marcia are allowed

not Ellen and not Marcia are allowed

neither Ellen and Marcia are allowed

not Ellen and not Marcia is allowed

Correct answer:

neither Ellen nor Marcia is allowed 

Explanation:

The correct form for this sentence is "neither . . . nor." In addition, "neither . . .nor" leads to use of the singular form "is" rather than "are."

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