PSAT Writing : Correcting Interrupting Phrase Errors

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for PSAT Writing

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Example Questions

Example Question #1 : Correcting Interrupting Phrase 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.

Cindy found that she like her older brothers, enjoyed collecting art more than creating it.

Possible Answers:

Cindy found that she, like her older brothers, enjoyed collecting art more than creating it.

Cindy found that she, like her older brothers as well, enjoying to collect art more than creating it.

Cindy found that, she like her older brothers, enjoyed collecting art more than creating it.

Cindy found that she like her older brothers, enjoyed collecting art more than creating it.

Cindy found, like her older brothers, enjoyed collecting art more than creating it.

Correct answer:

Cindy found that she, like her older brothers, enjoyed collecting art more than creating it.

Explanation:

In this sentence, the subject is "Cindy," also referred to with the pronoun "she." The phrase "like her older brothers" is an interrupting phrase, giving additional information that is not necessary for the sentence to be grammatically complete. Therefore, this phrase should be separated from the main clause with two commas. The correct answer choice separates the interrupting phrase without introducing any new errors.

Example Question #2 : Correcting Interrupting Phrase 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.

Maura along with the rest of her school's swimming and soccer teams, had taken months to prepare for the intramural sports meet.

Possible Answers:

Maura along, with the rest of her school's swimming and soccer teams, had taken months to prepare for the intramural sports meet.

Maura, along with the rest of her school's swimming and soccer teams had taken months to prepare, for the intramural sports meet.

Maura, along with the rest of her school's swimming and soccer teams, had taken months to prepare for the intramural sports meet.

Maura along with the rest of her school's swimming and soccer teams had taken months to prepare for the intramural sports meet.

Maura along with the rest of her school's swimming and soccer teams, had taken months to prepare for the intramural sports meet.

Correct answer:

Maura, along with the rest of her school's swimming and soccer teams, had taken months to prepare for the intramural sports meet.

Explanation:

The phrase "along with the rest of her school's swimming and soccer teams" gives additional information that should be set off from the subject and predicate of the sentence with commas. It is an interrupting phrase, and the correct answer choice separates it from the subject of the sentence, "Maura." The sentence, as it is written currently, misuses a comma, separating the subject of the sentence from the verb. 

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