PSAT Writing : Correcting Punctuation Errors: Comma Splices

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for PSAT Writing

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Example Questions

Example Question #1366 : Psat Writing Skills

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.

One of Robert's role models is his father, a fireman, local hero, and small business owner, he started a popular clothing retail store. 

Possible Answers:

owner, he started 

owner having started

owner who started 

owner, having started

owner, starting

Correct answer:

owner who started 

Explanation:

Grammatically, it is best to avoid use of verbs ending in "-ing" where they are not necessary. The correct answer avoids this by using the phrase "owner who started." It is also the most efficient (and least wordy) option. 

Example Question #1 : Correcting Punctuation Errors: Comma Splices

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.

Although I was raised in an English-speaking household, I always found French and Spanish much more beautiful.

Possible Answers:

Although I was raised in an English-speaking household; I always found French and Spanish much more beautiful.

Although I was raised in an English-speaking household, I always found French and Spanish much more beautiful.

Although I was always raised in an English-speaking household, found French and Spanish much more beautiful.

Although I, raised in an English-speaking household, always found French and Spanish much more beautiful.

I was raised in an English-speaking household, I always found French and Spanish much more beautiful.

Correct answer:

Although I was raised in an English-speaking household, I always found French and Spanish much more beautiful.

Explanation:

The original sentence contains a subordinate clause, "Although I was raised in an English-speaking household," and an independent clause, "I always found French and Spanish much more beautiful." Therefore the comma separating them is correct, and the sentence contains no error. The word "although," especially when used at the beginning of a sentence, is an easy marker for subordinate clauses.

Example Question #1368 : Psat Writing Skills

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.

I find myself very drawn to the sea, I try to visit it often.

Possible Answers:

I find myself, and very drawn to the sea, so I try to visit it often.

I, finding myself very drawn to the sea, I try to visit it often.

To find myself very drawn to the sea, I try to visit it often.

I find myself very drawn to the sea, I try to visit it often.

I find myself very drawn to the sea; I try to visit it often.

Correct answer:

I find myself very drawn to the sea; I try to visit it often.

Explanation:

In this question, the original sentence was actually formed by two independent clauses combined with a comma (a comma splice). In order to unite two independent clauses, either one clause must be subordinated, or stronger punctuation must be used. Only the correct answer choice connects the independent clauses with the correct punctuation, in this case, a semicolon.

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