PSAT Writing : Correcting Punctuation Errors: Commas in Lists

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for PSAT Writing

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Example Questions

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Example Question #1 : Correcting Punctuation Errors: Commas In Lists

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.

Angles, Jutes, and Saxons, were the dominant tribes that invaded Britain during that era.

Possible Answers:

Angles Jutes Saxons were

Angles, Jutes, and Saxons were

Angles Jutes, and Saxons were

Angles, Jutes, Saxons, were

Angles, Jutes, and Saxons, were

Correct answer:

Angles, Jutes, and Saxons were

Explanation:

The list that forms the subject of the sentence, "Angles, Jutes, and Saxons," appropriately separates its items with commas. The comma between "Saxons" and "were" splits the subject of the sentence from the verb, and should be removed. This makes "Angles, Jutes, and Saxons were" the correct answer choice.

Example Question #1369 : Psat Writing Skills

Jane Sally and Suzy all went to the zoo together, making the experience one they all three would treasure.

Possible Answers:

Jane, Sally, and Suzy all went to the zoo together

Jane Sally and Suzy all went to the zoo together

Jane, Sally, and Suzy, all went to the zoo together

Jane Sally and Suzy, all went to the zoo together

Jane Sally, and Suzy all went to the zoo together

Correct answer:

Jane, Sally, and Suzy all went to the zoo together

Explanation:

The list of names that forms the subject of the sentence is written incorrectly. All lists need to have commas separating their parts from each other for purposes of clarity. The correct answer choice is "Jane, Sally, and Suzy all went to the zoo together."

Example Question #2 : Correcting Punctuation Errors: Commas

Tom Dick and Harry have all seen the problems with the newspaper's advertising strategy.

Possible Answers:

Tom, Dick, and Harry, have all seen

Tom, Dick, and Harry have all seen

Tom Dick and Harry have all saw

Tom Dick and Harry have all seen

Tom Dick and Harry, have all seen

Correct answer:

Tom, Dick, and Harry have all seen

Explanation:

The list of names that make up the subjects of the sentence all need to be appropriately punctuated. Any such list needs have all the elements set apart from each other; therefore, "Tom, Dick, and Harry have all seen" is the correct answer.

Example Question #1 : Correcting Punctuation Errors: Commas In Lists

Politicians organizers and reformers all came together to bring the initiative to the legislature.

Possible Answers:

Politicians organizers and reformers all came together

Politicians, organizers, and reformers all came together

Politicians organizers and reformers, all came together

Politicians organizers and reformers all come together

Politicians organizers and reformers have all come together

Correct answer:

Politicians, organizers, and reformers all came together

Explanation:

The list that functions as the subject of the sentence needs to have commas separating its elements, distinguishing the different parts. The only answer choice that does this is "Politicians, organizers, and reformers all came together," making it the correct answer choice.

Example Question #2 : Correcting Punctuation Errors: Commas In Lists

The issues to be discussed in the debate will be economics foreign policy and health care

Possible Answers:

economics foreign policy and health care.

economics, foreign policy, and health care.

economics; foreign policy; and health care.

economics foreign policy health care.

economics foreign policy, and health care.

Correct answer:

economics, foreign policy, and health care.

Explanation:

A list like the one in the underlined portion of the sentence must always be appropriately separated out, especially when the elements of the list are two words, like "foreign policy." The only answer choice that clearly delineates the three component parts of the list is "economics, foreign policy, and health care."

Example Question #3 : Correcting Punctuation Errors: Commas In Lists

The athletes musicians, and actors all came together to help the charity raise money at the event.

Possible Answers:

The athlete's musician's and actor's

The athletes musicians, and actors

The athletes, musicians, actors

The athletes, musicians, and actors

The athletes musicians and actors

Correct answer:

The athletes, musicians, and actors

Explanation:

Any list like the one used as the subject of the sentence needs to have its elements separated by commas to distinguish the separate parts. The only answer choice that appropriately does this is "The athletes, musicians, and actors," with every other answer choice being grammatically incorrect.

Example Question #6 : Correcting Punctuation Errors: Commas

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.

Rowing lacrosse and tennis are all sports that are growing in popularity.

Possible Answers:

Rowing lacrosse, and tennis is

Rowing lacrosse and tennis are

Rowing lacrosse, and tennis are

Rowing, lacrosse, and tennis are

Rowing lacrosse and tennis is

Correct answer:

Rowing, lacrosse, and tennis are

Explanation:

A list like the one in the underlined portion of the sentence always needs to be separated by commas to clearly distinguish between the different elements in the list. The only answer choice that correctly does this is "Rowing, lacrosse, and tennis are," making it the correct answer choice.

Example Question #1 : Correcting Punctuation Errors: Commas In Lists

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.

Dogs cats and small animals have always been popular pets for small children.

Possible Answers:

Dogs cats and small animals have always been

Dogs, cats, and small animals, have always been

Dogs, cats, and small animals have always been

Dogs cats, small animals have always been

Dogs cats, and small animals have always been

Correct answer:

Dogs, cats, and small animals have always been

Explanation:

The three-part list that is the subject of this sentence does not employ appropriate demarcation between its separate parts. Lists like the one in the sentence need to be separated out by commas to show their individual parts. "Dogs, cats, and small animals have always been" is the only answer choice that appropriately deploys commas in the list.

Example Question #1 : Correcting Punctuation Errors: Commas In Lists

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 school offered programs in engineering computer science and architecture.

Possible Answers:

The school offered programs in engineering computer science and architecture.

The school offered programs in: engineering computer science and architecture.

The school offered programs in engineering computer science, and architecture.

The school offered programs in engineering, computer science, and architecture.

The school offered programs, in engineering computer science and architecture.

Correct answer:

The school offered programs in engineering, computer science, and architecture.

Explanation:

The list of items that ends the sentence as its object is not properly separated out by commas. Any list needs to have its elements clearly delineated, and of all the answer choices, the only one that accomplishes this is "The school offered programs in engineering, computer science, and architecture."

Example Question #3 : Correcting Punctuation Errors: Commas In Lists

The dog the cat and the rabbit all got along quite well with each other.

Possible Answers:

Dog cat and rabbit

The dog, the cat, the rabbit

The dog the cat and the rabbit

The dog, the cat, and the rabbit

The dog cat and rabbit

Correct answer:

The dog, the cat, and the rabbit

Explanation:

The underlined portion lists three different things, "the dog," "the cat," and "the rabbit." Each of these needs to be appropriately separated to clarify they are all different. "The dog, the cat, and the rabbit," is the correct answer choice.

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