PSAT Writing : Correcting Punctuation Errors: Other Commas

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for PSAT Writing

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Example Questions

Example Question #318 : Comma 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 hardest thing, for most new pianists to learn is the correct hand position.

Possible Answers:

The hardest thing for most new pianists to learn is the correct hand position.

The hardest thing, for most new pianists to learn is the correct hand position.

The hardest thing for most new pianists to learn, is the correct hand position.

The hardest thing, for most new pianists to learn, is the correct hand position.

The hardest thing, for most new pianists, to learn is the correct hand position.

Correct answer:

The hardest thing for most new pianists to learn is the correct hand position.

Explanation:

The comma in the sentence is incorrectly deployed, as it divides a continuous phrase into two parts. The sentence should actually have no commas in it, as the sentence works as a continual phrase. Therefore, the correct answer choice is "The hardest thing for most new pianists to lean is the correct hand position."

Example Question #1 : Correcting Punctuation Errors: Other 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.

"What goes around comes around" is an idiom that often does not make sense outside of a larger context.

Possible Answers:

"What goes, around, comes around" is an idiom

"What goes around comes around" is an idiom

"What goes around, comes around" is an idiom

What goes around comes around is an idiom

"What goes around comes around" are idioms

Correct answer:

"What goes around, comes around" is an idiom

Explanation:

The phrase in quotation marks, "What goes around comes around," is the subject of the sentence, but described as an idiom. This means that it needs to be treated as a full sentence, because it is being referred to as a singular whole. To be a complete sentence, a comma needs to be put between its two parts, making ""What goes around, comes around" is an idiom," the correct answer choice.

Example Question #2 : Correcting Punctuation Errors: Other 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.

 

Making a great deal of money, is rarely a path to happiness.

Possible Answers:

Making a great deal of money, rarely a path to happiness.

Making a great deal of money, being rarely a path to happiness.

Making a great deal of money is rarely a path to happiness.

Making a great deal of money, is rarely a path to happiness.

Making, a great deal of money, is rarely a path to happiness.

Correct answer:

Making a great deal of money is rarely a path to happiness.

Explanation:

The use of the comma in the middle of this sentence is completely unnecessary and weirdly divides the sentence into two. No punctuation is needed in this sentence, and the best choice is to remove the comma. Therefore, the correct answer choice is "Making a great deal of money is rarely a path to happiness."

Example Question #4 : Correcting Punctuation Errors: Other 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. One of the answer choices reproduces the underlined portion as it is written in the sentence.

Many former army commanders came out against the plan, in newspapers as soon as the story was leaked.

Possible Answers:

Many former army commanders came out against the plan in newspapers as soon as the story was leaked.

Many former army commanders, came out against the plan, in newspapers as soon as the story was leaked.

Many, former army commanders, came out against the plan, in newspapers as soon as the story was leaked.

Many, former army commanders came out against the plan, in newspapers as soon as the story was leaked.

Many former army commanders came out against the plan, in newspapers as soon, as the story was leaked.

Correct answer:

Many former army commanders came out against the plan in newspapers as soon as the story was leaked.

Explanation:

The sentence does not need more commas inserted into it, but fewer. The sole usage in the sentence is a comma splice, or a random insertion of a comma where it should not be. The correct answer choice is "Many former army commanders came out against the plan in newspapers as soon as the story was leaked."

Example Question #441 : 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.

Under no circumstances, would he let his child go to the public pool.

Possible Answers:

Under, no circumstances, would he let

Under no circumstances would he let

Under no circumstances' would he let

Under no circumstances, would he let

Under no circumstances, would he leave

Correct answer:

Under no circumstances would he let

Explanation:

The use of the comma after "circumstances" is incorrect, as the verb "would" connects the conditional phrase to the rest of the sentence. This means no punctuation is necessary, so "Under no circumstances would he let" is the correct answer.

Example Question #3 : Correcting Punctuation Errors: Other 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. One of the answer choices reproduces the underlined portion as it is written in the sentence.

The worst part, about his new job, was working longer hours without overtime.

Possible Answers:

The worst part about, his new job, 

The worst part about his new job, 

The worst part, about his new job

The worst part about his new job

The worst part, about his new job, 

Correct answer:

The worst part about his new job

Explanation:

The phrase "about his new job" is vital to the construction of the sentence, as it provides information about the second part of the sentence; therefore, it should not be set apart by commas. The correct answer is "The worst part about his new job."

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