PSAT Writing : Correcting Semicolon Errors

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for PSAT Writing

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Example Questions

Example Question #1 : Improving Sentences

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.

That café offers many beverages to choose from; lemonade, soda, coffee, tea, and more.

Possible Answers:

to choose from, lemonade, soda

to choose from: lemonade, soda

to choose from—lemonade, soda

to choose from; lemonade, soda

to choose from . . . lemonade, soda

Correct answer:

to choose from: lemonade, soda

Explanation:

Here, the colon is the most appropriate punctuation mark to use because it precedes a list of things that do not form an independent clause. The colon is used to introduce such lists.

Example Question #1 : Correcting Semicolon 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.

I talked to Jenny this morning; who said that it was too cold to go swimming.

Possible Answers:

morning. Who

morning: who

morning, who

morning—who

morning; who

Correct answer:

morning, who

Explanation:

A comma should separate the two clauses of the sentence; the second clause is a dependent clause, and cannot stand alone as its own sentence.

Example Question #3 : Correcting Semicolon 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.

Because my aunt lives far away; I do not see her very often.

Possible Answers:

Because my aunt lives far away; I do not see her very often.

Because my aunt lives far away, I do not see her very often.

Because my aunt lives farthest away; I do not see her very often.

Because my aunt lives far away. I do not see her very often.

Although my aunt lives far away; I do not see her very often.

Correct answer:

Because my aunt lives far away, I do not see her very often.

Explanation:

The two clauses need to be separated by a comma.

Example Question #62 : Correcting Grammatical 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.

Leading the Transcendentalist movement, Ralph Waldo Emerson championed individualism; and spoke against slavery.

Possible Answers:

Leading the Transcendentalist movement; Ralph Waldo Emerson championed individualism, and spoke against slavery.  

Leading the Transcendentalist movement, Ralph Waldo Emerson championed individualism, and spoke against slavery.  

Leading the Transcendentalist movement, Ralph Waldo Emerson championed individualism; and spoke against slavery.

Leading the Transcendentalist movement; Ralph Waldo Emerson championed individualism and spoke against slavery.  

Leading the Transcendentalist movement, Ralph Waldo Emerson championed individualism and spoke against slavery.  

Correct answer:

Leading the Transcendentalist movement, Ralph Waldo Emerson championed individualism and spoke against slavery.  

Explanation:

A semi-colon separates two independent clauses. No punctuation between "individualism" and "and" is necessary.  

Example Question #113 : Sentence Correction

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.

Carrie and her cat, Mittens; were having a relaxing afternoon, Mittens was basking in a sunbeam near Carrie's feet.

Possible Answers:

Carrie and her cat, Mittens; were having a relaxing afternoon, Mittens was basking in a sunbeam near Carrie's feet.

Carrie and her cat, Mittens, were having a relaxing afternoon. Mittens was basking in a sunbeam; near Carrie's feet.

Carrie and her cat, Mittens, were having a relaxing afternoon; Mittens was basking in a sunbeam near Carrie's feet.

Carrie and her cat, Mittens, were having a relaxing afternoon. Mittens was basking; in a sunbeam near Carrie's feet.

Carrie and her cat; Mittens, were having a relaxing afternoon. Mittens was basking in a sunbeam near Carrie's feet.

Correct answer:

Carrie and her cat, Mittens, were having a relaxing afternoon; Mittens was basking in a sunbeam near Carrie's feet.

Explanation:

The correct use of a semicolon is connecting two related independent clauses. If a part of a sentence can't stand alone as a sentence, it can't be connected to another part of the sentence with a semicolon. In this case, the correct form is "Carrie and her cat, Mittens, were having a relaxing afternoon; Mittens was basking in a sunbeam near Carrie's feet," which connects the two related sentences with a semicolon.

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