PSAT Writing : Identifying Appositive Errors

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for PSAT Writing

varsity tutors app store varsity tutors android store

Example Questions

Example Question #1 : Identifying Appositive Errors

Select the underlined word or phrase that needs to be changed to make the sentence correct. Some sentences contain no error at all.

Marvin, the librarian from Ridgedale always has a good recommendation for something to readNo error.

Possible Answers:

No error.

good

for something to read

Ridgedale always

has

Correct answer:

Ridgedale always

Explanation:

"The librarian from Ridgedale" is an appositive phrase, which is extra information renaming a noun that is set off by commas. Here, it is missing the closing comma. The corrected sentence reads, "Marvin, the librarian from Ridgedale, always has a good recommendation for something to read."

Example Question #2 : Identifying Appositive Errors

Select the underlined word or phrase that needs to be changed to make the sentence correct. Some sentences contain no error at all.

The dogs, who were basset hounds liked to run and sniff; they typically spent three hours outdoors every day. No error 

Possible Answers:

The dogs,

every day

sniff; they

basset hounds

No error

Correct answer:

basset hounds

Explanation:

The error in the sentence is "a basset hound." This appositive phrase, which describes "the dogs," needs to be closed off with a second comma. Appositive phrases rename the noun beside it. Non-essential appositives must always be separated from the rest of the sentence with commas.

Example Question #3 : Identifying Appositive Errors

Select the underlined word or phrase that needs to be changed to make the sentence correct. Some sentences contain no error at all.

Our family's pet bird, a canary wakes me every morning with her beautiful song. No error.

Possible Answers:

No error

morning with 

canary wakes

bird, a

family's

Correct answer:

canary wakes

Explanation:

An appositive phrase sits next to a noun and renames it. An appositive phrase is surrounded by commas, and the sentence would still be grammatically correct if it were taken out. Because the appositive phrase "a canary" renames "Our family's pet bird," it should have a comma at the beginning and a comma at the end, making the correct sentence, "Our family's pet bird, a canary, wakes me every morning with her beautiful song." 

Example Question #4 : Identifying Appositive Errors

Select the underlined word or phrase that needs to be changed to make the sentence correct. Some sentences contain no error at all.

I've never understood how bugs tiny creatures, could scare such big humans! No error. 

Possible Answers:

never understood

No error

big humans

bugs tiny

creatures, could 

Correct answer:

bugs tiny

Explanation:

An appositive phrase sits next to a noun and renames it. An appositive phrase is surrounded by commas, and the sentence would still be grammatically correct if it were taken out. Because the appositive phrase "tiny creatures" renames "bugs," it should have a comma at the beginning and a comma at the end, making the correct sentence, "I've never understood how bugs, tiny creatures, could scare such big humans!" Note that while an exclamation points is not necessary, it is also not strictly incorrect in this instance. Exclamation points are optional, stylistic punctuation marks.

Learning Tools by Varsity Tutors

Incompatible Browser

Please upgrade or download one of the following browsers to use Instant Tutoring: