PSAT Writing : Identifying Correlative Conjunction Errors

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for PSAT Writing

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Example Questions

Example Question #1 : Identifying Correlative Conjunction 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 choice between relationships or space travel can be excruciating to makeNo error.

Possible Answers:

No error.

or space travel

excruciating 

The choice

to make

Correct answer:

or space travel

Explanation:

This sentence uses the wrong conjunction between “relationships” and “space travel.” If you use “between,” you also need to use the conjunction “and.” The corrected sentence reads, "The choice between relationships and space travel can be excruciating to make."

Example Question #2 : Identifying Correlative Conjunction 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 neighborhood’s changing cultural landscape is evident in everything from the people walking down the sidewalks and the products carried in the corner markets. No error.

Possible Answers:

No error.

products carried

neighborhood’s changing cultural landscape

evident in

and 

Correct answer:

and 

Explanation:

This sentence has a problem with coordination. When “from” is used, it should trigger “to” as the coordinator between examples. That is, the phrasing should be "from (noun) to (other noun)" instead of "from (noun) and (other noun)." The corrected sentence reads, "The neighborhood’s changing cultural landscape is evident in everything from the people walking down the sidewalks to the products carried in the corner markets."

Example Question #8 : Identifying Conjunction Errors

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

Neither the teachers or the students were told that the famous actor and actress would be visiting the school until the day before the visit; it was hard to tell which group was the more excited one when everyone found out. No error

Possible Answers:

the famous actor and actress would be visiting

No error

until the day before the visit; it was hard to tell

Neither the teachers or the students were

the more excited one

Correct answer:

Neither the teachers or the students were

Explanation:

When using the word "neither" to introduce one of two things in a negative fashion, one needs to introduce the other thing using the word "nor," not "or." So, the correct answer is, "Neither the teachers nor the students were told that the famous actor and actress would be visiting the school until the day before the visit; it was hard to tell which group was the more excited one when everyone found out."

Example Question #3 : Identifying Correlative Conjunction 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 distinction between "all-natural" or "organic" is something consumers often fail to recognizeNo error

Possible Answers:

fail to recognize

or

No error

often

is

Correct answer:

or

Explanation:

The word "between" always triggers the conjunction "and." Here, "or" is used instead. The corrected sentence reads, "The distinction between "all-natural" and "organic" is something consumers often fail to recognize."

Example Question #2 : Identifying Conjunction Errors

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

Neither the aliens who were invading or the people who were being invaded really understood what was happeningNo error

Possible Answers:

or

were being

who

No error

what was happening

Correct answer:

or

Explanation:

This sentence has a problem with coordinators. If “neither” is used, it triggers the use of “nor.” The corrected sentence reads: Neither the aliens who were invading nor the people who were being invaded really understood what was happening.

Example Question #10 : Identifying Conjunction Errors

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

Neither the dog or the cat could climb the trees outside the house, for the trees were too tallNo error

Possible Answers:

too tall

outside the house

no error

were

or

Correct answer:

or

Explanation:

The proper conjunction here would be "nor," as it agrees with "neither."

Example Question #2 : Identifying Correlative Conjunction Errors

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

Choosing between the carrot cake with cream cheese frosting or the marble cake with chocolate ganache was an agonizing decision. No error

Possible Answers:

No error

or

Choosing

agonizing

was

Correct answer:

or

Explanation:

This sentence does not follow conventions regarding the use of phrase “between X and Y.” The conjunction “and,” not “or,” should always be used when setting up a sentence using "between" to describe a choice or a comparison. The corrected sentence reads, "Choosing between the carrot cake with cream cheese frosting and the marble cake with chocolate ganache was an agonizing decision."

Example Question #1 : Identifying Correlative Conjunction Errors

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

Because it is not a holiday, neither the church or the bank is closed early. No error

Possible Answers:

Because

or

No error

holiday

is

Correct answer:

or

Explanation:

"Neither" always takes "nor," never "or." It may be tempting to choose "is." Neither may use plural or singular verbs, depending on the plural or singular quality of the subjects it refers to.

Example Question #4 : Identifying Correlative Conjunction 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 detective knew someone at the bakery committed a crime, but neither the baker or the customer would confess. No error

Possible Answers:

the customer

or

someone

No error

The detective

Correct answer:

or

Explanation:

The example sentence incorrectly uses "or" as a correlative conjunction to "neither," which is incorrect. The correct conjunction to match "neither" is "nor."

Example Question #5 : Identifying Correlative Conjunction Errors

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

John enjoys foods from many different culinary backgrounds, so it will be difficult for him to choose which dish he likes better between the Japanese sushi rolls or the Thai curry. No error

Possible Answers:

from

or

which dish

No error

so it will

Correct answer:

or

Explanation:

Given that John is choosing between two different options and the sentence uses the word "between" to describe his choosing between these options, "and" should be used to describe his selection of options, not "or."

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