PSAT Writing : Identifying Punctuation Errors: Other Commas

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for PSAT Writing

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Example Questions

Example Question #681 : Identifying Sentence Errors

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

In the interest of advancing her career, Ollie decided to stop going out on the weekends, and spend more time in the office. No error.

Possible Answers:

advancing her career

No error.

weekends, and

decided

more time

Correct answer:

weekends, and

Explanation:

This sentence has a comma before the last phrase, but that phrase does not have its own subject. A comma here is therefore not necessary. The corrected sentence reads, "In the interest of advancing her career, Ollie decided to stop going out on the weekends and spend more time in the office."

Example Question #682 : Identifying Sentence 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 trouble with taffy, is that it requires huge quantities of sugar. No error.

Possible Answers:

No error.

huge quantities

trouble with

taffy, is

it

Correct answer:

taffy, is

Explanation:

This sentence has an unnecessary comma separating the subject and predicate of the sentence. This should only happen if there is an interrupting phrase, and there isn't one in this sentence. The corrected sentence reads, "The trouble with taffy is that it requires huge quantities of sugar."

Example Question #1 : Identifying Punctuation Errors: Other Commas

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

Forgetting the key part of the instructions, Charlie preheated the oven, but did not prepare the cake. No error

Possible Answers:

key

did not prepare

oven, but

instructions, Charlie

No error

Correct answer:

oven, but

Explanation:

This sentence has an unnecessary comma. Use commas to separate compound sentences, but not compound predicates like we have here. The corrected sentence reads, "Forgetting the key part of the instructions, Charlie preheated the oven but did not prepare the cake."

Example Question #684 : Identifying Sentence 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 man who usually sits on the park bench every afternoon, was not there last Tuesday. No error

Possible Answers:

afternoon, was

last Tuesday

No error

who

on the park bench

Correct answer:

afternoon, was

Explanation:

This sentence has a problem with commas. The comma between “afternoon” and “was” is not necessary because it is not setting off a nonrestrictive clause. It creates an awkward pause in the middle of the sentence. The corrected sentence reads, "The man who usually sits on the park bench every afternoon was not there last Tuesday."

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