PSAT Writing : Identifying Sentence Fragment and Sentence Combination Errors

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for PSAT Writing

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Example Questions

Example Question #1 : Identifying Sentence Fragment And Sentence Combination 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 particular, the audience’s worry that the vicious dogs might biteNo error.

Possible Answers:

vicious

might bite

In particular

the audience's worry

No error.

Correct answer:

the audience's worry

Explanation:

This sentence is a fragment, because it does not have a main verb. Changing the noun phrase “the audience’s worry” to a noun and verb fixes this nicely: "In particular, the audience worried that the vicious dogs might bite."

Example Question #2 : Identifying Sentence Fragment And Sentence Combination Errors

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

Paul was frustrated because his phone was not working, service was inconsistentNo error.

Possible Answers:

his

No error.

inconsistent

frustrated because

working, service

Correct answer:

working, service

Explanation:

This sentence is a run-on. There are two independent clauses separated only by a comma. Change that comma to a semicolon to fix the problem: "Paul was frustrated because his phone was not working; service was inconsistent."

Example Question #3 : Identifying Sentence Fragment And Sentence Combination 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 museum is hosting a Georgia O'Keefe exhibit until January, we should go this weekend. No error.

Possible Answers:

Georgia O'Keefe

this

is hosting

January, we

No error.

Correct answer:

January, we

Explanation:

This sentence has a comma splice. This is when two independent clauses (clauses which can stand on their own as complete sentences) are separated only by a comma. A semicolon works well here. The corrected sentence reads, "The museum is hosting a Georgia O'Keefe exhibit until January; we should go this weekend."

Example Question #4 : Identifying Sentence Fragment And Sentence Combination Errors

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

Due to global temperature increases, and the polar ice cap is melting at an alarming rate. No error

Possible Answers:

global temperature increases

No error

alarming

is melting

and 

Correct answer:

and 

Explanation:

This sentence is not coordinated correctly. The first clause explains why something is happening, so it shouldn’t be connected to the main clause with an “and.” The corrected sentence reads, "Due to global temperature increases, the polar ice cap is melting at an alarming rate."

Example Question #5 : Identifying Sentence Fragment And Sentence Combination Errors

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

Enjoying the sensation of standing in the warm rain and listening to it hit the pavement. No error

Possible Answers:

Enjoying

rain and listening

No error

it

sensation of 

Correct answer:

Enjoying

Explanation:

This sentence is a fragment because it does not have a subject. Instead of starting out with the gerund ("-ing" verb used as a noun) “enjoying,” we need a subject and a verb that agrees with it. One example of how to correct this sentence would be, "I enjoy the sensation of standing in the warm rain and listening to it hit the pavement."

Example Question #6 : Identifying Sentence Fragment And Sentence Combination 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 cafeteria that was serving "seafood surprise" for lunch and subsequently not attracting many customersNo error

Possible Answers:

No error

"seafood surprise"

not attracting many customers

that

subsequently

Correct answer:

that

Explanation:

This sentence is a fragment; read it out loud and you will hear that it sounds incomplete. This happened because the "that" turned the main part of the sentence into a modifying phrase. Take this out to fix the fragment: "The cafeteria was serving "seafood surprise" for lunch and subsequently not attracting many customers."

Example Question #7 : Identifying Sentence Fragment And Sentence Combination Errors

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

Virtue is, in many ways, a foreign idea to him, every kind gesture he thinks he knows is proven false. No error

Possible Answers:

No error

Virtue

, in many ways,

him, every

false.

Correct answer:

him, every

Explanation:

In this sentence, the independent clauses "Virtue is, in many ways, a foreign idea to him" and "every kind gesture he thinks he knows is proven false" are linked with a comma. This is called a comma splice and should be avoided. Replacing the comma with a semicolon fixes the error.

Example Question #8 : Identifying Sentence Fragment And Sentence Combination Errors

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

Rodrigo will always be wealthy. Even if he were to unknowingly live out the prophecy. No error

Possible Answers:

No error

wealthy.

Always

unknowingly

prophecy.

Correct answer:

wealthy.

Explanation:

"Even if he were to unknowingly live out the prophecy," is a dependent clause. It could be combined with the sentence before it, if a comma were placed after "wealthy," the period after "wealthy" is incorrect.

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