PSAT Writing : Recognizing Sentences That Contain No Errors

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for PSAT Writing

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Example Questions

Example Question #1 : Recognizing Sentences That Contain No 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.

As the night turned into dawn, her motivation faded; she put away the heavy books and crawled into bed.

Possible Answers:

As the night turns into dawn, her motivation fades; she

Night turning into dawn, her motivation faded; she

As into dawn the night turned, her motivation faded until she

As the night turned into dawn, her motivation faded; she

Night turning into dawn, and her motivation fading; she 

Correct answer:

As the night turned into dawn, her motivation faded; she

Explanation:

The original sentence is grammatically correct and reads well. The other choices complicate the sentence by switching the first half to present tense, making the first half into a fragment, or unnecessarily switching the word order.

Example Question #2 : Recognizing Sentences That Contain No 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.

The museum, which has a sizeable collection of contemporary works of art, offers several different membership options.

Possible Answers:

The museum has a sizeable collection of contemporary works of art; they offer several different membership options. 

The museum, which has a sizeable collection to contemporary works of art, offers several different membership options. 

The museum, which has a sizeable collection of contemporary works of art, have offered several different membership options. 

The museum has a sizeable collection of contemporary works of art, it offers several different membership options. 

The museum, which has a sizeable collection of contemporary works of art, offers several different membership options. 

Correct answer:

The museum, which has a sizeable collection of contemporary works of art, offers several different membership options. 

Explanation:

The original text is fine. It correctly uses the singular predicate "offers" with the singular subject "The museum."

"The museum, which has a sizeable collection of contemporary works of art, have offered several different membership options" is incorrect becuase it contains a plural verb "have offered" with a singular subject "The museum."

"The museum, which has a sizeable collection to contemporary works of art, offers several different membership options." is incorrect becuase it says "collection to" instead of "collection of"—an error in preposition usage.

"The museum has a sizeable collection of contemporary works of art, it offers several different membership options." is incorrect becuase it incorrectly combines two independent clauses with a comma, creating a comma splice.

"The museum has a sizeable collection of contemporary works of art; they offer several different membership options. " is incorrect becuase "they" is a vague pronoun—we don't know who the antecedent is.

Example Question #1 : Recognizing Sentences That Contain No 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.

Alexei had to run to catch the bus this morning, but luckily it stopped and he arrived at his interview on time.

Possible Answers:

but luckily, it stopped and he was able to arrive on time for his interview.

luckily, it was just stopping and he arrived at his interview on time.

but luckily it stopped and he arrived at his interview on time.

but lucky for him, it stopped, allowing him to arrive at his interview on time.

but luckily it stopped for him and he was on his way to arriving at his interview on time.

Correct answer:

but luckily it stopped and he arrived at his interview on time.

Explanation:

The original sentence is grammatically correct and reads well. The other choices say the same thing but with more words. The most concise version (the original) is the best.

Example Question #4 : Recognizing Sentences That Contain No Errors

The magician, known as the Magnificent Interrupter, was notable for stopping his tricks to explain them to the audience.

Possible Answers:

The magician, known as the Magnificent Interrupter, was

The magician known as the Magnificent Interrupter was

The magician known as the Magnificent Interrupter, was

The magician was known as the Magnificent Interrupter, was

The magician, known as the Magnificent Interrupter was

Correct answer:

The magician, known as the Magnificent Interrupter, was

Explanation:

The phrase "known as the Magnificent Interrupter" is an interrupting phrase, a phrase that provides information, but is not necessary to the structure of the sentence. Such clauses need to be set apart from the sentence by commas, so the correct answer is to leave the sentence as it is written.

Example Question #5 : Recognizing Sentences That Contain No Errors

For myself, I have no further reason to disbelieve what the committee says.

Possible Answers:

From myself,

For me,

To myself,

For mine,

For myself,

Correct answer:

For myself,

Explanation:

The underlined phrase perfectly fits the sentence. The preposition "for" refers appropriately to the condition of the sentence. The use of the reflexive pronoun "myself" is also correct as the subject of the sentence is the first person pronoun "I," and "myself" can refer to the subject of the sentence when used in an introductory phrase.

Example Question #6 : Recognizing Sentences That Contain No Errors

Among other critiques, Martin Luther attacked the Catholic Church for the sale of indulgences, the practice of allowing congregants to purchase expiation for their sins. 

Possible Answers:

indulgences, the practice of

indulgences being the practice of

indulgences, whereupon the practice of

indulgences; the practice of

indulgences when

Correct answer:

indulgences, the practice of

Explanation:

The original sentence, which contains an appositive noun phrase, is best. The other options lead to illogical statements or sentence fragments.

Example Question #7 : Recognizing Sentences That Contain No 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.

Joe’s mother ran out the door with the special bag lunch she prepared, but it was a vain attempt; the school bus had just left.

Possible Answers:

but it was a vain attempt for the school bus had just left.

but it was a vain attempt: the school bus had just left.

but it was a vain attempt; the school bus had just left. 

but it was a vain attempt, the school bus had just left.

but it was a vain attempt noticing that the school bus had just left.

Correct answer:

but it was a vain attempt; the school bus had just left. 

Explanation:

This sentence contains no error. A semicolon is the most appropriate punctuation in this case. The semicolon separates two independent clauses that are closely related.

Example Question #8 : Recognizing Sentences That Contain No 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.

During her interview, the author claimed she had never felt as inspired as she did when she lived in New York City.

Possible Answers:

she had never felt as inspired as she was when she was living

she never felt as inspired as she was when living

she was never feeling as inspired as she did when she lived

she had never felt as inspired as she did when she lived

she had never felt as inspired as she had done living

Correct answer:

she had never felt as inspired as she did when she lived

Explanation:

The gerund ("-ing" verb acting as a noun) has no place here because all of the actions in this sentence are completed and definite. The gerund is reserved for ongoing actions or actions that are viewed as a process. 

Example Question #9 : Recognizing Sentences That Contain No 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.

Paella is a seafood dish from Spain that contains several delicious ingredients: pasta, shrimp, calamari, and the spice known as saffron.

Possible Answers:

ingredients; pasta, shrimp, calamari, and the spice known as saffron. 

ingredients: pasta, shrimp, calamari, and the spice known as saffron.

ingredients . . . pasta shrimp, calamari, and the spice known as saffron. 

ingredients. Pasta, shrimp, calamari, and the spice known as saffron.

ingredients, pasta, shrimp, calamari, and the spice known as saffron. 

Correct answer:

ingredients: pasta, shrimp, calamari, and the spice known as saffron.

Explanation:

This sentence contains no error. The colon is the best punctuation for denoting a list of things that do not form a complete sentence.

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