SAT Writing : Correcting Apostrophe Errors

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for SAT Writing

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Example Questions

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Example Question #1 : Correcting Apostrophe 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 repeats the underlined portion as it is written.

The carefully prepared plan eventually came to nothing after it's leaders were discovered.

Possible Answers:

its leaders

its leaders'

it's leader's

its leader's

it's leaders

Correct answer:

its leaders

Explanation:

The underlined portion of the sentence has a simple, but common, grammatical error. The form "it's" can only be used for the contraction of "it is," and not for the possesive of "it"; therefore, the correct answer is "its leaders."

Example Question #128 : Correcting Punctuation 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 repeats the underlined portion as it is written.

Monarch's in the Middle Ages had virtually unlimited power over their subjects.

Possible Answers:

Monarch's in the Middle Ages

Monarchs in the Middle Ages

Monarch's Middle Ages

Monarchs, the Middle Ages,

Monarch in the Middle Ages

Correct answer:

Monarchs in the Middle Ages

Explanation:

The subject of the sentence, "Monarchs," is written in the underlined portion as a possessive noun. Problematically, the word is not possessing anything in the sentence, and is instead being used as a plural subject. The proper correction is to make the word a simple plural, making "Monarchs in the Middle Ages" the correct answer choice.

Example Question #2 : Correcting Apostrophe Errors

Many people questioned the mans motives, as he never explained his actions in public.

Possible Answers:

the man's motives,

the men motives

the mans motives,

the man's motives',

the man motives

Correct answer:

the man's motives,

Explanation:

The use of "mans" in the sentence is actually the plural form without the proper use of the apostrophe to show a plural. The correct form is actually "man's," making "the man's motives," the best choice among the answers.

Example Question #130 : Correcting Punctuation 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.

Certain people have quite a bit of difficulty in distinguishing color's from each other.

Possible Answers:

in distinguishing colors' from each other.

in distinguishing colors from each other.

in distinguishing colors, from each other.

in distinguishing color's from each other.

in distinguishing colors from another.

Correct answer:

in distinguishing colors from each other.

Explanation:

The use of "color's" indicates a possesive, which is not the correct usage in the construction of the sentence. The phrase each other means that the plural form should be used; therefore, "in distinguishing colors from each other," is the correct answer choice.

Example Question #61 : Apostrophe 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.

Athlete's popularity in high school is a profound feature of the American educational system.

Possible Answers:

Athletes' popularity

Athlete's popularity

Athletes popularity

Athlete's popularities

Athletes' popularities

Correct answer:

Athletes' popularity

Explanation:

The form "Athlete's" is incorrect in the sentence because the construction, with a lack of articles preceeding it, indicates a plural form. "Athlete's" is the singular possesive form, but the sentence requires the plural possessive "Athletes'" and the singular "popularity."

Example Question #62 : Apostrophe 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.

Hardly any of the senators had even heard of the issue before the committee held it's meeting.

Possible Answers:

before the committee held its meeting.

before the committee held it's meeting.

before that committee held it's meeting.

before a committee held it's meeting.

before the committee holds it's meeting.

Correct answer:

before the committee held its meeting.

Explanation:

The use of "it's" is only correct when "it's" is being used as the contraction of "it is." "Its" is the word to use when you need the possessive form of "it," as in this sentence. Thus, the correct answer choice is "before the committee held its meeting."

Example Question #63 : Apostrophe 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.

The unrealistic assumptions caused the teams fans to expect more than the team could actually achieve.

Possible Answers:

caused the teams fans

caused the team's fans

causing the teams fans'

causing the teams fans

caused the teams fans'

Correct answer:

caused the team's fans

Explanation:

The only issue with the sentence as it is written is that the word "teams" should be a possesive, when it is written as a simple plural. The word needs to be changed to "team's," making "caused the team's fans" the correct answer choice.

Example Question #64 : Apostrophe 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.

Under the terms of the contract, the company had to pay the fired employee six months salary.

Possible Answers:

six months salary.

six month's salary.

six months' salary.

six month of salary.

six months salaries.

Correct answer:

six months' salary.

Explanation:

The construction of "six months salary" is incorrect, as it refers to the salary of six months, and therefore needs a possesive form. The only answer that contains the correct (plural) possessive form is "six months' salary."

Example Question #65 : Apostrophe 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.

The last thing a teacher wants is to see one of her student's fail.

Possible Answers:

The last thing a teacher wants is to see one of her student's fail.

The last thing a teacher wants is to see one of her students fail.

The last thing a teacher wants, is to see one of her student's fail.

The last thing a teacher wants to see is one of her student's fail.

The last thing that a teacher wants is to see one of her student's fail.

Correct answer:

The last thing a teacher wants is to see one of her students fail.

Explanation:

In the sentence, "student's" is written as a possesive, when it actually is functioning as a simple plural noun. The only change that needs to be made in the sentence is to remove the apostrophe from "student's," making the correct answer "The last thing a teacher wants is to see one of her students fail."

Example Question #66 : Apostrophe 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.

The girl was thoroughly embarrassed by her parents actions and comments in front of her friends.

Possible Answers:

by her parents of actions and comments

by her parents' actions and comments

by her parents actions and comments

by her parents, actions and comments

by her parents actions, and comments

Correct answer:

by her parents' actions and comments

Explanation:

The word "parents" in the sentence is used as a possesive, as the "actions and comments" belong to the parents. The word is written, however, as a simple plural. The answer choice that fixes this problem is "by her parents' actions and comments."

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