SAT Writing : Identifying Other Punctuation Errors

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for SAT Writing

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Example Questions

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Example Question #1 : Identifying Other Punctuation Errors

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

Is vanilla, chocolate, or strawberry your favorite flavor of ice cream, or do you prefer another flavor. No error

Possible Answers:

another flavor.

No error

vanilla, chocolate, or strawberry

your favorite flavor of ice cream

do you prefer

Correct answer:

another flavor.

Explanation:

The issue here has to do with punctuation. This sentence needs to end with a question mark because it is a question. The corrected sentence reads, "Is vanilla, chocolate, or strawberry your favorite flavor of ice cream, or do you prefer another flavor?"

Example Question #1 : Identifying Other Punctuation Errors

Choose the punctuation mark that, when inserted into the blank, makes the sentence meet the requirements of standard written English.

I decided it was worthwhile to buy the expensive fish tank that covers the entire wall instead of the little bowl __________ I wanted my goldfish to feel free to explore.

Possible Answers:

, (comma)

No punctuation

/ (slash)

; (semi-colon)

: (colon)

Correct answer:

; (semi-colon)

Explanation:

Here, there are two independent clauses with no conjunctions between them. A semi-colon (or a period and new sentence) is correct.

Example Question #2 : Identifying Other Punctuation Errors

Choose the punctuation mark that, when inserted into the blank, makes the sentence meet the requirements of standard written English.

The defendant claimed that he had been unjustly incarcerated ­__________ and that key evidence had been falsified.

Possible Answers:

, (comma)

— (dash)

; (semi-colon)

No punctuation

. (period and capital)

Correct answer:

No punctuation

Explanation:

The phrase following the blank is not a full sentence, nor is it a modifying phrase. No punctuation is needed.

Example Question #1 : Identifying Other Punctuation Errors

Choose the best punctuation for the blank:

Because it was the only recourse left to me ­­­__________ I swallowed my pride and called my high school math teacher.

Possible Answers:

No punctuation

— (dash)

. (period and new sentence)

; (semi-colon)

, (comma)

Correct answer:

, (comma)

Explanation:

If a sentence starts with because, it needs a comma before the main clause starts.

Example Question #4 : Identifying Other Punctuation Errors

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

Far from passive players in their colonial fate, Africans throughout the nineteenth-century responded to the encroaching European presence with various forms of resistance and negotiation. No error

Possible Answers:

encroaching

fate, Africans

No error

Far from passive players

nineteenth-century

Correct answer:

nineteenth-century

Explanation:

“Far from passive players” correctly modifies the subject, “Africans.” The phrase “fate, Africans” illustrates the correct use of a comma to link a dependent clause with an indepent clause when the dependent clause precedes the independent clause. “Encroaching” is an appropriate vocabulary word to describe the “European presence.” The problem comes with “nineteenth-century.” Because the phrase is used as a noun here, it should not be hyphenated. It would be hyphenated if the two words together were functioning as an adjective modifying a different word, as in the phrase "nineteenth-century problems."

Example Question #5 : Identifying Other Punctuation 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 tourists were enamored with the brightly-colored dresses and necklaces, and they nearly bought out the entire market. No error

Possible Answers:

necklaces, and

brightly-colored

they

enamored with

No error

Correct answer:

brightly-colored

Explanation:

Because “brightly” is an adverb, not an adjective, it shouldn’t be hyphenated. Only compound adjectives—two words together functioning as a single adjective—need hyphenation.

Example Question #6 : Identifying Other Punctuation Errors

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

As part of their defense, the lawyers presented a ninety page document that asserted their client’s innocence in exhausting detail. No error

Possible Answers:

ninety page document

asserted

defense,

their client's

No error

Correct answer:

ninety page document

Explanation:

“Ninety page” is a compound adjective that appears directly in front of a noun. In standard English, compound adjectives that immediately precede nouns are always hyphenated for clarity’s sake. “Ninety-page document” is the correct form.

Example Question #7 : Identifying Other Punctuation 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 heiress wept when she discovered that her favorite two year old horse had broken a leg and would never race again. No error

Possible Answers:

wept

two year old horse

would never race again

heiress

No error

Correct answer:

two year old horse

Explanation:

Here, “two year old” is a compound adjective that appears immediately before a noun, so it must be hyphenated. “Two-year-old horse” is the correct form.

Example Question #8 : Identifying Other Punctuation Errors

Select the underlined word or words that need to be changed to make the sentence correct. Some sentences may not contain an error.

“If you’ve never seen a group of ninety year olds dance the polka, you’ve never lived,” he laughed. No error

Possible Answers:

No error

laughed.

"If

lived,"

ninety year olds

Correct answer:

ninety year olds

Explanation:

Here, “ninety year olds” needs to be hyphenated as it is functioning as a noun.

Example Question #9 : Identifying Other Punctuation 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 all my years on the force, I’ve never seen such a thinly-veiled attempt at blackmail,” the police captain said. No error

Possible Answers:

force,

blackmail,"

"In all my years

thinly-veiled

No error

Correct answer:

thinly-veiled

Explanation:

Because “thinly” is an adverb, not an adjective, it shouldn’t be hyphenated. Only compound adjectives that immediately precede nouns require hyphenation.

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