SAT Writing : Identifying Punctuation Errors: Commas for Introductory or Interrupting Phrases

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for SAT Writing

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Example Questions

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Example Question #82 : Identifying Punctuation Errors: Commas

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

Finally the teacher returned our papers, and despite our initial worries, we discovered all of us had received passing marks. No error

Possible Answers:

No error

Finally the teacher

all of us

Despite

worries, we

Correct answer:

Finally the teacher

Explanation:

Here, "finally" is considered an introductory word, so it must be followed by a comma: "Finally, the teacher . . ."

Example Question #1 : Identifying Punctuation Errors: Commas For Introductory Or Interrupting Phrases

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

If you decide to go to the beach make sure to wear sunscreen to protect your skin! No error

Possible Answers:

to wear

If you decide

No error

to the beach make sure

to protect your skin!

Correct answer:

to the beach make sure

Explanation:

The phrase "If you decide to go to the beach" is an introductory phrase, and all introductory phrases need to be set apart from the rest of the sentence by a comma. So, after being corrected, the sentence would read, "If you decide to go to the beach, make sure to wear sunscreen to protect your skin!"

Example Question #2 : Identifying Punctuation Errors: Commas For Introductory Or Interrupting Phrases

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

Daisy and her sister, Margot, shared a large family but a special relationship; even among their numerous older and younger sisters, Margot, and Daisy had a special bond. No error

Possible Answers:

among

her sister, Margot,

sisters, Margot, and

relationship; even

No error

Correct answer:

sisters, Margot, and

Explanation:

Because the sentence states that Margot is not Daisy's only sister, the commas and which frame her name in "their numerous older and younger sisters, Margot, and Daisy" are incorrect. The comma that sets apart Margot's name at the beginning of the sentence ("Daisy and her sister, Margot, shared") is correctly used, because here, Margot is being specified as Daisy's sister in an appositive phrase that renames "her sister" as "Margot."

Example Question #85 : Identifying Punctuation Errors: Commas

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

Despite disinterest in school elections, the majority of the students voted Shindra the treasurer, president of the student governmentNo error

Possible Answers:

Despite disinterest

Shindra the treasurer,

elections, the

student government

No error

Correct answer:

Shindra the treasurer,

Explanation:

"The treasurer" here is an appositive: it renames or restates Shindra in different words, and it should be surrounded with commas. The correct sentence should be: "the students voted Shindra, the treasurer, president . . ."

Example Question #3 : Identifying Punctuation Errors: Commas For Introductory Or Interrupting Phrases

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

Istanbul, despite being an old city has recently been the site of major commercial developments hoping to bring international business to the country. No error

Possible Answers:

despite being an old city

No error

Instanbul, despite

to bring international business

developments hoping

Correct answer:

despite being an old city

Explanation:

Here "despite being an old city" needs to be separated by the main clause by two commas, not just one.

Example Question #4 : Identifying Punctuation Errors: Commas For Introductory Or Interrupting Phrases

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

At the insistence of the manager, the entire team dropped the project immediately; the project leader however, continued her work without interruptionNo error

Possible Answers:

leader however,

manager, the entire team

At the insistence

immediately; the

without interruption

Correct answer:

leader however,

Explanation:

The word "however" here is considered a non-essential phrase: it can be removed, leaving a complete sentence. So it must be surrounded with commas: "The project leader, however, continued . . ."

Example Question #676 : 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.

Perdita the lost princess, was found and raised by a shepherd. No error

Possible Answers:

was

found and raised

No error

by a shepherd.

Perdita the lost princess,

Correct answer:

Perdita the lost princess,

Explanation:

Commas should be used to set off the phrase "the lost princess," as it is in apposition to (gives a description of) the subject Perdita, but the sentence still makes sense without it. So, "Perdita the lost princess," contains the sentence's error, and the sentence should read, "Perdita, the lost princess, was found and raised by a shepherd."

Example Question #1 : Identifying Punctuation Errors: Commas For Introductory Or Interrupting Phrases

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

First take the pie crust out of the freezer, and then fill it with the sliced apples, cinnamon, and maple syrup. No error

Possible Answers:

out of the freezer,

and then

 sliced apples, cinnamon,

First take

No error

Correct answer:

First take

Explanation:

In this sentence, "First" is used as an introductory word (specifically an adverbial phrase) and must therefore be followed by a comma: "First, take . . ."

Example Question #2 : Identifying Punctuation Errors: Commas For Introductory Or Interrupting Phrases

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

Most schoolchildren have heard the tale of Robin Hood the medieval outlaw who stole from the rich and gave to the poor. No error

Possible Answers:

Robin Hood the medieval outlaw

No error

stole from

and gave

Most

Correct answer:

Robin Hood the medieval outlaw

Explanation:

The phrase "the medieval outlaw who stole from the rich and gave to the poor" is an appositive phrase. It restates the noun "Robin Hood" in a way that presents more details, but is not grammatically necessary to the sentence for the sentence to be complete and understandable. ("Most schoolchildren have heard the tale of Robin Hood" is a completely correct sentence on its own.) The appositive phrase should therefore be preceded by a comma ("Robin Hood, the medieval outlaw who stole from the rich and gave to the poor").

Example Question #3 : Identifying Punctuation Errors: Commas For Introductory Or Interrupting Phrases

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

Patton a man known for his pugnacious character, was highly regarded for his generalship. No error

Possible Answers:

no error

generalship

his

was highly regarded

Patton a man

Correct answer:

Patton a man

Explanation:

In this sentence, the phrase "a man known for his pugnacious character" is acting as an interrupting phrase. An interrupting phrase is a group of words which interrupts the flow of the sentence; interrupting phrases need to be separated from the rest of the sentence with commas (or dashes). In this case commas are needed after "Patton," and after "character."

The full, correct version of this sentence reads: "Patton, a man known for his pugnacious character, was renowned for his generalship."

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