GMAT Verbal : Correcting Comma Errors

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for GMAT Verbal

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Example Questions

Example Question #121 : Correcting Comma 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 statue of the great, courageous, hero stood in the center of the park.

Possible Answers:

The statue of the great courageous, hero stood

The statue of the great, courageous, hero stood

The statue of the great, courageous hero stood

The statue of the: great, courageous, hero stood

The statue of the, great, courageous, hero stood

Correct answer:

The statue of the great, courageous hero stood

Explanation:

This sentence contains a comma where one is not necessary. While the words "great" and "courageous" are coordinate adjectives, and, as such, should be separated by a comma after the word "great," there is no need whatsoever for a comma after the word "courageous." The second comma should be omitted. The correct choice is, "The statue of the great, courageous hero stood."

Example Question #122 : Correcting Comma 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 new equipment, which the company ordered seemed to have many defects. 

Possible Answers:

equipment; which the company ordered; seemed to have

equipment, which the company ordered, seemed to have

equipment; which the company ordered seemed to have

equipment, which the company ordered seemed to have

equipment which the company ordered seemed to have

Correct answer:

equipment, which the company ordered, seemed to have

Explanation:

This sentence does not contain a comma where necessary. The phrase "which the company ordered is an example of a relative clause, which gives more information about its antecedent: equipment. Any such phrase that occurs in the middle of a sentence must be introduced and completed with a comma. The correct answer choice is, "equipment, which the company ordered, seemed to have."

Example Question #123 : Correcting Comma 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.

She moved to the mountains, in order to enjoy the cleaner air.

Possible Answers:

She moved to the mountains in order

She moved to the mountains in order,

She moved to the mountains, in order

She moved to: the mountains in order

She moved to: the mountains, in order

Correct answer:

She moved to the mountains in order

Explanation:

This sentence misuses a comma. Commas are not used to separate prepositional phrases from a sentence unless the phrase acts as a parenthetical expression (a phrase that explains more about a particular word in the sentence). The comma should be omitted. No additional punctuation is necessary (colons do not divide up a clause). The correct choice is, "She moved to the mountains in order."

Example Question #124 : Correcting Comma 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.

While on the phone with her parents, Clara mentioned, her new promotion.

Possible Answers:

her parents; Clara mentioned, her new promotion.

her parents; Clara mentioned her new promotion.

her parents, Clara mentioned, her new promotion.

her parents, Clara mentioned her new promotion.

her parents Clara mentioned her new promotion.

Correct answer:

her parents, Clara mentioned her new promotion.

Explanation:

This sentence misuses the last comma present. "Clara mentioned her new promotion" is a simple sentence and does not need any sort of punctuation. The previous phrase, however (While on the phone with her parents), is an example of an introductory phrase that explains information necessary to the context of the sentence, but exists outside of the main clause, grammatically. These types of phrases must be followed by a comma in order to separate them from the rest of the sentence. The correct choice is, "her parents, Clara mentioned her new promotion."

Example Question #122 : Correcting Comma Errors

Please choose the best version of the underlined portion of the text.  One of the options to choose from will have no change from the original. 

Sadie went to the supermarket to buy bananas oranges and strawberries for her fruit smoothie. 

Possible Answers:

Sadie went to the supermarket to buy bananas oranges, and strawberries for her fruit smoothie. 

Sadie went to the supermarket to buy bananas, oranges, and strawberries, for her fruit smoothie. 

Sadie went to the supermarket to buy bananas, oranges and strawberries for her fruit smoothie. 

Sadie went to the supermarket to buy bananas, oranges, and strawberries for her fruit smoothie. 

Sadie went to the supermarket to buy bananas, oranges and strawberries, for her fruit smoothie. 

Correct answer:

Sadie went to the supermarket to buy bananas, oranges, and strawberries for her fruit smoothie. 

Explanation:

This sentence is listing several items.  To separate independent objects in a list, we need to use a comma.  Here, we are marking the associated words in the sentence.  Therefore, we need a comma after 'bananas' and 'oranges'.  We do not need one after strawberries because that is leading to the conclusion of the sentence. 

Example Question #121 : Correcting Comma Errors

Please choose the best version of the underlined portion of the the sentence.  One option will remain unchanged from the original.

Although inherently beautiful in the night sky Venus has an inhospitable environment with raging winds and a poisonous atmosphere.  

Possible Answers:

Although inherently beautiful in the night sky, Venus has an inhospitable environment with raging winds, and a poisonous atmosphere.  

Although, inherently beautiful in the night sky, Venus has an inhospitable environment with raging winds, and a poisonous atmosphere.  

Although, inherently beautiful in the night sky Venus has an inhospitable environment with raging winds and a poisonous atmosphere.  

Although inherently beautiful in the night sky, Venus has an inhospitable environment with raging winds and a poisonous atmosphere.  

Although, inherently beautiful in the night sky, Venus has an inhospitable environment with raging winds and a poisonous atmosphere.  

Correct answer:

Although inherently beautiful in the night sky, Venus has an inhospitable environment with raging winds and a poisonous atmosphere.  

Explanation:

This sentence needs a comma to separate the first contradictory statement with the second description of Venus.  After turnaround words like 'although', a comma is always necessary.  However, the comma has to come at the end of the completed clause, which comes after the word 'sky'.  No comma is necessary between 'winds' and 'and' because that part of the sentence is neither listing three or more things or containing two complete clauses.  

Example Question #122 : Correcting Comma 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 children were all glad about the copious amount of snow falling in the early evening because school would be canceled in the morning.

Possible Answers:

evening, because school would be canceled in the morning.

evening-because school would be canceled in the morning.

evening; because school would be canceled in the morning.

evening:  because school would be canceled in the morning.

evening because school would be canceled in the morning.

Correct answer:

evening because school would be canceled in the morning.

Explanation:

To look for sentence punctuation errors, we must look to the left and right of the underlined portion. To the left of 'because', we have a complete sentence. To the right, it is not a complete sentence. All of the options, however, still have 'because' connecting the two clauses. Therefore, the best version is as written in the original. 

Example Question #123 : Correcting Comma 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.

Sally, a baker, has a love for creating incredible pastries that are just as beautiful as they are delicious.

Possible Answers:

Sally a baker, has a love for creating incredible pastries that are just as beautiful as they are delicious. 

Sally: a baker has

Sally a baker has

Sally, a baker, has

Sally, a baker has

Correct answer:

Sally, a baker, has

Explanation:

The original sentence is the best version of the complete sentence. The comma punctuation here is being used to separate the noun ("Sally") from a describing characteristic. The appositive clause ("she is a baker") is being offset from the rest of the sentence to rename a proper noun with the use of two commas. 

Example Question #128 : Correcting Comma 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.

My favorite couples are coming: Becky and John, Tara and Bill, Tim and Amy, and Chris and Shirley.

Possible Answers:

coming: Becky and John; Tara and Bill; Tim and Amy; and Chris and Shirley.

coming;  Becky and John, Tara and Bill, Tim and Amy, and Chris and Shirley.

coming, Becky and John, Tara and Bill, Tim and Amy, and Chris and Shirley.

coming: Becky, John, Tara, Bill, Tim, Amy, Chris, and Shirley.

coming. Becky and John, Tara and Bill, Tim and Amy, and Chris and Shirley.

Correct answer:

coming: Becky and John; Tara and Bill; Tim and Amy; and Chris and Shirley.

Explanation:

In this sentence we not only are introducing a list, but the list is or ordered pairs. Therefore, we cannot just separate the pairs with more commas because that takes away the meaning of the sentence. In this case, since the list includes complex items, semicolons are actually the correct option to separate these items. We also need the colon to separate the list of ordered pairs, as the sentence was originally written. 

Example Question #121 : Correcting Comma 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.

Although he was handsome had a new suit, and a fast car, he did not impress the scholarly girl.

Possible Answers:

handsome had a new suit, and a fast car he did not impress the scholarly girl.

handsome, had a new suit, and a fast car, he did not impress the scholarly girl.

handsome, had a new suit and a fast car, he did not impress the scholarly girl.

 handsome had a new suit and a fast car, he did not impress the scholarly girl.

handsome; had a new suit; and a fast car he did not impress the scholarly girl.

Correct answer:

handsome, had a new suit, and a fast car, he did not impress the scholarly girl.

Explanation:

Here, we need to separate all of the descriptors of the man. "Handsome," "suit," and "fast car" all need commas after them since they are the list of characteristics. Therefore, the correct option is the following: "Although he was handsome, had a new suit, and a fast car, he did not impress the scholarly girl."

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