GMAT Verbal : Correcting Semicolon Errors

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for GMAT Verbal

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Example Questions

Example Question #41 : Correcting Semicolon 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.

Kim's dog; a golden retriever, appears in many commercials.

Possible Answers:

Kim's dog a golden retriever; appears

Kim's dog, a golden retriever, appear

Kim's dog; a golden retriever; appears

Kim's dog, a golden retriever, appears

Kim's dog; a golden retriever, appears

Correct answer:

Kim's dog, a golden retriever, appears

Explanation:

This sentence misuses a semicolon. Semicolons are used to combine two related independent clauses without the use of a conjunction. The phrase "a golden retriever," however, is a parenthetical expression: a phrase that explains more about a particular word or phrase in the sentence, but is not introduced by a relative pronoun. These phrases must be introduced and completed with a comma in order to separate them from the main clause of the sentence. The correct choice is, "Kim's dog, a golden retriever, appears."

Example Question #42 : Correcting Semicolon 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.

On the way to the town; the merchant bought more goods for sale.

Possible Answers:

On the way to the town - the merchant bought

On the way to the town the merchant bought

On the way to the town, the merchant bought

On the way to the town: the merchant bought

On the way to the town; the merchant bought

Correct answer:

On the way to the town, the merchant bought

Explanation:

This sentence contains a semicolon where a comma is needed. Semicolons are used to join two independent clauses without a conjunction. The phrase "On the way to the town" is not only a dependent clause, but an example of an introductory phrase, explaining information necessary to the context of the sentence, but outside of the main sentence, 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, "On the way to the town, the merchant bought."

Example Question #43 : Correcting Semicolon 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 bought the car she always wanted; a Ford Mustang Convertible.

Possible Answers:

the car: she always wanted, a Ford Mustang Convertible.

the car she always wanted; a Ford Mustang Convertible.

the car she always wanted a Ford Mustang Convertible.

the car: she always wanted a Ford Mustang Convertible.

the car she always wanted: a Ford Mustang Convertible.

Correct answer:

the car she always wanted: a Ford Mustang Convertible.

Explanation:

This sentence misuses a semicolon. Semicolons are used to join two related independent clauses. The phrase "a Ford Mustang Convertible" is not an independent clause, however. A colon is the appropriate punctuation here, since "a Ford Mustang Convertible" explains exactly what kind car "she" wanted. Colons join two clauses when the second explains something about the first clause. The correct choice is, "the car she always wanted: a Ford Mustang Convertible."

Example Question #44 : Correcting Semicolon 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 painter worked on his new piece for months; but he did not like the outcome.

Possible Answers:

piece for months, but he did not like the outcome. 

piece for months; but he did not like the outcome. 

piece for months: but he did not like the outcome. 

piece for months but he did not like the outcome. 

piece for months - but he did not like the outcome. 

Correct answer:

piece for months, but he did not like the outcome. 

Explanation:

This sentence misuses the semicolon. Semicolons are used to join two related independent clauses when a coordinate conjunction in not present. While these clauses are independent and related, the word "but" is a coordinate conjunction. In this case, the most appropriate punctuation is a comma before the conjunction (in this case, "but"). The correct choice is, "piece for months, but he did not like the outcome."

Example Question #43 : Correcting Semicolon 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.

He studied everyday for his upcoming test; because he wanted to be as prepared as possible.

Possible Answers:

He studied everyday for his upcoming test, because

He studied, everyday, for his upcoming test; because

He studied, everyday, for his upcoming test, because

He studied everyday for his upcoming test; because

He studied everyday for his upcoming test because

Correct answer:

He studied everyday for his upcoming test because

Explanation:

This sentence misuses the semicolon. Semicolons join two independent clauses when a conjunction is not present. The word "because," however, is a conjunction. Furthermore, unlike other conjunctions, the word "because" does not take a comma in sentence. The correct choice is, "He studied everyday for his upcoming test because."

Example Question #45 : Correcting Semicolon 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.

Many vacationers are opting to fly to remote island destinations in search of quiet, tourist-free beaches; seeking white sands, tropical climates, eco-friendly accommodations rather than the standard beach resorts.

Possible Answers:

; seeking white sands, tropical climates, eco-friendly accommodations rather than the standard beach resorts.

; they seek white sands, tropical climates, and eco-friendly accommodations, rather than the standard beach resorts.

, with white sands, tropical climates, and eco-friendly accommodations and no standard beach resorts. 

, they seek white sands, tropical climates, and eco-friendly accommodations, rather than the standard beach resorts. 

; seeking white sands, tropical climates, and eco-friendly accommodations and not the standard beach resorts. 

Correct answer:

; they seek white sands, tropical climates, and eco-friendly accommodations, rather than the standard beach resorts.

Explanation:

The correct answer joins two independent clauses with a semi-colon, not a comma. The sentences in which the semi-colon attempts to join an independent clause and a dependent clause or some kind of modifier are incorrect. Some of the incorrect answers also show errors in parallelism.

Example Question #46 : Correcting Semicolon 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 girls played their music very loudly as they drove down the road they also sung along at the top of their lungs.

Possible Answers:

they drove down the road they also sung along at the top of their lungs

they drove down the road; they also sung along at the top of their lungs

they drove down the road: they also sung along at the top of their lungs

they drove down the road, they also sung along at the top of their lungs

they drove down the road; they also sung along, at the top of their lungs

Correct answer:

they drove down the road; they also sung along at the top of their lungs

Explanation:

This sentence does not contain a semicolon where necessary. The sentence combines two related independent clauses without the use of a conjunction, so a semicolon should appear in this place (after the word "road"). No other changes are necessary. The correct choice is, "they drove down the road; they also sung along at the top of their lungs"

Example Question #47 : Correcting Semicolon 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.

They would soon win the game, they planned to celebrate afterwards.

Possible Answers:

 the game, they planned: to celebrate afterwards.

 the game, they planned to celebrate afterwards.

 the game they planned to celebrate afterwards.

 the game; they planned to celebrate afterwards.

 the game: they planned to celebrate afterwards.

Correct answer:

 the game; they planned to celebrate afterwards.

Explanation:

This sentence misuses the comma. The sentence combines two related independent clauses without the use of a conjunction. In these cases, a semicolon should be used instead. Note that a colon would be inappropriate here as "they planned to celebrate afterwards" does not explain how or why they are winning the game or even why they are playing the game. The correct choice is, " the game; they planned to celebrate afterwards."

Example Question #48 : Correcting Semicolon 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.

Shaun was a very creative individual he dabbled in every area of art.

Possible Answers:

creative individual; he dabbled in every area of art.

creative individual he dabbled in every area of art.

creative individual; he dabbled in: every area of art.

creative individual, he dabbled in every area of art.

creative individual, he dabbled in: every area of art.

Correct answer:

creative individual; he dabbled in every area of art.

Explanation:

This sentence combines two related independent clauses without the use of a conjunction. When this occurs, a semicolon should be placed between the clauses. A semicolon should appear after the word "individual." The correct choice is, "creative individual; he dabbled in every area of art."

Example Question #49 : Correcting Semicolon 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 Earth's seasons change because of its orbit around the sun each region's exposure to the sun's rays determines the weather.

Possible Answers:

because of its orbit around the sun; each region's exposure to the sun's rays determines

because of its orbit around the sun, each region's exposure to the sun's rays determines

because, of its orbit around the sun, each region's exposure to the sun's rays determines

because, of its orbit around the sun each region's exposure to the sun's rays determines

because, of its orbit around the sun; each region's exposure to the sun's rays determines

Correct answer:

because of its orbit around the sun; each region's exposure to the sun's rays determines

Explanation:

This sentence does not contain a semicolon where one is necessary. This sentence combines two related independent clauses without the use of a conjunction. When this occurs, a semicolon should appear between them. A semicolon should appear after the word "sun." The correct choice is, "because of its orbit around the sun; each region's exposure to the sun's rays determines."

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