Praxis Writing : Usage

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for Praxis Writing

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Example Questions

Example Question #1 : Identifying 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.

Jeremy flew to Europe last week: He said he wanted to be alone for awhile.

Possible Answers:

week...

week;

week:

week,

Correct answer:

week;

Explanation:

This sentence uses a colon where a semicolon would be more appropriate. While a colon requires an independent clause before it, when trying to separate two independent clauses it is best to use a semicolon. Also, in the example sentence, the first letter of the second clause is incorrectly capitalized. The best version of the sentence reads, "Jeremy flew to Europe last week; he said he wanted to be alone for awhile."

Example Question #2 : Praxis Core Skills: Writing

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

According to the survey; business owners who employed more than one hundred workers were twice as likely to oppose unionization as were owners of smaller businesses. No error

Possible Answers:

survey;

No error

who

were twice as likely

Correct answer:

survey;

Explanation:

The error here occurs in the punctuation of the dependent introductory clause. Since this opening clause is introductory in nature, it is considered a dependent clause. Semicolons can never punctuate dependent clauses, they must follow independent clauses. The rest of the sentence was correct as written.

Example Question #1 : Identifying Adjective And Adverb 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.

We had a terrible time at the football game. It was bitter cold.

Possible Answers:

bitterly

bittered

bittering

bitter

Correct answer:

bitterly

Explanation:

Here, the correction simply involves making the adjective "bitter" into the adverb "bitterly." This is necessary because it modifies the verb "was" rather than the noun cold.

Example Question #1 : Identifying Preposition Errors

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

Even though we started on the same day, at this point Robert is junior than me in the company. No error

Possible Answers:

day,

than

No error

started

Correct answer:

than

Explanation:

Comparative prepositions (like "senior" or "junior") are followed by "to", not than, from, or against. The error here is "than," which needs to be replaced with "to" in order for this question to be correct.

Example Question #1 : Praxis Core Skills: Writing

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

Gerald fumbled with his papers, apologized to his coworkers, and replaced them on his podium. No error

Possible Answers:

them

No error

fumbled

papers,

Correct answer:

them

Explanation:

The use of the pronoun "them" is ambiguous in this context, as "them" could technically refer either to "his papers" or to "his coworkers." "Them" should be replaced with "his papers."

Example Question #2 : Praxis Core Skills: Writing

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.

I have no clear idea who I am speaking to.

Possible Answers:

whom I am speaking to.

to what I am speaking.

to whom I am speaking.

who I am speaking to.

Correct answer:

to whom I am speaking.

Explanation:

This is a very common error of pronoun case, which leads the sentence to incorrectly conclude with a preposition. Rather than using the subjective-case "who" in saying "who I am speaking to," it is correct to use the objective-case "whom." The correct version of the sentence reads, "I have no clear idea to whom I am speaking."

Example Question #1 : Praxis Core Skills: Writing

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

Boswell described his conversations with Dr. Johnson and writes that Johnson's wit was unparalleled. No error

Possible Answers:

writes

Dr.

his conversations

No error

Correct answer:

writes

Explanation:

The error queried here was a simple error of verb tense. Since "described" is not underlined it must be correct, and since this verb is in the past tense the next verb "writes" should be in its past tense form: "written."

Example Question #2 : Praxis Core Skills: Writing

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.

If I was you, I would leave that job immediately.

Possible Answers:

was

had of been

were

will

Correct answer:

were

Explanation:

This sentence expresses a hypothetical condition that is contrary to fact ("I," by definition, am not "you"), and therefore needs to be expressed using verbs in the subjunctive mood. "If" is a usually a good indication that a sentence will be in the subjunctive mood. In the subjunctive, "were" should be used instead of "was." "If I were you, I would leave that job immediately."

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