PSAT Writing : Correcting Ambiguity and Redundancy Errors

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for PSAT Writing

varsity tutors app store varsity tutors android store

Example Questions

Example Question #51 : Correcting Ambiguity And Redundancy 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 cellist was quite young to have been chosen as such for that kind of an honor.

Possible Answers:

have been chosen as such for that kind of an honor.

having been chosen for that kind of an honor.

be chosen for such an honor.

have chosen that kind of honor.

being chosen for such an honor.

Correct answer:

be chosen for such an honor.

Explanation:

The underlined portion of the sentence is extremely confusing, and can be improved via simplification. Importantly, the simplification needs to convey the same intended meaning the sentence has as written. The answer choice that best simplifies while also keeping the sentence's meaning and being grammatically correct is "be chosen for such an honor."

Example Question #52 : Correcting Ambiguity And Redundancy 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.

That which was the point which was most contentious was strenuously avoided during the debates.

Possible Answers:

The most contentious point

That was the point which was most contentious

The point that was most contentious

That which was the point which was most contentious

That which was most contentious

Correct answer:

The most contentious point

Explanation:

The underlined portion of the sentence is confusing, awkward, and overly wordy, meaning it can be simplified. In being simplified, though, the sentence needs to remain grammatically correct and retain its intended meaning. "The most contentious point" is the answer choice that does the best job of simplifying the sentence while retaining its intended meaning.

Example Question #53 : Correcting Ambiguity And Redundancy 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.

Before the passage of the bill, hardly anyone could have foreseen the economic reforms that currently characterize the modern financial system.

Possible Answers:

hardly anyone could have foreseen the economic reforms that characterize the modern financial system.

almost no one could have foreseen the economic reforms that currently characterize the modern financial system.

hardly anyone has foreseen the economic reforms that characterize the modern financial system.

hardly anyone could have foreseen the economic reforms that currently characterize the modern financial system.

hardly no one could have foreseen the economic reforms that characterize the modern financial system.

Correct answer:

hardly anyone could have foreseen the economic reforms that characterize the modern financial system.

Explanation:

The original text contains a redundancy error. We don't need "currently" and "modern" because each implies the other, so any answer choices containing both of these words are incorrect.

The only other answer choices that get rid of the word "currently" are "hardly anyone could have foreseen the economic reforms that characterize the modern financial system" and "hardly anyone has foreseen the economic reforms that characterize the modern financial system." Of those answer choices, however, only the one containing "could have foreseen" uses the correct tense.

Example Question #54 : Correcting Ambiguity And Redundancy Errors

The children couldn't sleep, and the reason for this is that they were too excited about their upcoming vaction.

Possible Answers:

sleep and so 

sleep because

sleep, the reason being that

sleep, and the reason for this is that

sleep, and therefore

Correct answer:

sleep because

Explanation:

The children's excitement is the cause of their unability to sleep, not the other way around, so we can eliminate the answers containing "therefore" and "so."  "Because" is the best  of the remaining answers because it is more direct and less wordy than the others.

Example Question #1211 : Psat Writing Skills

Choose the best way to rephrase the underlined portion of the sentence. One of the answer choices repeats the original phrasing.

The downpour of rain, which soaked us all, was very sudden.

Possible Answers:

We were all soaked by the downpour of rain, which was very sudden.

The downpour of rain, soaking us all, was very sudden.

The downpour of rain, which soaked us all, was very sudden.

The sudden downpour of rain, which soaked us all.

The sudden downpour of rain soaked us all.

Correct answer:

The sudden downpour of rain soaked us all.

Explanation:

The best answer is the most concise, has no interrupting phrases, and uses the active voice.

Example Question #207 : Correcting Other Phrase, Clause, And Sentence Errors

Choose the best way to rephrase the underlined portion of the sentence. One of the answer choices repeats the original phrasing.

Many food products that are marketed as “natural” or “healthy,” which lures in health-conscious consumers, but these claims are meaningless because they do not reflect any standardized guidelines.

Possible Answers:

“healthy,” and these claims lure in

“healthy,” which lures in

“healthy” lure in

“healthy,” and these claims are luring in

“healthy,” luring in

Correct answer:

“healthy” lure in

Explanation:

The best answer is the most concise and straightforward phrasing.

Example Question #191 : Correcting Other Phrase, Clause, And Sentence 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 boy having been the one who found the letter, received the reward.

Possible Answers:

The boy who found the letter

The boy having been the one who found the letter,

The boy was one who found the letter,

The boy had been the one who found the letter

The boy having found the letter

Correct answer:

The boy who found the letter

Explanation:

The underlined portion of the sentence is convoluted and awkward, which makes its meaning difficult to understand. The same idea can be found in a much simpler form. "The boy who found the letter" is the best choice among the answers.

Example Question #211 : Correcting Phrase, Clause, And Sentence 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. One of the answer choices reproduces the underlined portion as it is written in the sentence.

The museum specialized in the art which was the style which was most popular in the part of the century that was earliest.

Possible Answers:

the art which was the style most popular in the century that was earliest.

the art that was the style which was most popular in the part of the century that was earliest.

the art style which was most popular in the part of the century that was earliest.

the art style that was most popular in the early part of the century.

the art which was the style which was most popular in the earliest part of the century.

Correct answer:

the art style that was most popular in the early part of the century.

Explanation:

The underlined portion of the sentence is extremely convoluted and too wordy, meaning it desperately needs to be simplified. The goal of such a simplification, though, must be to keep the intended meaning of the sentence and be gramatically incorrect. The only answer choice that appropriately does both tasks is "the art style that was most popular in the early part of the century."

Example Question #361 : Correcting Phrase, Clause, And Sentence 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. One of the answer choices reproduces the underlined portion as it is written in the sentence.

He hung all of the data, maps, and photos of the key suspects on the wall with the purpose of being able to visualize any potential patterns.

Possible Answers:

with the purpose of being able to visualize

so being able to visualize

so he could visualize

purposefully being able to visualize

with the purpose of visualizing

Correct answer:

so he could visualize

Explanation:

The best answer is the simplest and most concise.

Example Question #201 : Correcting Other Phrase, Clause, And Sentence 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. One of the answer choices reproduces the underlined portion as it is written in the sentence.

The earliest known evidence for fermented drinks pre-dates the inventing by people of writing.

Possible Answers:

the inventing by people of writing.

people's invention of writing.

the invention by people of writing.

the inventing of writing by people.

the inventing of people by writing.

Correct answer:

people's invention of writing.

Explanation:

The underlined portion of the sentence is written in a lengthy and confusing manner. The sentence can be greatly improved by simplifying the word choices. The best answer choice is "people's invention of writing."

Learning Tools by Varsity Tutors