PSAT Writing : Correcting Ambiguity and Redundancy Errors

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for PSAT Writing

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Example Questions

Example Question #202 : 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.

No one understands Jeremy; he claims to be a vegetarian, but yet he sometimes eats chicken.

Possible Answers:

he claims he is a vegetarian, but yet he sometimes eats chicken.

he claims to be a vegetarian, but yet he sometimes eats chicken. 

he claims to be a vegetarian, yet he sometimes eats chicken.

he claims being a vegetarian yet sometimes eats chicken.

he claims to be a vegetarian but yet he sometimes eats chicken.

Correct answer:

he claims to be a vegetarian, yet he sometimes eats chicken.

Explanation:

“But yet” is redundant. “But” and “yet” mean the same thing, so one must choose one or the other. The comma, though, is mandatory. 

Example Question #203 : 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.

Petting a friendly animal, such as like a pet dog or cat, has been shown to reduce blood pressure.

Possible Answers:

Petting a friendly animal, such as like a pet dog or cat,

Petting an animal that is friendly such as like a pet dog or cat

Petting a friendly animal, such as like a pet dog or perhaps a cat,

Petting a friendly animal, such as a pet dog or cat,

To pet a friendly animal, such as like a pet dog or cat,

Correct answer:

Petting a friendly animal, such as a pet dog or cat,

Explanation:

As written, the sentence uses both "such as" and "like" to introduce "a pet dog or cat" as representing examples of "a friendly animal." Using both "such as" and "like" in this context is redundant, so omitting one of these fixes the sentence's error. This means that the correct answer is "Petting a friendly animal, such as a pet dog or cat, has been shown to reduce blood pressure."

Example Question #204 : 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.

Sometimes, we think we know too little, other times, we think we know too much.

Possible Answers:

Sometimes, we think we know too little other times we think we know too much.

Sometimes, we think we know too; little other times we think we know too much.

Sometimes, we think we know too little other times we think we know too much.

Sometimes, we think we know too little; other times, we think we know too much.

Sometimes, we think we know too little somtimes we think we know too much.

Correct answer:

Sometimes, we think we know too little; other times, we think we know too much.

Explanation:

The use of a semicolon is necessary when separating two closely connected indepedent clauses. 

Example Question #205 : 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.

Each year, fewer and fewer people contract disease due to increased awareness of its specific symptoms.

Possible Answers:

fewer people contract disease

fewer and fewer people contract the disease

fewer and fewer people contract disease

fewer and fewer persons contract disease

fewer and fewer people are contracting disease

Correct answer:

fewer and fewer people contract the disease

Explanation:

The use of the phrase "its specific symptoms" indicates that the sentence is talking about one specific disease rather than the generalized "disease" without an article. Adding the definite article "the" before "disease" is the best way to clear up this confusion, making "fewer and fewer people contract the disease" the correct answer choice.

Example Question #206 : Correcting Other Phrase, Clause, And Sentence Errors

Select the best answer from the choices given.

The law that was recently passed allows the officer to determine about which actions qualify as assault.

Possible Answers:

about which actions qualify as assault.

for those actions that qualify as assault

regarding the qualifications of actions as assault.

whether assault qualifies as certain actions or not

which actions qualify as assault.

Correct answer:

which actions qualify as assault.

Explanation:

The sentence is most effective if the needless preposition is eliminated, ultimately leaving "which actions qualify as assault" as the best answer.

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

Select the best answer from the choices given.

Many detectives were dispatched to Nevada for the purpose of investigating a lead that could provide a break in the case.

Possible Answers:

for the investigation of

to investigate after

to investigate on

to investigate

for the purpose of investigating

Correct answer:

to investigate

Explanation:

"For the purpose of investigating" is wordy and could be shortened. "To investigate" is more concise and conveys the same idea.

Example Question #1221 : Psat Writing Skills

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 the experiment was designed to advance students' knowledge of feline anatomy, Frank felt although the act of dissecting a cat was barbaric.

Possible Answers:

Frank felt that the act of dissecting a cat was barbaric.

Frank felt that the acting of dissecting a cat was barbaric.

Frank felt that the act of dissecting a cats was barbaric.

Frank felt although the act of dissecting a cat was barbaric.

Frank felt that the act of dissecting a cat was barbarically.

Correct answer:

Frank felt that the act of dissecting a cat was barbaric.

Explanation:

Incorrect options:

"Frank felt that the act of dissecting a cat was barbarically.": "Barbarically" is an adverb, but since the choice should be an adjective modifying the noun “act," this is incorrect. "Barbaric" is the appropriate adjective form.

"Frank felt that the acting of dissecting a cat was barbaric.": “Act” here is a noun, so it should not be modified into a gerund. This is incorrect.

"Frank felt although the act of dissecting a cat was barbaric.": The usage of the conjunction “although” makes this an unnecessary and incorrect choice.

"Frank felt that the act of dissecting a cats was barbaric.": “A cats” does not agree because "a" is a singular article and "cats" is a plural noun, so this is incorrect. If this option had been “cats” or “a cat,” it would be acceptable. 

"Frank felt that the act of dissecting a cat was barbaric" is left as the correct option.

Example Question #209 : 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 most shocking element of the film was its frank depiction of Medieval Europe violence.

Possible Answers:

the violence that took place in Medieval Europe.

the violence taking place for Medieval Europe.

Medieval Europe violence.

the violence that is taking place in Medieval Europe.

the violence which took part in Medieval Europe.

Correct answer:

the violence that took place in Medieval Europe.

Explanation:

The underlined portion of the sentence is oddly worded and unwieldy. The sentence can be greatly improved by simplifying the word choice and making the meaning more clear. The best answer choice is "the violence that took place in Medieval Europe."

Example Question #210 : 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.

Having been that which was the one that lost, the driver congratulated his opponent.

Possible Answers:

Having been that which was the one that lost,

Having been that which was that lost,

Having lost,

Having been one that lost,

Being that which was the one that lost,

Correct answer:

Having lost,

Explanation:

The underlined phrase is extremely wordy and overly confusing in its structure. The phrase needs to be simplified while keeping its intended meaning and being grammatically correct. "Having lost," is the only answer choice that does this.

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.

Unlike that which was considered true in the ideas of the past, the new theory revolutionized scientific thinking.

Possible Answers:

Unlike that which was considered truth in ideas of the past,

Unlike that which was considered true in the ideas of the past,

Unlike that which considered true in the ideas of the past,

Unlike ideas considered to be true in the past,

Unlike that which was considering true in the ideas of the past,

Correct answer:

Unlike ideas considered to be true in the past,

Explanation:

The underlined portion of the sentence is extremely wordy and needs to be simplified. The simplified version of the sentence, though, needs to keep the same meaning of the original sentence and be grammatically correct. The only answer choice that does this is "Unlike ideas considered to be true in the past."

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