PSAT Writing : Correcting Errors Involving Commonly Confused Words

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for PSAT Writing

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Example Questions

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Example Question #241 : Correcting Usage 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.

Due to the ambivalent wording of many of the questions, the test proved to be more difficult for the students than the teacher had intended it to be.

Possible Answers:

Due to the ambivalent wording of many of the questions, the test proved to be more difficult for the students than the teacher had intended it to be.

Due to the ambiguous wording of many of the questions, the test proved to be more difficult for the students than the teacher had intended it to be.

Due to its wording, on the test's questions many students proved it to be more difficult than the teacher intended.

The teacher's wording, ambivalent on the questions, proved the test to be more difficult for many students than intended.

Due to the ambivalent wording of many of the questions, the teacher had not intended it to be as difficult for the students as the test proved to be.

Correct answer:

Due to the ambiguous wording of many of the questions, the test proved to be more difficult for the students than the teacher had intended it to be.

Explanation:

In the original sentence, the word "ambivalent," meaning having mixed feelings about, is incorrectly used in place of "ambiguous," meaning unclear or open to interpretation. The correct answer choice fixes this word confusion error.

Example Question #242 : Correcting Usage 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.

In order to scare away predators, the insect omits a loud buzzing noise when captured.

Possible Answers:

In order to scare away predators, the insects omit a loud buzzing noise when they are captured. 

In order to scare away predators, the insect emits a loud buzzing noise when captured.

In order to scare away predators, the insect omits a loud buzzing noise when captured.

In order to scare away predators, the insect omits a loud buzzing noise when it has been captured.

In order that it scares away predators, the insect omits a loud buzzing noise when captured.

Correct answer:

In order to scare away predators, the insect emits a loud buzzing noise when captured.

Explanation:

In the original sentence, the word "omits," meaning leaves out entirely, was wrongly used in place of the word "emits," meaning produces or releases. The correct answer choice fixes this word choice error.

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