PSAT Writing : Correcting Punctuation Errors: Commas for Introductory or Interrupting Phrases

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for PSAT Writing

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Example Questions

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Example Question #3929 : Sat 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. One of the answer choices reproduces the underlined portion as it is written in the sentence.

The students anxious about their grades were pestering their teacher about the test.

Possible Answers:

The students anxious about their grades, were

The students, anxious about their grades were

The students' anxious about their grades were

The students anxious about their grades were

The students, anxious about their grades, were

Correct answer:

The students, anxious about their grades, were

Explanation:

The phrase "anxious about their grades" is an interrupting phrase, or one that provides extra information, but is not crucial to the structure of the sentence. All interrupting phrases need to be set apart from the rest of the sentence by commas. The only answer choice that does this is "The students, anxious about their grades, were."

Example Question #867 : Act English

The athlete, a respected team leader was always the first person in the locker room before a game.

Possible Answers:

The athlete, the respected team leader was

The athlete, a respected team leader having been

The athlete, a respected team leader, was

The athlete a respected team leader was

The athlete, a respected team leader was

Correct answer:

The athlete, a respected team leader, was

Explanation:

The phrase "a respected team leader" is what is known as an interrupting phrase, or a phrase that provides information but is unnecessary for the structure of the sentence. All interrupting phrases must be set apart from the rest of the sentence by commas; therefore, the correct answer is "The athlete, a respected team leader, was."

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