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

Example Question #102 : Correcting 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.

Much like his father he had no use for opera or classical music in general.

Possible Answers:

Much like his father, he had no use for opera or classical music in general.

Much like his father he had no use for opera or classical music in general.

Much like his father he had no use, for opera or classical music in general.

Much like his father he had no use for opera or classical music, in general.

Much like his father he had no use for opera, or classical music, in general.

Correct answer:

Much like his father, he had no use for opera or classical music in general.

Explanation:

The phrase "Much like his father" is an introductory phrase, one that conditions the meaning of the sentence but remains apart from its structure. Any introductory phrase must be set apart from the main part of the sentence by a comma. The only answer choice that appropriately uses such a comma is "Much like his father, he had no use for opera or classical music in general."

Example Question #103 : Correcting 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.

In his public corruption trial the ex-governor swore he had no knowlege of what his chief of staff was doing.

Possible Answers:

In his public corruption trial, the ex-governor swore he had no knowlege of what his chief of staff was doing.

In his public corruption trial the ex-governor, swore he had no knowlege of what his chief of staff was doing.

In his public corruption trial the ex-governor swore he had no knowlege of what his chief of staff was doing.

In his public corruption trial the ex-governor swore he had no knowlege, of what his chief of staff was doing.

In his, public corruption trial, the ex-governor swore he had no knowlege of what his chief of staff was doing.

Correct answer:

In his public corruption trial, the ex-governor swore he had no knowlege of what his chief of staff was doing.

Explanation:

The phrase "In his public corruption trial" is an introductory phrase, one that conditions the meaning of the sentence, but remains apart from its structure. All introductory phrases must be set apart from the rest of the sentence by a comma. The only answer choice that appropriately does this is "In his public corruption trial, the ex-governor swore he had no knowlege of what his chief of staff was doing."

Example Question #104 : Correcting 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.

Working on the book his whole life the author's novel sprawled to a thousand page epic when it was finally done.

Possible Answers:

Working, on the book, his whole life the author's novel 

Working on the book his whole life the author's novel 

Working on the book his whole life, the author's novel 

Working on the book, his whole life the author's novel 

Working on the book, his whole life, the author's novel 

Correct answer:

Working on the book his whole life, the author's novel 

Explanation:

"Working on the book his whole life" is an introductory phrase, one that conditions the action of the sentence, but is set apart from its main structure. All introductory phrases need to be set off by a comma from the rest of the sentence. "Working on the book his whole life, the author's novel" is the only answer choice to properly use a comma in this manner.

Example Question #105 : Correcting 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.

After the details were worked out the two sides still took five days to officially make an agreement.

Possible Answers:

After the details were worked out, the two sides still took

After the details were worked out the two sides, still took

After the details were worked out the two sides still took

After the details were working out the two sides still took

After the details were worked out the two sides still taking

Correct answer:

After the details were worked out, the two sides still took

Explanation:

The phrase "After the details were worked out" is an introductory phrase, one that conditions the meaning of the sentence, but remains apart from its basic structure. Any introductory phrase needs to be set apart from the rest of the sentence by a comma. "After the details were worked out, the two sides still took" is the only answer choice that appropriately deploys the comma.

Example Question #106 : Correcting 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.

In the Middle Ages few peasants were ever able to rise above the economic class in which they were born.

Possible Answers:

In the Middle Ages few peasants were even able

In the Middle Ages few peasants was ever able

In the Middle Ages few peasants were ever able

In the Middle Ages, few peasants were ever able

In the Middle Ages fewer peasants were ever able

Correct answer:

In the Middle Ages, few peasants were ever able

Explanation:

"In the Middle Ages" is an introductory phrase, a phrase that conditions the meaning of the sentence, but remains outside its main structure. Any introductory phrase must be set apart by a comma from the rest of the sentence. "In the Middle Ages, few peasants were ever able" is the only answer choice to appropriately use such a comma.

Example Question #107 : Correcting 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.

Unlike his brothers the little boy hated playing sports or any outdoor activities

Possible Answers:

Unlike, his brothers, the little boy hated 

Unlike his brothers, the little boy hated 

Unlike his brothers the little boy hated 

Unlike his brothers the little boy, hated 

Unlike, his brothers the little boy hated 

Correct answer:

Unlike his brothers, the little boy hated 

Explanation:

"Unlike his brothers" is an introductory phrase, one that conditions the meaning of the sentence, but remains outside its main structure. Any introductory phrase must be set apart from the rest of the sentence by a comma. "Unlike his brothers, the little boy hated" is the only answer choice that correctly uses a comma.

Example Question #108 : Correcting 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.

Under the new treaty neither side could put defensive works along their border.

Possible Answers:

Under the new treaty neither side, could put defensive works along their border.

Under the new treaty, neither side could put defensive works along their border.

Under the new treaty neither side could put defensive works along their border.

Under, the new treaty, neither side could put defensive works along their border. 

Under the new treaty neither side could put defensive works, along their border.

Correct answer:

Under the new treaty, neither side could put defensive works along their border.

Explanation:

"Under the new treaty" is an introductory phrase, one that condistions the action of the sentence, but remains outside of the sentence's main structure. An introductory phrase must always be set off by a comma. The only answer choice that correctly sets off the phrase is "Under the new treaty, neither side could put defensive works along their border."

Example Question #109 : Correcting 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.

In the previous case the exact same weapon was used.

Possible Answers:

In the previous case, the exact same weapon, was used.

In the previous case the exact same weapon was used.

In the previous case, the exact same, weapon was used.

In the previous case, the exact same weapon was used.

In the previous case the exact same weapon, was used.

Correct answer:

In the previous case, the exact same weapon was used.

Explanation:

"In the previous case" is an introductory phrase, one that conditions the meaning of the sentence, but remains separate from the main body of the sentence. Any interrupting phrase must be set off from the main portion of the sentence by a comma. The only answer choice that correctly sets off the phrase is "In the previous case, the exact same weapon was used."

Example Question #71 : Correcting Punctuation Errors: Commas For Introductory Or Interrupting Phrases

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.

Under the teacher's guidance the students' reading ability improved.

Possible Answers:

Under the teacher's guidance the students' reading ability improved.

Under the teacher's guidance the students' reading ability improved.

Under the teacher's guidance the students reading ability improved.

Under the teacher's guidance the students' reading ability improving.

Under the teacher's guidance, the students' reading ability improved.

Correct answer:

Under the teacher's guidance, the students' reading ability improved.

Explanation:

"Under the teacher's guidance" is an introductory phrase, one that conditions the action of the sentence, but is apart from its main structure. Any introductory phrase needs to be set apart fom the main body of the sentence by a comma. The only answer choice that correctly uses a comma to separate the phrase is "Under the teacher's guidance, the students' reading ability improved."

Example Question #71 : Correcting Punctuation Errors: Commas For Introductory Or Interrupting Phrases

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. 

Unlike his family the man became deeply religious as he got older.

Possible Answers:

Unlike his family, the man became deeply religious as he got older.

Unlike his family the man became deeply religious as he got older.

Unlike his family the man became deeply religious, as he got older.

Unlike his family the man became, deeply religious as he got older.

Unlike his family the man, became deeply religious as he got older.

Correct answer:

Unlike his family, the man became deeply religious as he got older.

Explanation:

"Unlike his family" is an introductory phrase, one that conditions the action of the sentence, but remains apart from its main body. Any introductory phrase must be set apart from the rest of the sentence by a comma. The only answer choice that correctly uses the comma is "Unlike his family, the man became deeply religious as he got older."

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