PSAT Writing : Correcting Punctuation Errors: Commas

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for PSAT Writing

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Example Questions

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Example Question #311 : 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. One of the answer choices reproduces the underlined portion as it is written in the sentence.

The rise of violence throughout the decade has been the subject of speculation, by scholars.

Possible Answers:

speculation by, scholars.

speculation by scholars.

speculation by scholar's.

speculation, of scholars.

speculation, by scholars.

Correct answer:

speculation by scholars.

Explanation:

The phrase underlined at the end of the sentence is one whole and complete phrase. Thus, the use of a comma anywhere in the phrase is grammatically incorrect. "Speculation by scholars" is the correct answer choice.

Example Question #342 : Comma 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 the intervening years, the old man rarely talked to his children as the pain was too much for him to bear.

Possible Answers:

rarely talked to his children, as the pain was too much for him to bear.

rarely talked to his children, as the pain too much for him to bear.

rarely talking to his children as pain was bearing too much for him.

rarely talking to his children, as the pain was too much for him to bear.

rarely talked to his children as the pain was too much for him to bear.

Correct answer:

rarely talked to his children, as the pain was too much for him to bear.

Explanation:

The underlined portion of the sentence contains a small punctuation problem. Specifically, the phrase "as the pain was too much to bear," is a phrase that explains the sentence, but is not necessary to its construction. All such phrases need a comma to separate them from the body of the sentence. "Rarely talked to his children as the pain was too much for him to bear," is the best answer choice.

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