PSAT Writing : Correcting Punctuation Errors: Commas

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for PSAT Writing

varsity tutors app store varsity tutors android store

Example Questions

Example Question #101 : Correcting Punctuation Errors: Commas

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.

Dogs cats and small animals have always been popular pets for small children.

Possible Answers:

Dogs cats, and small animals have always been

Dogs cats and small animals have always been

Dogs cats, small animals have always been

Dogs, cats, and small animals have always been

Dogs, cats, and small animals, have always been

Correct answer:

Dogs, cats, and small animals have always been

Explanation:

The three-part list that is the subject of this sentence does not employ appropriate demarcation between its separate parts. Lists like the one in the sentence need to be separated out by commas to show their individual parts. "Dogs, cats, and small animals have always been" is the only answer choice that appropriately deploys commas in the list.

Example Question #1 : Correcting Punctuation Errors: Commas In Lists

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.

The school offered programs in engineering computer science and architecture.

Possible Answers:

The school offered programs, in engineering computer science and architecture.

The school offered programs in engineering, computer science, and architecture.

The school offered programs in: engineering computer science and architecture.

The school offered programs in engineering computer science and architecture.

The school offered programs in engineering computer science, and architecture.

Correct answer:

The school offered programs in engineering, computer science, and architecture.

Explanation:

The list of items that ends the sentence as its object is not properly separated out by commas. Any list needs to have its elements clearly delineated, and of all the answer choices, the only one that accomplishes this is "The school offered programs in engineering, computer science, and architecture."

Example Question #21 : Correcting Punctuation Errors

The dog the cat and the rabbit all got along quite well with each other.

Possible Answers:

The dog cat and rabbit

The dog the cat and the rabbit

The dog, the cat, and the rabbit

Dog cat and rabbit

The dog, the cat, the rabbit

Correct answer:

The dog, the cat, and the rabbit

Explanation:

The underlined portion lists three different things, "the dog," "the cat," and "the rabbit." Each of these needs to be appropriately separated to clarify they are all different. "The dog, the cat, and the rabbit," is the correct answer choice.

Example Question #11 : Correcting Punctuation Errors: Commas In Lists

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 repeats the underlined portion as it is written.

The field rations were evenly distributed between the sailors marines and soldiers.

Possible Answers:

sailors, marines, soldiers.

sailors marines and soldiers.

sailors, marines, and soldiers.

sailors marines, and soldiers.

sailors marines soldiers.

Correct answer:

sailors, marines, and soldiers.

Explanation:

The underlined words make up a list. Such lists need to have each element separated for clarity and understanding. "Sailors, marines, and soldiers" is the best choice among the answers.

Example Question #12 : Correcting Punctuation Errors: Commas

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.

Many nineteenth century texts on military strategy focused extensively on supplies troops and ammunition.

Possible Answers:

on supplies, troops, and ammunition.

on supplies, troops, and, ammunition.

on supplies troops, and ammunition.

on supplies troops and ammunition.

on: supplies troops and ammunition.

Correct answer:

on supplies, troops, and ammunition.

Explanation:

The underlined phrase contains a series, or a list of grouped items. All series in a sentence must be divided by each other for linguistic and logical clarity. The best way to do this is with commas, making "on supplies, troops, and ammunition," the correct answer.

Example Question #311 : 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.

The typical advice to the screenwiter is to keep an audience engaged alert and interested.

Possible Answers:

to keep an audience engaged alerted and interested.

to keep an audience engaged alert but interested.

to keep an audience engaged alert, and interested.

to keep an audience engaged, alert, and interested.

to keep an audience engaged alert and interested.

Correct answer:

to keep an audience engaged, alert, and interested.

Explanation:

The list that finishes the sentence needs to have its three parts, "engaged" and "alert" and "interested," separated by commas. There are no other corrections that need to happen in the sentence. This makes the correct answer choice "to keep an audience engaged, alert, and interested."

Example Question #312 : 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.

The key to having a succesful road trip is bringing plenty of medicine snacks and water.

Possible Answers:

plenty medicine snacks and water.

plenty, of medicine snacks and water.

plenty of medicine, snacks, and water.

plenty of medicine snacks and water.

plenty of medicine snacks, and water.

Correct answer:

plenty of medicine, snacks, and water.

Explanation:

A list like the one presented in the underlined portion of the sentence needs to be separated somehow, usually by commas. The only choice that appropriately separates the three items is "plenty of medicine, snacks, and water," which is the correct answer.

Example Question #21 : 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. One of the answer choices reproduces the underlined portion as it is written in the sentence.

Much of the time, only the most discerning animal trainer cannot tell the difference between thoroughbreds Arabians and saddlebred horses.

Possible Answers:

between thoroughbreds Arabians, and saddlebred horses.

between thoroughbreds Arabians and saddlebred, horses.

between, thoroughbreds, Arabians and saddlebred horses.

between thoroughbreds, Arabians, and saddlebred horses.

between thoroughbreds Arabians and saddlebred horses.

Correct answer:

between thoroughbreds, Arabians, and saddlebred horses.

Explanation:

The three items in the list of the underlined portion of the sentence, "thoroughbreds" and "Arabians" and "saddlebred horses," are lumped together in one large pile. All such lists need to be separated by commas, to show the separate items clearly. The only answer choice that correctly does this is "between thoroughbreds, Arabians, and saddlebred horses."

Example Question #801 : Act English

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 writer was considered washed up, with a style that was outdated stale and unsatisfying.

Possible Answers:

with a style that was outdated stale and unsatisfying.

with a style, that was outdated stale and unsatisfying.

with a style that was outdated stale, and unsatisfying.

with a style that was outdated, stale, and, unsatisfying.

with a style that was outdated, stale, and unsatisfying.

Correct answer:

with a style that was outdated, stale, and unsatisfying.

Explanation:

A list like the one that makes up the object of the underlined phrase must be have its items appropriately separated by commas, which the sentence does not do as it is written. The only answer choice that correctly separates the three items by using commas is "with a style that was outdated, stale, and unsatisfying."

Example Question #14 : Correcting Punctuation Errors: Commas In Lists

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 study of popular culture involves analyzing many different phenomena, including television advertising, and social media.

Possible Answers:

includes television advertising and social media.

including television advertising, and social media.

includes television, advertising, and social media.

including, television advertising, and social media.

including television, advertising, and social media.

Correct answer:

including television, advertising, and social media.

Explanation:

The underlined portion of the sentence includes a list of three items. All such lists must have the items in them separated in some fashion; therefore, the correct answer is "including television, advertising, and social media."

Learning Tools by Varsity Tutors