PSAT Writing : Correcting Punctuation Errors: Commas

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for PSAT Writing

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Example Questions

Example Question #51 : 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.

The commanding officer a long-time veteran of the police department, had no tolerance for his officers acting out.

Possible Answers:

The commanding officer a long-time veteran, of the police department, had

The commanding officer, a long-time veteran of the police department, had

The commanding officer a long-time veteran of the police department had

The commanding officer, a long-time veteran of the police department had

The commanding officer a long-time veteran of the police department, had

Correct answer:

The commanding officer, a long-time veteran of the police department, had

Explanation:

The phrase "a long-time veteran of the police department" is an interrupting phrase, one that provides extra meaning to the sentence while remaining apart from its structure. All interrupting phrases need to be set apart from the rest of the sentence by commas. "The commanding officer, a long-time veteran of the police department, had" is the only answer choice to appropriately separate out the phrase.

Example Question #21 : 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.

The new executive changing his management style, began to hold regular meetings with his staff.

Possible Answers:

The new executive changing his management style, began

The new executive, changing his management style, began

The new executive changing his management style began

The new executive changing, his management style, began

The new executive, changing his management style began

Correct answer:

The new executive, changing his management style, began

Explanation:

The phrase "changing his management style" is an interrupting phrase, one that provides extra information to the sentence, but sits outside the sentence's main structure. All interrupting phrases must be set apart by commas from the rest of the sentence. "The new executive, changing his management style, began" is the only answer choice that properly does this.

Example Question #52 : 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.

The matchmaker having never failed to get a date for one of her clients worked desperately before her deadline from her new client.

Possible Answers:

The matchmaker, having never failed to get a date for one of her clients, worked desperately before her deadline from her new client.

The matchmaker, having never failed, to get a date for one of her clients worked desperately before her deadline from her new client.

The matchmaker, having never failed to get a date for one of her clients worked desperately before her deadline from her new client.

The matchmaker having never failed to get a date for one of her clients worked desperately before her deadline from her new client.

The matchmaker having never failed to get a date for one of her clients, worked desperately before her deadline from her new client.

Correct answer:

The matchmaker, having never failed to get a date for one of her clients, worked desperately before her deadline from her new client.

Explanation:

The phrase "having never failed to get a date for one of her clients" is an extremely long interrupting phrase, a phrase that adds information to a sentence but remains outside the main structure of the sentence. All interrupting phrases must be set apart from the rest of the sentence by commas. The only answer choice that appropriately does this is "The matchmaker, having never failed to get a date for one of her clients, worked desperately before her deadline from her new client."

Example Question #22 : 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.

The event, already a large local story, was further fueled by national news coverage.

Possible Answers:

The event, already a large local story, was further fueled for national news coverage.

The event, already a large local story, was further fueled by national news coverage.

The event, already a large local story was further fueled by nationally news coverage.

The event, already a large local story was further fueled by national news coverage.

The event already a large local story was further fueled by national news coverage.

Correct answer:

The event, already a large local story, was further fueled by national news coverage.

Explanation:

The phrase "already a large local story" is an interrupting phrase, one that provides extra information to the sentence but remains apart from its main structure. Every interrupting phrase needs to be set apart from the rest of the sentence by commas. The only answer choice that properly does this is "The event, already a large local story, was further fueled by national news coverage."

Example Question #52 : Correcting Punctuation Errors

The grandfather, an aging war veteran held court over his entire extended family.

Possible Answers:

The grandfather an aging war veteran held court

The grandfather, an aging war veteran, held court

The grandfather, an aging war veteran held court,

The grandfather, an aging war veteran held court

The grandfather an aging war veteran, held court

Correct answer:

The grandfather, an aging war veteran, held court

Explanation:

The phrase "an aging war veteran" is an interrupting phrase, one that provides extra information to a sentence, while sitting outside the sentence's main structure. All interrupting phrases must be set apart from the rest of the sentence by commas. "The grandfather, an aging war veteran, held court" is the only answer choice that appropriately uses commas around the phrase.

Example Question #41 : 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.

The young girl, living in foster care for years had a tough life throughout her schooling.

Possible Answers:

The young girl, living in foster care for years had a tough life, throughout her schooling.

The young girl, living in foster care for years had a tough life throughout her schooling.

The young girl living in foster care for years, had a tough life throughout her schooling.

The young girl living in foster care for years had a tough life throughout her schooling.

The young girl, living in foster care for years, had a tough life throughout her schooling.

Correct answer:

The young girl, living in foster care for years, had a tough life throughout her schooling.

Explanation:

The phrase "living in foster care for years" is an interrupting phrase, one that adds extra information to the sentence, but is outside its main structure. An interrupting phrase must always be set apart from the sentence by commas. The only answer choice that appropriately sets off the interrupting phrase is "The young girl, living in foster care for years, had a tough life throughout her schooling."

Example Question #24 : 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.

The rabbit a prey animal is always on alert for danger from the outside world.

Possible Answers:

The rabbit, a prey animal is always on alert for danger from the outside world.

The rabbit a prey animal, is always on alert for danger from the outside world.

The rabbit a prey animal is always on alert for danger from the outside world.

The rabbit a prey animal is always on alert, for danger from the outside world.

The rabbit, a prey animal, is always on alert for danger from the outside world.

Correct answer:

The rabbit, a prey animal, is always on alert for danger from the outside world.

Explanation:

The phrase "a prey animal" is an interrupting phrase, one that adds meaning to the sentence but sits outside its basic structure. Any interrupting phrase must be set apart from the rest of the sentence by commas. The only answer choice that correctly does this is "The rabbit, a prey animal, is always on alert for danger from the outside world."

Example Question #53 : 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.

The new coach a long time assistant at the school was long considered the front runner for the job.

Possible Answers:

The new coach a long time assistant at the school was long considered the front runner for the job.

The new coach, a long time assistant at the school was long considered, the front runner for the job.

The new coach, a long time assistant at the school, was long considered the front runner for the job.

The new coach a long time assistant at the school, was long considered the front runner for the job.

The new coach, a long time assistant at the school was long considered the front runner for the job.

Correct answer:

The new coach, a long time assistant at the school, was long considered the front runner for the job.

Explanation:

The phrase "a long time assistant at the school" is an interrupting phrase, one that adds information to the sentence while standing outside its main structure. Any interrupting phrase must be set apart from the rest of the sentence by commas. The only answer choice that appropriately sets off the interrupting phrase is "The new coach, a long time assistant at the school, was long considered the front runner for the job."

Example Question #25 : 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.

The clock, broken for years still wound up easily, but never kept proper time.

Possible Answers:

The clock broken for years, still wound up easily 

The clock, broken for years, still wound up easily

The clock broken for years still wound up easily

The clock, broken for years still wound, up easily

The clock, broken for years still wound up easily

Correct answer:

The clock, broken for years, still wound up easily

Explanation:

The phrase "broken for years" is an interrupting phrase, one that adds meaning to the sentence but remains outside its main structure. Any interrupting phrase needs to be set apart from the rest of the sentence by commas. "The clock, broken for years, still wound up easily" is the only answer choice that appropriately sets off the interrupting phrase.

Example Question #1411 : Psat Writing Skills

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 entire staff, long time veterans of the company was surprised by their CEO's sudden resignation.

Possible Answers:

The entire staff, long time veterans of the company was surprised by their CEO's sudden resignation.

The entire staff, long time veterans of the company, was surprised by their CEO's sudden resignation.

The entire staff, long time veterans of the company were surprised by their CEO's sudden resignation.

The entire staff long time veterans of the company was surprised by their CEO's sudden resignation.

The entire staff, long time veterans of the company, were surprised by their CEO's sudden resignation.

Correct answer:

The entire staff, long time veterans of the company, was surprised by their CEO's sudden resignation.

Explanation:

The phrase "long time veterans of the company" is an interrupting phrase, one that adds information to the sentence but remains outside of its main structure. An interrupting phrase must be set apart from the rest of the sentence by commas. The only answer choice that correctly sets apart the phrase is "The entire staff, long time veterans of the company, was surprised by their CEO's sudden resignation.

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