PSAT Writing : Correcting Punctuation Errors: Commas

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for PSAT Writing

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Example Questions

Example Question #71 : Correcting Punctuation Errors: Commas

Unquestionably the most difficult thing in professional sports is hitting a baseball.

Possible Answers:

Unquestionably, the most difficult thing,

Unquestionably, the most difficult thing

Unquestionably the most difficult, thing

Unquestionably the most difficult thing

Unquestionably the most difficult thing,

Correct answer:

Unquestionably, the most difficult thing

Explanation:

The word "unquestionably" is used in this sentence as an introductory phrase, giving a condition for the rest of the sentence (namely that the statement can not be questioned). An introductory phrase must always be set apart from the rest of the sentence by a comma. "Unquestionably, the most difficult thing" is therefore the correct answer choice.

Example Question #83 : Correcting Punctuation Errors

More than anyone else he had encountered the preacher was convinced of the rightness of his cause.

Possible Answers:

More than anyone else he had encountered the preacher was convinced of the rightness of his cause.

More than anyone else he had encountered the preacher was convinced, of the rightness of his cause.

More than anyone else he encountered the preacher was convinced of the rightness of his cause.

More than anyone else, he had encountered the preacher was convinced of the rightness of his cause.

More than anyone else he had encountered, the preacher was convinced of the rightness of his cause.

Correct answer:

More than anyone else he had encountered, the preacher was convinced of the rightness of his cause.

Explanation:

The phrase "More than anyone else he had encountered" is an introductory clause, a clause that conditions the information provided in the main body of the sentence. All such clauses need to be set off from the rest of the sentence by a comma, making "More than anyone else he had encountered, the preacher was convinced of the rightness of his cause."

Example Question #72 : Correcting Punctuation Errors: Commas

Each year thousands of animals contract the rare virus despite vaccination efforts.

Possible Answers:

Each year a thousand animals 

Each year thousands of animals' 

Each year, thousands of animals 

Every year thousands of animals 

Each year thousands of animals 

Correct answer:

Each year, thousands of animals 

Explanation:

The phrase "Each year" in the sentence is an introductory phrase, a phrase that conditions the main part of the sentence but is not a necessary part of its structure. All introductory phrases must be set apart by a comma. As this is the only issue with the sentence as it is written, the correct answer choice is "Each year, thousands of animals."

Example Question #73 : Correcting Punctuation Errors: Commas

Under great stress the president of the company was forced to take a leave of absence.

Possible Answers:

Under great stress the company's president

Under great stress, the president of the company

Under great stress the president of the company

Under great stress, the president, of the company

Under, great stress the president of the company

Correct answer:

Under great stress, the president of the company

Explanation:

The phrase "Under great stress" is an introductory phrase, one that conditions the meaning of the sentence but is separate from the main sentence structure. All such phrases need to be set apart from the rest of the sentence by a comma. The only answer choice to appropriately do this is "Under great stress, the president of the company."

Example Question #391 : Correcting Grammatical Errors

Incidentally the boy was never at the site of the crime he was accused of committing.

Possible Answers:

Incidentally, the boy was never at the site of the crime he was accused of committing.

Incidentally the boy was never at the site of the crime he was accusing to be committing.

Incidentally the boy was never at a site of crime he was accused of committing.

Incidentally the boy was never at the site of the crime he was accused of committing.

Incidentally the boy never being at the site of the crime he was accused of committing.

Correct answer:

Incidentally, the boy was never at the site of the crime he was accused of committing.

Explanation:

The issue with the sentence is that its single word introductory clause, "Incidentally," is not appropriately set off from the rest of the sentence with a comma. The only answer choice that does that is "Incidentally, the boy was never at the site of the crime he was accused of committing." All other answer choices are grammatically incorrect.

Example Question #74 : Correcting Punctuation Errors: Commas

Unlike his classmates the boy preferred staying in and reading books.

Possible Answers:

Unlike, his classmates the boy

Unlike his classmates the boy

Unlike his classmates, the boy

Unlike his classmates' the boy

Unlike, his classmates, the boy

Correct answer:

Unlike his classmates, the boy

Explanation:

The phrase "Unlike his classmates" functions as an introductory phrase, one that conditions the meaning of the rest of the sentence. All introductory phrases must be set apart from the rest of the sentence by a comma; therefore, "Unlike his classmates, the boy" is the correct answer choice.

Example Question #75 : Correcting Punctuation Errors: Commas

Keeping his promises the father took his sons to the store on the way home.

Possible Answers:

Keeping his promises the father

Keeping his promises a father

Keeping his promises that father

Keeping, his promises the father

Keeping his promises, the father

Correct answer:

Keeping his promises, the father

Explanation:

The phrase "Keeping his promises" is an introductory phrase that conditions the action of the sentence, but is not crucial to the structure of the sentence. All such phrases need to be set apart by a comma from the main portion of the sentence. The only answer choice that does this is "Keeping his promises, the father," which is the correct answer.

Example Question #76 : Correcting Punctuation Errors: Commas

Per the guidelines everyone at the meeting was allowed to speak uninterrupted for five minutes.

Possible Answers:

Per the guidelines everybody

Per the guidelines, everyone

Per, the guidelines everyone

Per the guidelines for everyone

Per the guidelines everyone

Correct answer:

Per the guidelines, everyone

Explanation:

The phrase "Per the guidelines" is an introductory phrase, a clause that conditions the meaning of the sentence, but is not part of the construction of the sentence. All such clauses must be separated by a comma from the rest of the sentence, making "Per the guidelines, everyone" the correct answer choice.

Example Question #3881 : Sat Writing

More than most singers her life story has always been read into her song lyrics by fans.

Possible Answers:

More than most singers her life story has always been read, into her song lyrics by fans.

More than most singers her life story has always been read into her song lyrics by fans.

More than most singers, her life story has always been read into her song lyrics by fans.

More, than most singers, her life story has always been read into her song lyrics by fans.

More than most singers her life story has always been read into her song lyrics, by fans.

Correct answer:

More than most singers, her life story has always been read into her song lyrics by fans.

Explanation:

The phrase "More than most singers" is an introductory phrase that explains the conditions of the sentence's body. All introductory phrases need to be set off by a comma, and no other spots in the sentence need a comma. "More than most singers her life story has always been read into her song lyrics by fans," is the correct answer choice.

Example Question #77 : Correcting Punctuation Errors: Commas

Just like his sister he was a very good student in school and a hard worker.

Possible Answers:

Just like his sister he was

Just, like his sister, he was

Just like his sister, he was

Just like his sister he were

Just like his sister he is

Correct answer:

Just like his sister, he was

Explanation:

The phrase "Just like his sister" is an introductory phrase, or a phrase that conditions the meaning of the sentence without being a crucial part of its structure. All introductory phrases need to be set apart from the rest of the sentence by a comma. Therefore, the correct answer choice is "Just like his sister, he was."

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