PSAT Writing : Identifying Ambiguity and Redundancy Errors

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for PSAT Writing

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Example Questions

Example Question #1 : Identifying Ambiguity And Redundancy Errors

Select the underlined word or phrase that needs to be changed to make the sentence correct. Some sentences contain no error at all.

Statistical evidence supports the claim that a majority of middle-aged men do not never use deodorant. No error.

Possible Answers:

the claim that

majority of 

No error.

Statistical

never use deodorant

Correct answer:

never use deodorant

Explanation:

This sentence has a double negative, which is redundant. The corrected sentence reads: "Statistical evidence supports the claim that a majority of middle-aged men do not use deodorant."

Example Question #2 : Identifying Ambiguity And Redundancy Errors

Select the underlined word or phrase that needs to be changed to make the sentence correct. Some sentences contain no error at all.

The overbearing manager demanded that his employees make hourly progress reports every sixty minutes. No error.

Possible Answers:

make

No error.

overbearing

his

every sixty minutes

Correct answer:

every sixty minutes

Explanation:

This sentence contains redundancy. As the reports are "hourly," we already know they are to be made every sixty minutes. This phrase should be omitted.

Example Question #3 : Identifying Ambiguity And Redundancy Errors

Select the underlined word or phrase that needs to be changed to make the sentence correct. Some sentences contain no error at all.

Despite the company’s supposed emphasis on customer service, I have only talked to grouchy support personnel howeverNo error

Possible Answers:

have only talked

supposed emphasis on

however

No error

the company's

Correct answer:

however

Explanation:

Since this sentence opens with a “despite,” the word “however” is redundant. They both express the same relationship between parts of the sentence. Omit “however” to fix this problem: "Despite the company’s supposed emphasis on customer service, I have only talked to grouchy support personnel."

Example Question #4 : Identifying Ambiguity And Redundancy Errors

Select the underlined word or phrase that needs to be changed to make the sentence correct. Some sentences contain no error at all.

Our physics teacher is famous for distributing papers to students while at the same time chewing his gum quite loudly. No error

Possible Answers:

physics

No error 

loudly

at the same time

distributing 

Correct answer:

at the same time

Explanation:

“At the same time” means the same thing as “while.” Therefore, it is redundant, and doesn't need to be included in the sentence.

Example Question #5 : Identifying Ambiguity And Redundancy Errors

Select the underlined word or phrase that needs to be changed to make the sentence correct. Some sentences contain no error at all.

Certain colors are associated with certain emotions in our minds, and while certain smells are associated with certain memories. No error

Possible Answers:

No error

are

and while

with

associated

Correct answer:

and while

Explanation:

Either "while" or "and" could be used as a proper transition between the two sections of the sentence, but the phrase "and while" is overly wordy and therefore incorrect. 

Example Question #6 : Identifying Ambiguity And Redundancy Errors

Select the underlined word or phrase that needs to be changed to make the sentence correct. Some sentences contain no error at all.

In addition to all the contemporary hits, the band played popular jazz tunes from the 40's as wellNo error.

Possible Answers:

all the contemporary hits

as well

played

No error.

popular jazz tunes

Correct answer:

as well

Explanation:

This sentence has both "in addition to" and "as well," which is redundant. You only need one! The corrected sentence reads: "In addition to all the contemporary hits, the band played popular jazz tunes from the 40's."

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