PSAT Writing : Identifying Apostrophe Errors

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for PSAT Writing

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Example Questions

Example Question #1 : Identifying Apostrophe Errors

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

There was outrage in the elementary school; the childrens’ recess was shortened by a full ten minutesNo error.

Possible Answers:

school; the

There was

childrens' recess

No error.

shortened by a full ten minutes.

Correct answer:

childrens' recess

Explanation:

Because “children” is an irregularly formed plural, the normal apostrophe rules do not apply. The apostrophe goes before the "s": "There was outrage in the elementary school; the children’s recess was shortened by a full ten minutes."

Example Question #2 : Identifying Apostrophe 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 football teams near defeat instigated riots through the streets of the city. No error

Possible Answers:

through the streets

football teams

No error

near defeat

instigated

Correct answer:

football teams

Explanation:

This sentence has an apostrophe mistake. Since "football teams defeat" has a possesive in it, it needs an "'s" ending. The corrected sentence reads, "The football team's near defeat instigated riots through the streets of the city."

Example Question #76 : Identifying Punctuation 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 boy's teacher had forgotten to correct their homework; she had spent the entire night planning the new geography lesson. No error

Possible Answers:

The boy's

homework; she

planning

had forgotten

No error

Correct answer:

The boy's

Explanation:

Be watchful of possessive plural nouns: here, the correct apostrophe will be at the end of the word: "boys'" is correct because the subject is plural.

Example Question #1 : Identifying Apostrophe 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 Scottish highland cow is infamous for it’s prodigious methane production. No error

Possible Answers:

Scottish

it's prodigious

infamous for

No error

is

Correct answer:

it's prodigious

Explanation:

Here, the wrong form of “its/it’s” is used. With the apostrophe, "it's" means “it is.” The possessive form of "it" is "its." The corrected sentence reads: "The Scottish highland cow is infamous for its prodigious methane production."

Example Question #4 : Identifying Apostrophe Errors

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

Magazine advertisement’s from the 1950s frequently portrayed women cooking, cleaning, and playing with children. No error

Possible Answers:

women

1950s

No error

cleaning, and 

advertisement's

Correct answer:

advertisement's

Explanation:

The error in the sentence is “advertisement’s,” which should be written as “advertisements.” An apostrophe should be used to show possession (e.g. "Bob’s cat") or when combining two words in a contraction (ex. "it is" can be written as "it’s"). This sentence is referring to magazine advertisements from the 1950s, but the “women cooking, cleaning, and playing” in the magazine advertisements do not belong to the magazine advertisements.

Example Question #2 : Identifying Apostrophe Errors

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

Distance was never an obstacle to the Gambardella's; no matter where they were, they made sure to stay in touch with each otherNo error

Possible Answers:

they were

No error

made sure to

Gambardella's

each other

Correct answer:

Gambardella's

Explanation:

It is clear from the excerpt that "Gambardella's" is a plural surname. It is not possessive and should not contain an apostrophe. The rest of the sentence is correct as written. 

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