PSAT Writing : Identifying Quotation Mark Errors

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for PSAT Writing

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Example Questions

Example Question #1 : Identifying Punctuation Errors: Other Punctuation

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

Liam told his study group that "he needed to take a break from studying," so the group's members all decided to get sandwiches before beginning to take notes on the textbook's next chapter. No error

Possible Answers:

before beginning to take notes on

the group's members

the textbook's

No error

"he needed to take a break from studying,"

Correct answer:

"he needed to take a break from studying,"

Explanation:

This sentence incorrectly uses quotation marks to set off an indirect quotation from the sentence when no quotation marks are needed. If the sentence said "Liam told his study group, 'I need to take a break from studying,'" then quotation marks would be necessary. However, because the sentence is indirectly telling us what Liam said, and not giving us his exact words, no quotation marks are needed.  Removing the quotation marks around "he needed to take a break from studying" would correct the sentence's error.

Example Question #2 : 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.

"Help me lift this", she whispered, knowing the request would be her last if she were overheard. No error

Possible Answers:

were

this", she

No error

me

would be

Correct answer:

this", she

Explanation:

Punctuation always goes inside the quotation marks in American English.

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