PSAT Writing : Identifying Sentence Errors

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for PSAT Writing

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Example Questions

Example Question #61 : Identifying Sentence Errors

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

Henry was a fiercely stubborn child; he would carry out incredibly successful hunger strikes if he was not served macaroni and cheese for dinnerNo error

Possible Answers:

child; he

No error

for dinner

incredibly successful

was 

Correct answer:

No error

Explanation:

This sentence is correct as written. The semi-colon between “child” and “he” is grammatical, “incredibly successful” uses adverbs and adjectives to modify the appropriate words, “was” is in the correct tense, and “for dinner” is an acceptable prepositional phrase.

Example Question #53 : Identifying No Error Questions

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

Melissa and Tom dream of becoming owners of a gourmet ice cream shop when they grow up, and they are already creating their flavor list. No error

Possible Answers:

their

owners

when they grow up

No error

dream of

Correct answer:

No error

Explanation:

This sentence is correct as written. “Dream of” is a conventional combination of verb and preposition, “owners” is a noun that agrees in number with the subject, “when they grow up” is an acceptable adverbial phrase, and “their” is a pronoun that agrees with its antecedent “Melissa and Tom.”

Example Question #61 : Identifying Sentence Errors

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

One of the first abstract impressionists, Jackson Pollock was concerned with neither the praise of his supporters nor the criticism of his detractorsNo error

Possible Answers:

No error

concerned with

One of the first abstract impressionists

nor

criticism of his detractors

Correct answer:

No error

Explanation:

This sentence contains no errors. The modifying phrase at the beginning of the sentence, "One of the first abstract impressionists," correctly modifies the subject right after it, "Jackson Pollock." The answer choice "concerned with" is correctly phrased. The answer choice "nor" is fine; it goes with the "neither" to form a correct "neither . . . nor" construction. Finally, the answer choice "criticism of his detractors" is fine because it preserves the parallel structure introduced earlier in the sentence by the phrase "praise of his supporters."

Example Question #74 : Psat Writing Skills

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

Thomas invited us over for a home-cooked meal at his place, but I doubt he could so much as scramble an egg. No error

Possible Answers:

No error

his

but

doubt

invited us over for

Correct answer:

No error

Explanation:

This sentence is correct as written. “Invited us over for” is a conventional use of prepositions, “his” is a pronoun that agrees with “Thomas,” “but” is the appropriate conjunction, and “doubt” is a verb in the correct tense.

Example Question #62 : Identifying Sentence 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 odd smell and the suspicious noise it made when I turned left too quickly, the old car served its basic function of traveling down the road. No error

Possible Answers:

and the suspicious noise 

served

Despite

when

No error

Correct answer:

No error

Explanation:

This sentence is correct as written! “Despite” works with the logic of the sentence, “and the suspicious noise” is grammatically parallel to “odd smell,” “when” introduces the dependent clause appropriately, and “served” is in the correct tense.

Example Question #61 : Identifying Sentence Errors

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

Performers are starting to move their art outdoors; they seek to engage a new audience by bringing theater to the sidewalks and public parks. No error

Possible Answers:

and

are starting

No error

by bringing

they 

Correct answer:

No error

Explanation:

This sentence is correct as written! The progressive tense works for “are starting,” “they” agrees with “performers,” “by bringing” is a correctly phrased transition, and “and” is the logical conjunction.

Example Question #75 : Psat Writing Skills

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

The agency’s response was swift and thorough: all agents were immediately removed from the field and told not to disclose any details of the incident. No error

Possible Answers:

told

No error

swift and thorough

immediately

agency's response

Correct answer:

No error

Explanation:

This sentence is correct as written! “Agency’s response” is a correctly-formed possessive, “swift and thorough” are two adjectives coordinated correctly, “immediately” is an adverb that modifies a verb, and “told” is a verb in the correct tense.

Example Question #81 : Psat Writing Skills

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

I found it bothersome that the saleswoman said the cheetah-print ottoman did not come in purple, especially since we special ordered one to match our living room’s color palette. No error

Possible Answers:

especially

one

No error

bothersome

said

Correct answer:

No error

Explanation:

This sentence is correct as written. “Bothersome” is an adjective that describes a pronoun, “said” is a verb in the correct tense, “especially” is an adverb that is used appropriately, and “one” is a pronoun that agrees with its antecedent.

Example Question #62 : Identifying Sentence Errors

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

Stooping down to tie her shoe, Margaret saw a tiny note scribbled onto the wall only a few inches above the floorNo error

Possible Answers:

scribbled

scribbled

Stooping down

No error

above the floor

saw

Stooping down

above the floor

saw

Correct answer:

No error

Explanation:

This sentence is correct as written. “Stooping down” uses a conventional combination of verb and preposition, “saw” is in the correct tense, “scribbled” is also in the correct tense, and “above the floor” is an appropriate prepositional phrase.

Example Question #883 : Identifying Sentence 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 her insistence that Halloween was her favorite holiday, Melanie could never remember whether it was the 30th or 31stNo error

Possible Answers:

her

was

could never remember

it

No error

Correct answer:

No error

Explanation:

This sentence is correct as written. “Her” is a pronoun that agrees with “Melanie,” “was” is a verb in the correct tense, “could never remember” is an appropriate combination of verb and adverb, and “it” is a pronoun that agrees with “Halloween.”

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