SAT Writing : Correcting Apostrophe Errors

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for SAT Writing

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Example Questions

Example Question #11 : Correcting Apostrophe Errors

Replace the underlined portion with the answer choice that results in a sentence that is clear, precise, and meets the requirements of standard written English. One of the answer choices reproduces the underlined portion as it is written in the sentence.

The fighter's had to be held back, as they kept attempting to hit each other before the boxing match had officially begun.

Possible Answers:

The fighter's had to have been held back

The fighters had to be held back

The fighter's had to being held back

The fighter's having to be held back

The fighter's had to be held back

Correct answer:

The fighters had to be held back

Explanation:

The construction of "fighter's" is incorrect, as it is written as a possesive form, but should only be a simple plural. The only correction that needs to be made is that "fighter's" needs to be changed to "fighters." Therefore, the correct answer choice is "The fighters had to be held back."

Example Question #12 : Correcting Apostrophe Errors

Replace the underlined portion with the answer choice that results in a sentence that is clear, precise, and meets the requirements of standard written English. One of the answer choices reproduces the underlined portion as it is written in the sentence.

Most of the students were confused by the schools new regulations about appropriate clothing.

Possible Answers:

by the schools new regulations

by the schools new regulation's

by the school's new regulations

by the school is new regulations

by, the schools new, regulations

Correct answer:

by the school's new regulations

Explanation:

The regulations beiing discussed in the sentence belong to the school, and the sentence should reflect this by making "schools" into the possessive form. Nothing else in the sentence should be changed, making "by the school's new regulations" the correct answer choice.

Example Question #13 : Correcting Apostrophe Errors

Replace the underlined portion with the answer choice that results in a sentence that is clear, precise, and meets the requirements of standard written English. One of the answer choices reproduces the underlined portion as it is written in the sentence.

Bills' pencil broke, so he was unable to finish the exam.

Possible Answers:

Bills pencils

Bills pencil

Bill' pencils

Bills' pencil

Bill's pencil

Correct answer:

Bill's pencil

Explanation:

With possession, for most singular nouns (as is the case with the proper noun, "Bill"), the correct construction is to follow the noun with an apostrophe, and then "s." Therefore, the best construction of the underlined portion is "Bill's pencil." An apostrophe after an "s," as in the case of, for instance, "the soldiers' guns," is used to signal possession by a plural noun.

Example Question #14 : Correcting Apostrophe Errors

Replace the underlined portion with the answer choice that results in a sentence that is clear, precise, and meets the requirements of standard written English. One of the answer choices reproduces the underlined portion as it is written in the sentence.

The government appears to have lost sight of it's purpose.  

Possible Answers:

lost sight of his or her purpose.

lost sight of its purpose.

lost sight of it is purpose.

lose sight of its purpose.

lost sight of its' purpose.

Correct answer:

lost sight of its purpose.

Explanation:

When intending to convey possession, and using the pronoun "it," the proper construction is "its" without an apostrophe; therefore, the best version of the underlined section above is "lost sight of its purpose." "It's" is a contraction of "it is." This is among the most common errors in English writing.

Example Question #15 : Correcting Apostrophe Errors

Replace the underlined portion with the answer choice that results in a sentence that is clear, precise, and meets the requirements of standard written English. One of the answer choices reproduces the underlined portion as it is written in the sentence.

Toms shoes were utterly soaked by the rain.

Possible Answers:

Tom's' shoes

Tom's shoes

Toms shoes

Toms' shoes

Tom's shoes'

Correct answer:

Tom's shoes

Explanation:

When indicating possession in sentences where the subject of the sentence is a third person, singular noun, you must follow that noun with an apostrophe and then an "s." The best construction of the underlined portion above is, "Tom's shoes."

Example Question #16 : Correcting Apostrophe Errors

Replace the underlined portion with the answer choice that results in a sentence that is clear, precise, and meets the requirements of standard written English. One of the answer choices reproduces the underlined portion as it is written in the sentence.

Amandas watch broke when it fell off of the conveyor belt.

Possible Answers:

Amanda her watch

Amanda's watch

Amandas watch

Amanda s watch

Amandas' watch

Correct answer:

Amanda's watch

Explanation:

When indicating possession in a sentence where the subject of the sentence is a third person, singular noun, you must follow that noun with an apostrophe and then an "s." The best construction of the underlined portion above is, "Amanda's watch." "Amandas" would be the plural noun for a group of women all named Amanda. An apostrophe following an "s" is used to denote possession for plural nouns ending in an "s."

Example Question #17 : Correcting Apostrophe Errors

Replace the underlined portion with the answer choice that results in a sentence that is clear, precise, and meets the requirements of standard written English. One of the answer choices reproduces the underlined portion as it is written in the sentence.

Jesus disciples did their best to spread his teachings.

Possible Answers:

Jesus's disciples did their best to spread his teachings.

Jesus his disciples did their best to spread his teachings.

Jesuss, disciples did their best to spread his teachings.

Jesus and disciples did their best to spread his teachings.

Jesus disciples did their best to spread his teachings.

Correct answer:

Jesus's disciples did their best to spread his teachings.

Explanation:

To indicate possession, plural nouns ending with "s" must have an apostrophe after the "s." Singular nouns ending in "s," however, must have an additional "s" after the apostrophe, in order to indicate possession. Of the options available, the best construction of the underlined portion above is, "Jesus's disciples did their best to spread his teachings."

Example Question #18 : Correcting Apostrophe Errors

Replace the underlined portion with the answer choice that results in a sentence that is clear, precise, and meets the requirements of standard written English. One of the answer choices reproduces the underlined portion as it is written in the sentence.

James's hands were hurt by the high flame of the stove.

Possible Answers:

James' hands

James's hands'

Jamess hands

James's hands

James his hands

Correct answer:

James's hands

Explanation:

To indicate possession, plural nouns ending with "s" must have an apostrophe after the "s." Singular nouns ending in "s," however, must have an additional "s" after the apostrophe, in order to indicate possession. Of the options available, the example sentence is actually the only one that is correct in its use of apostrophe.

Example Question #19 : Correcting Apostrophe Errors

Replace the underlined portion with the answer choice that results in a sentence that is clear, precise, and meets the requirements of standard written English. One of the answer choices reproduces the underlined portion as it is written in the sentence.

The dog chewed on it's bone.

Possible Answers:

it's

its'

its's

its

Correct answer:

its

Explanation:

"It's" is a conjunction that stands in for the phrase "it is." To convey possession when using the pronoun "it" simply add an s, without an apostrophe: "its."

Example Question #20 : Correcting Apostrophe Errors

Replace the underlined portion with the answer choice that results in a sentence that is clear, precise, and meets the requirements of standard written English. One of the answer choices reproduces the underlined portion as it is written in the sentence.

Chet, your my best friend.

Possible Answers:

you're

your'

your's

your

Correct answer:

you're

Explanation:

"You're" is a conjunction that stands in for the phrase "you are." "Your" is used to denote possesion for the pronoun "you." In this case, Chet IS the speaker's best friend, so the correct version reads: "Chet, you're my best friend."

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