SAT Writing : Correcting Apostrophe Errors

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for SAT Writing

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Example Questions

Example Question #187 : Correcting Punctuation 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 tank was so badly damaged that it's treads were entirely nonfunctional.

Possible Answers:

The tank was so badly damaged that its treads were entirely nonfunctional.

The tank, was so badly damaged that it's treads were entirely nonfunctional.

The tank was so badly damaged with it's treads were entirely nonfunctional.

The tank was so badly damaged with its treads were entirely nonfunctional.

The tank was so badly damaged that it's treads were entirely nonfunctional.

Correct answer:

The tank was so badly damaged that its treads were entirely nonfunctional.

Explanation:

“It’s” is a contraction meaning it is. “Its” indicates possession when using the third person pronoun it. The best way to correct the underlined portion of the sentence above is: "The tank was so badly damaged that its treads were entirely nonfunctional."

Example Question #188 : Correcting Punctuation 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 politician's vapid can't did little to appease voters: he got massacred at the polls.

Possible Answers:

The politicians vapid can't did little to appease voters,

The politician's vapid can't did little to appease voters: 

The politician's vapid cant did little to appease voters,

The politician's vapid can't did little to appease voters;

The politician's vapid cant did little to appease voters:

Correct answer:

The politician's vapid cant did little to appease voters:

Explanation:

The word "cant" means hypocritical or sanctimonious talk, which is entirely different from the word "can't," a contraction of the words "can" and "not." The former is clearly what should be in the sentence above, and as such, the best way to correct the underlined portion is: "The politicians vapid cant did little to appease voters:"

As a general tip, "can't" is in the present tense (the past is "couldn't"), while "did" is in the past tense, so even if you did not know the word "cant" you would still have been able to tell that the sentence is incorrect as written. Note also that a colon is correctly used to connect two independent clauses, where the second clarifies the first. A comma is an incorrect way to separate two independent clauses.

Example Question #189 : Correcting Punctuation 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 simple fact of the matter is, if you wont start treating people more kindly, you aren't going to have many friends.

Possible Answers:

The simple fact of the matter is, if you wont start treating people more kindly;

The simple fact of the matter is, if you won't start treating people more kindly;

The simple fact of the matter is, if you won't start treating people more kindly,

The simple fact of the matter is, if you wont start treating people more kindly, 

The simple fact of the matter is: if you wont start treating people more kindly,

Correct answer:

The simple fact of the matter is, if you won't start treating people more kindly,

Explanation:

The word "wont" means habitual or customary behavior, and obviously is entirely different from the word "won't," which is a contraction of the words "will" and "not." The latter is clearly what should be in the sentence above, and as such, the best way to correct the underlined portion is: "The simple fact of the matter is, if you won't start treating people more kindly,"

It sounds like the addressee here is "wont" to treat people unkindly.

Example Question #190 : Correcting Punctuation 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.

Its extraordinarily difficult to make a living as a stage actor, but I feel it's entirely worthwhile to try.

Possible Answers:

Its extraordinarily difficult to make a living as a stage actor; but I feel it's entirely worthwhile to try.

Its extraordinarily difficult to make a living as a stage actor, but I feel its entirely worthwhile to try.

It's extraordinarily difficult to make a living as a stage actor, but I feel it's entirely worthwhile to try.

Its extraordinary difficult to make a living as a stage actor, but I feel it's entirely worthwhile to try.

Its extraordinarily difficult to make a living as a stage actor, but I feel it's entirely worthwhile to try.

Correct answer:

It's extraordinarily difficult to make a living as a stage actor, but I feel it's entirely worthwhile to try.

Explanation:

“It’s” is a contraction meaning it is. “Its” indicates possession when using the third person pronoun it. The best way to correct the underlined portion of the sentence above is: "It's extraordinarily difficult to make a living as a stage actor, but I feel it's entirely worthwhile to try."

Example Question #61 : 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 robot is badly damaged; its not fully functioning as a result of the horrible crash.

Possible Answers:

The robot is badly damaged; its' not fully functioning as a result of the horrible crash.

The robot is badly damaged; its not fully functioning as a result of the horrible crash.

The robot is badly damaged; he is not fully functioning as a result of the horrible crash.

The robot is badly damaged; it's not fully functioning as a result of the horrible crash.

The robot is badly damaged, its not fully functioning as a result of the horrible crash.

Correct answer:

The robot is badly damaged; it's not fully functioning as a result of the horrible crash.

Explanation:

“It’s” is a contraction meaning it is. “Its” indicates possession when using the third person pronoun it. The best way to correct the underlined portion of the sentence above is: "The robot is badly damaged; it's not fully functioning as a result of the horrible crash."

Note that a semicolon correctly separates the two independent clauses making up this compound sentence.

Example Question #62 : 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 flocks leader was buffeted by the headwind, but being a rather strong goose he kept his flock on track.

Possible Answers:

The flocks's leader was buffeted by the headwind, but being a rather strong goose he kept his flock on track.

The flock's leader was buffeted by the headwind, but being a rather strong goose he kept his flock on track.

The flocks leader was buffeted by the headwind; but being a rather strong goose he kept his flock on track.

The flocks leader was buffeted by the headwind, but being a rather strong goose he kept his flock on track.

The flock's leader was buffeted by the headwind; but being a rather strong goose he kept his flock on track.

Correct answer:

The flock's leader was buffeted by the headwind, but being a rather strong goose he kept his flock on track.

Explanation:

Use an apostrophe to indicate possession, if the noun ends in "s" then the apostrophe should follow the "s." If the noun does not end in "s" then add an "s" after the apostrophe. The best way to correct the error above is: "The flock's leader was buffeted by the headwind, but being a rather strong goose he kept his flock on track."

Example Question #63 : 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.

All four teams captains were fined for misconduct: all four teams had behaved badly, and the tournament had been a huge debacle.

Possible Answers:

All four teams captains were fined for misconduct: while all four teams had behaved badly, and the tournament had been a huge debacle. 

All four teams captains were fined for misconduct: all four teams had behaved badly, and the tournament had been a huge debacle.

All four teams' captains were fined for misconduct: all four teams had behaved badly, and the tournament had been a huge debacle.

All four teams captains were fined for misconduct: and all four team's had behaved badly, and the tournament had been a huge debacle.

All four team's captains were fined for misconduct: all four teams had behaved badly, and the tournament had been a huge debacle.

Correct answer:

All four teams' captains were fined for misconduct: all four teams had behaved badly, and the tournament had been a huge debacle.

Explanation:

Apostrophes can be used to indicate possession or to form a contraction. If a noun ends in "s" and an apostrophe is used to indicate position then the apostrophe should follow the "s." If the noun does not end in "s" then add an "s" after the apostrophe. The best way to correct the underlined portion above is: "All four teams' captains were fined for misconduct: all four teams had behaved badly, and the tournament had been a huge debacle."

 

Example Question #64 : 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.

Its extraordinarily difficult to make a living as a painter: I have great respect for those who try.

Possible Answers:

Its extraordinarily difficult to make a living as a painter; I have great respect for those who try.

Its extraordinarily difficult to make a living as a painter, I have great respect for those who try.

Its' extraordinarily difficult to make a living as a painter: I have great respect for those who try.

Its extraordinarily difficult to make a living as a painter: I have great respect for those who try.

It's extraordinarily difficult to make a living as a painter: I have great respect for those who try.

Correct answer:

It's extraordinarily difficult to make a living as a painter: I have great respect for those who try.

Explanation:

“It’s” is a contraction of it is. “Its” indicates possession when using the third person pronoun it. Since the word is clearly functioning as a verb in the example sentence, the best way to correct the underlined portion of the sentence above is, "It's extraordinarily difficult to make a living as a painter: I have great respect for those who try."

Example Question #65 : 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 jury would not render it's verdict, and the judge was furious with each member of it.

Possible Answers:

The jury would not render their verdict, and the judge was furious with each member of it.

The jury would not render it's verdict, so the judge was furious with each member of it.

The jury would not render it's verdict, and the judge was furious with each member of it.

The jury would not render its verdict, and the judge was furious with each member of it.

The jury would not render it's verdict, but the judge was furious with each member of it.

Correct answer:

The jury would not render its verdict, and the judge was furious with each member of it.

Explanation:

“It’s” is a contraction of it is. “Its” indicates possession when using the third person pronoun it. Remember that although a jury is made up of many people (usually 12), it acts grammatically as a singular noun (the jury). The best way to correct the underlined portion of the sentence above is, "The jury would not render its verdict, and the judge was furious with each member of it."

Example Question #66 : 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 geeses' flight paths were disrupted by the massive storm.

Possible Answers:

The geeses' flight paths was disrupted by the massive storm.

The geese's flight path were disrupted by the massive storm.

The geese's flight paths were disrupted by the massive storm.

The geeses' flight paths were disrupted by the massive storm.

The geeses' flight path were disrupted by the massive storm.

Correct answer:

The geese's flight paths were disrupted by the massive storm.

Explanation:

One should use an apostrophe to indicate possession, if the noun ends in "s" then the apostrophe should follow the "s." If the noun does not end in "s" then add an "s" after the apostrophe. The plural of "goose" is "geese," not "geeses", so the best way to correct the example sentence  is, "The geese's flight paths were disrupted by the massive storm."

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