SAT Writing : Correcting Other Punctuation Errors

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for SAT Writing

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Example Question #251 : Correcting Punctuation Errors: Other Punctuation

Replace the underlined section with the answer that best results in a sentence that is clear, precise, and meets the requirements of standard written English. 

Despite being confined to a small habitat in the United States, the black widow is more widely feared than its more-common and equally venomous cousin, the brown recluse.

Possible Answers:

Despite being confined to a small habitat in the United States, the black widow is more widely-feared than its more common and equally-venomous cousin, the brown recluse.

Despite being confined to a small habitat in the United States, the black widow is more widely feared than its more-common and equally venomous cousin: the brown recluse.

Despite being confined to a small habitat in the United States, the black widow is more widely-feared than its more-common and equally-venomous cousin, the brown recluse.

Despite being confined to a small habitat in the United States, the black widow is more widely feared than its more common and equally venomous cousin, the brown recluse.

Despite being confined to a small habitat in the United States, the black widow is more widely feared than its more-common and equally venomous cousin, the brown recluse.

Correct answer:

Despite being confined to a small habitat in the United States, the black widow is more widely feared than its more common and equally venomous cousin, the brown recluse.

Explanation:

“More” is an adverb, not an adjective; therefore, it shouldn’t be hyphenated with the adjective that follows. Only compound adjectives need hyphenation, which is why “widely feared” and “equally venomous” are not hyphenated. The correct punctuation is “more common.”

Example Question #252 : Correcting Punctuation Errors: Other Punctuation

Replace the underlined section with the answer that best results in a sentence that is clear, precise, and meets the requirements of standard written English. 

What I’m asking is if you’ll go with me to the dance? 

Possible Answers:

What I’m asking is if you’ll go with me to the dance? 

What I’m asking is, if you’ll go with me to the dance.

What I’m asking is if you’ll go with me to the dance.

What I’m asking is: if you’ll go with me to the dance?

What I’m asking is, if you’ll go with me to the dance? 

Correct answer:

What I’m asking is if you’ll go with me to the dance.

Explanation:

Although this sentence begins with an interrogative word, it’s actually making a statement and not asking a question. The speaker is explaining what he/she is asking, not actually asking the question itself; therefore, the sentence needs to end with a period and not a question mark. No other punctuation is needed in the sentence.

Example Question #252 : Correcting Punctuation Errors: Other Punctuation

Replace the underlined section with the answer that best results in a sentence that is clear, precise, and meets the requirements of standard written English. 

After Stephanie finished the course (it took three months to complete), she was eligible to apply for a certificate.

Possible Answers:

After Stephanie finished the course, (it took three months to complete), she was eligible to apply for a certificate.

After Stephanie finished the course (it took three months to complete); she was eligible to apply for a certificate.

After Stephanie finished the course, it took three months to complete, she was eligible to apply for a certificate.

After Stephanie finished the course (it took three months to complete), she was eligible to apply for a certificate. (No Error)

After Stephanie finished the course, (it took three months to complete) she was eligible to apply for a certificate.

Correct answer:

After Stephanie finished the course (it took three months to complete), she was eligible to apply for a certificate. (No Error)

Explanation:

Because a comma is needed in the main part of the sentence (“After Stephanie finished the course, she was eligible to apply for a certificate”), it is needed even when there are parentheses. As a general rule, the comma appears after and not before the parentheses.

Example Question #11 : Correcting Other Punctuation Errors

Replace the underlined section with the answer that best results in a sentence that is clear, precise, and meets the requirements of standard written English. 

Jan was tired of being a resident advisor (He had been a resident advisor for nearly four years.).

Possible Answers:

Jan was tired of being a resident advisor. (He had been a resident advisor for nearly four years.)

Jan was tired of being a resident advisor. (He had been a resident advisor for nearly four years)

Jan was tired of being a resident advisor. (He had been a resident advisor for nearly four years).

Jan was tired of being a resident advisor, (He had been a resident advisor for nearly four years).

Jan was tired of being a resident advisor (He had been a resident advisor for nearly four years.).

Correct answer:

Jan was tired of being a resident advisor. (He had been a resident advisor for nearly four years).

Explanation:

Generally speaking, a period is needed inside the parentheses if it’s a complete sentence inside the parentheses. When the parenthetical idea comes at the end of a sentence and is its own sentence, it’s better to place the parentheses outside the first sentence. (Parentheses rules generally have some flexibility, and the best way to learn them is to read extensively.)

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