SAT Writing : Correcting Punctuation Errors: Commas for Dependent Clauses

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for SAT Writing

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Example Questions

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Example Question #21 : Correcting Punctuation Errors: Commas For Dependent Clauses

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.

Since Gerald doesn’t have enough money. He has to take a second job cleaning bathrooms.

Possible Answers:

Since Gerald doesn’t have enough money. He has to take a second job cleaning bathrooms.

Since Gerald doesn’t have enough money he has to take a second job cleaning bathrooms.

Since Gerald doesn’t have enough money, he has to take a second job cleaning bathrooms.

Since Gerald doesn’t have enough money: he has to take a second job cleaning bathrooms.

Since Gerald doesn’t have enough money; he has to take a second job cleaning bathrooms.

Correct answer:

Since Gerald doesn’t have enough money, he has to take a second job cleaning bathrooms.

Explanation:

“Since” is a key word that indicates a dependent clause. Because we have one dependent clause appearing in front of one independent clause, we need to separate the two with a comma.

Example Question #22 : Correcting Punctuation Errors: Commas For Dependent Clauses

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.

Lucy shouldn’t enter the scuba diving contest, as she only recently began lessons and isn’t a confident diver yet.

Possible Answers:

Lucy shouldn’t enter the scuba diving contest, as she only recently began lessons, and isn’t a confident diver yet.

Lucy shouldn’t enter the scuba diving contest; as she only recently began lessons and isn’t a confident diver yet.

Lucy shouldn’t enter the scuba diving contest, as she only recently began lessons and isn’t a confident diver yet.

Lucy shouldn’t enter the scuba diving contest; as, she only recently began lessons and isn’t a confident diver yet.

Lucy shouldn’t enter the scuba diving contest as she only recently began lessons, and isn’t a confident diver yet.

Correct answer:

Lucy shouldn’t enter the scuba diving contest, as she only recently began lessons and isn’t a confident diver yet.

Explanation:

The original sentence is correct as written. “Lucy shouldn’t enter the scuba diving contest” is an independent clause, and “as she only recently began lessons and isn’t a confident diver yet” is a dependent clause, so they need to be separated with a comma. Note that it is incorrect to use a semicolon to separate a dependent clause from an independent clause; semicolons are used to separate two independent clauses.

Example Question #23 : Correcting Punctuation Errors: Commas For Dependent Clauses

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.

Unless she passes the final exam on Shakespeare; she’s going to fail the class.

Possible Answers:

Unless she passes the final exam on Shakespeare she’s going to fail the class.

Unless she passes the final exam on Shakespeare; she’s going to fail the class.

Unless she passes the final exam on Shakespeare, she’s going to fail the class.

Unless she passes the final exam, on Shakespeare, she’s going to fail the class.

Unless, she passes the final exam on Shakespeare; she’s going to fail the class.

Correct answer:

Unless she passes the final exam on Shakespeare, she’s going to fail the class.

Explanation:

“Unless she passes the final exam on Shakespeare” is a dependent clause, and “she’s going to fail the class” is an independent clause. Dependent clauses must always be separated from independent clauses with commas. Note that it is always incorrect to use a semicolon to separate a dependent clause from and independent clause. Semicolons are used to separate two independent clauses.

Example Question #24 : Correcting Punctuation Errors: Commas For Dependent Clauses

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.

As someone who used to participate in equestrian competitions: I certainly understand the draw of horseback riding.

Possible Answers:

As someone, who used to participate in equestrian competitions, I certainly understand the draw of horseback riding.

As someone who used to participate in equestrian competitions, I certainly understand the draw of horseback riding.

As someone who used to participate in equestrian competitions; I certainly understand the draw of horseback riding.

As someone, who used to participate in equestrian competitions I certainly understand the draw of horseback riding.

As someone who used to participate in equestrian competitions: I certainly understand the draw of horseback riding.

Correct answer:

As someone who used to participate in equestrian competitions, I certainly understand the draw of horseback riding.

Explanation:

“As someone who used to participate in equestrian competitions” is a dependent clause, and “I certainly understand the draw of horseback riding” is an independent clause. Dependent clauses must always be separated from independent clauses with commas. A dependent clause may follow a colon, but the colon must be preceded by an independent clause.

Example Question #24 : Correcting Punctuation Errors: Commas For Dependent Clauses

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.

Beginning many years ago the crawdad boil had become a much-loved annual tradition for campers at Lake Susanna.

Possible Answers:

Beginning many years ago; the crawdad boil had become a much-loved annual tradition for campers at Lake Susanna.

Beginning many years ago: the crawdad boil had become a much-loved annual tradition for campers at Lake Susanna.

Beginning many years ago, the crawdad boil had become a much-loved annual tradition for campers at Lake Susanna.

Beginning many years ago the crawdad boil had become a much-loved annual tradition for campers at Lake Susanna.

Beginning many years ago: the crawdad boil had become a much-loved annual tradition, for campers at Lake Susanna.

Correct answer:

Beginning many years ago, the crawdad boil had become a much-loved annual tradition for campers at Lake Susanna.

Explanation:

“Beginning many years ago” is a dependent introductory clause that modifies the main independent clause here: “the crawdad boil had become a much-loved annual tradition for campers at Lake Susanna.” The two clauses in the example sentence need to be separated with a comma.

Example Question #26 : Correcting Punctuation Errors: Commas For Dependent Clauses

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.

As long as I live on Yancy Street James will have a place to spend the night, share a meal, or just hang out.

Possible Answers:

As long as I live on Yancy Street, James will have a place to spend the night, share a meal, or just hang out.

As long as I live on Yancy Street James will have a place to spend the night, share a meal, or just hang out.

As long as I live on Yancy Street, James will have a place to spend the night, share a meal or just hang out.

As long as I live on Yancy Street; James will have a place to spend the night, share a meal, or just hang out.

As long as I live on Yancy Street: James will have a place to spend the night, share a meal, or just hang out.

Correct answer:

As long as I live on Yancy Street, James will have a place to spend the night, share a meal, or just hang out.

Explanation:

“As long as I live on Yancy Street” is a dependent clause, and “James will have a place to spend the night, share a meal, or just hang out” is an independent clause. Dependent clauses should be separated from independent clauses with commas. Also, don’t forget the Oxford comma before “or” in the list!

Example Question #332 : Correcting Punctuation Errors: Commas

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.

Until the detective finds the key to the code. The entire baffling mystery will remain unsolved.

Possible Answers:

Until the detective finds the key to the code, the entire baffling mystery will remain unsolved.

Until the detective finds the key to the code the entire baffling mystery will remain unsolved.

Until the detective finds the key to the code. The entire baffling mystery will remain unsolved.

Until the detective finds the key to the code; the entire baffling mystery will remain unsolved.

Until the detective, finds the key to the code, the entire baffling mystery will remain unsolved.

Correct answer:

Until the detective finds the key to the code, the entire baffling mystery will remain unsolved.

Explanation:

Here, the dependent clause is “Until the detective finds the key to the code,” and the independent clause is “the entire baffling mystery will remain unsolved.” Dependent clauses should be separated from independent clauses with commas. "Until" signals that the first clause is dependent.

Example Question #333 : Correcting Punctuation Errors: Commas

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.

Before the ants arrive we should eat the picnic, that Laura packed.

Possible Answers:

Before the ants arrive, we should eat the picnic that Laura packed.

Before the ants arrive we should eat the picnic that Laura packed.

Before the ants arrive we should eat the picnic, that Laura packed.

Before the ants arrive; we should eat the picnic that Laura packed.

Before the ants arrive, we should eat the picnic, that Laura packed.

Correct answer:

Before the ants arrive, we should eat the picnic that Laura packed.

Explanation:

There is no comma before “that,” since the word “that” usually indicates information that essential to the sense of the clause and therefore is rarely preceded by a comma.

Example Question #334 : Correcting Punctuation Errors: Commas

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.

If you can help me build this lemonade stand. I’ll split the profits fifty-fifty with you.

Possible Answers:

If you can help me build this lemonade stand; I’ll split the profits, fifty-fifty with you.

If you can help me build this lemonade stand, I’ll split the profits fifty-fifty with you.

If you can help me build this lemonade stand. I’ll split the profits fifty-fifty with you.

If you can help me build this lemonade stand; I’ll split the profits fifty-fifty with you.

If you can help me build this lemonade stand: I’ll split the profits fifty-fifty with you.

Correct answer:

If you can help me build this lemonade stand, I’ll split the profits fifty-fifty with you.

Explanation:

“If you can help me build this lemonade stand” is a dependent clause, and “I’ll split the profits fifty-fifty with you” is an independent clause. Dependent clauses must always be separated from independent clauses with commas. "If" is a key word signaling a dependent clause.

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