SAT Writing : Correcting Punctuation Errors: Commas for Introductory or Interrupting Phrases

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for SAT Writing

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Example Questions

Example Question #521 : 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.

Rodrigo, one of the greatest kings the east has ever known met his demise at the hands of the Northerners. 

Possible Answers:

Rodrigo, one of the greatest kings the east has ever known, met

Rodrigo, one of the greatest kings the east has ever known met

Rodrigo one of the greatest kings the east has ever known met

Rodrigo, one of the greatest kings the east has ever known met

Rodrigo, one of the greatest kings the east has ever known met,

Correct answer:

Rodrigo, one of the greatest kings the east has ever known, met

Explanation:

Introductory or interrupting phrases are phrases that are subordinate and add information to a sentence, but are not necessary to the sentence being grammatically complete. Introductory phrases must be separated from the rest of the sentence by commas. In the sentence above "Rodrigo, one of the greatest kings the east has ever known met" should read, "Rodrigo, one of the greatest kings the east has ever known, met."

Example Question #522 : 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.

Whenever you are losing a game it is extremely important to stay positive.

Possible Answers:

Whenever you are losing a game it

Whenever you are losing a game, it

Whenever you are losing a game: it

Whenever you are losing a game; it

Whenever you are losing a game it,

Correct answer:

Whenever you are losing a game, it

Explanation:

Introductory or interrupting phrases (phrases that are subordinate and add information to a sentence, but are not necessary to the sentence being complete) must be separated from the rest of the sentence by commas (or a comma). In the sentence above "Whenever you are losing a game it" should read, "Whenever you are losing a game, it."

Example Question #523 : 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.

Cicero a one time senator died poor, hunted, and alone. 

Possible Answers:

Cicero a one time senator,

Cicero a one time senator

Cicero, a one time senator,

Cicero a one time, senator

Cicero, a one time senator

Correct answer:

Cicero, a one time senator,

Explanation:

Interrupting phrases that add contextual information but do not fundamentally alter the grammatical structure of the sentence must be separated from the rest of the sentence by commas. In the sentence above "Cicero a one time senator" should read, "Cicero, a one time senator," instead. 

Example Question #524 : 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.

Paul the fireman's son was hurt very badly in the accident.

Possible Answers:

Paul, the fireman's son, was hurt

Paul the firemans son was hurt

Paul, the firemans' son, was hurt

Paul, the fireman's son was hurt

Paul the firemans' son was hurt

Correct answer:

Paul, the fireman's son, was hurt

Explanation:

Interrupting phrases are phrases that add information to a sentence, but are not necessary to the sentence being complete, and they must be separated from the rest of the sentence by commas. In the sentence above "Paul the fireman's son was hurt" should read, "Paul, the fireman's son, was hurt."

Example Question #525 : 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.

Spencer, one of the most boorish men I have ever met is really no fun to be around.

Possible Answers:

Spencer one of the most boorish men I have ever met is really no fun to be around.

Spencer, one of the most boorish men I have ever met is really no fun to be around.

Spencer-one of the most boorish men I have ever met is really no fun to be around.

Spencer, one of the most boorish men I have ever met, is really no fun to be around.

Spencer, one of the most boorish men I have ever met, is really no fun to be around.

Correct answer:

Spencer, one of the most boorish men I have ever met, is really no fun to be around.

Explanation:

Interrupting phrases, subordinate phrases that add information to a sentence but are not necessary to the sentence being complete (like this one), must be separated from the rest of the sentence by commas. The best way to correct the underlined portion above is: "Spencer, one of the most boorish men I have ever met, is really no fun to be around."

Example Question #526 : 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 novel we're studying, one of my favorite books of all time has recently developed a new fan base.

Possible Answers:

The novel we're studying, one of my favorite books of all time has recently developed a new fan base.

The novel we're studying, one of my favorite books of all time has recently developed a new fan base.

The novel we're studying, one of my favorite books of all time, has recently engendered new fans.

The novel we're studying, one of my favorite books of all time has recently engineered new fans.

The novel we're studying, one of my favorite books of all time, has recently endangered new fans.

Correct answer:

The novel we're studying, one of my favorite books of all time, has recently engendered new fans.

Explanation:

Introductory or interrupting phrases are phrases that are subordinate and add information to a sentence, but are not necessary to the sentence being complete. Introductory and interrupting phrases must be separated from the rest of the sentence by commas. The best way to correct the underlined portion above is: "The novel we're studying, one of my favorite books of all time, has recently developed a new fan base."

Example Question #527 : 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.

When you fail to pay attention during the seminars you're only hurting yourself.

Possible Answers:

When you fail to pay attention during the seminars; you're only hurting yourself.

When you fail to pay attention during the seminars, your only hurting yourself.

When you fail to pay attention during the seminars you're only hurting yourself.

When you fail to pay attention during the seminars, you're only hurting yourself.

When you fail to pay attention during the seminars, youre only hurting yourself.

Correct answer:

When you fail to pay attention during the seminars, you're only hurting yourself.

Explanation:

Introductory or interrupting phrases are phrases that are subordinate to the main clause and add information to a sentence, but are not necessary to the sentence being complete. Introductory phrases must be separated from the main clause by a comma. The best way to correct the underlined portion above is: "When you fail to pay attention during the seminars, you're only hurting yourself."

Example Question #528 : 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.

My favorite dish, pork fried rice is best served warm but not too hot. 

Possible Answers:

My favorite dish, pork fried rice is

My favorite, dish pork fried rice, is

My favorite dish, pork fried rice, is

My favorite dish pork fried rice is

My favorite dish, pork fried rice is,

Correct answer:

My favorite dish, pork fried rice, is

Explanation:

Introductory or interrupting phrases add information to a sentence, but are not necessary to the sentence being complete. Since they are dependent clauses, they must be separated from the rest of the sentence with a comma. The best way to correct the underlined portion above is: "My favorite dish, pork fried rice, is"

Example Question #529 : 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.

I'm worried about Michael the youngest boy on the trip because he hasn't been engaged with his peers.  

Possible Answers:

Michael, the younger boy on the trip, because

Michael the youngest boy on the trip because

Michael, the youngest boy on the trip so

Michael the younger boy on the trip because

Michael, the youngest boy on the trip, because

Correct answer:

Michael, the youngest boy on the trip, because

Explanation:

Interrupting phrases provide context or information about an element of the sentence, but are not necessary to the sentence being grammatically complete, therefore they must be separated from the rest of the sentence by commas. The best way to correct the underlined portion above is: "Michael, the youngest boy on the trip, because"

Example Question #530 : 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.

I don't much care for Marcus easily the most pugnacious player on our team because he is such a poor sport.

Possible Answers:

I do not much care for Marcus easily the most pugnacious player on our team, because he is such a poor sport.

I don't much care for Marcus, easily the most pugnacious player on our team because he is such a poor sport.

I don't much care for Marcus, easily the most pugnacious player on our team, because he is such a poor sport.

I don't much care for Marcus easily the most pugnacious player on our team because he is such a poor sport.

I don't much care for Marcus easily the most pugnacious player on our team, because he is such a poor sport.

Correct answer:

I don't much care for Marcus, easily the most pugnacious player on our team, because he is such a poor sport.

Explanation:

Phrases that are subordinate and add information to a sentence but are not necessary to the sentence being complete must be separated from the rest of the sentence by commas. If these phrases come in the middle of the main clause they are called interrupting phrases. The best way to correct the underlined portion above is, "I don't much care for Marcus, easily the most pugnacious player on our team, because he is such a poor sport."

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