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

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for SAT Writing

varsity tutors app store varsity tutors android store varsity tutors amazon store varsity tutors ibooks store

Example Questions

Example Question #272 : 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.

Bourbon County, one of the most famous counties in all Kentucky is widely known for its history and culture.

Possible Answers:

Bourbon County: one of the most famous counties in all Kentucky, is widely known for its history and culture.

Bourbon County, one of the most famous counties in all Kentucky, is widely known for its history and culture.

Bourbon county, one of the most famous counties in all Kentucky is widely known for its history and culture.

Bourbon County, one of the most famous counties in all Kentucky; is widely known for its history and culture.

Bourbon County, one of the most famous counties in all Kentucky is widely known for its history and culture.

Correct answer:

Bourbon County, one of the most famous counties in all Kentucky, is widely known for its history and culture.

Explanation:

Introductory or interrupting phrases, phrases that are subordinate and 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. You should be able to remove an interrupting phrase from a sentence without grammatically altering the overall structure of the sentence. The best way to correct the underlined portion above is, "Bourbon County, one of the most famous counties in all Kentucky, is widely known for its history and culture."

Example Question #3951 : Sat Writing

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.

After she took her terrible fall the very old woman had great difficulty walking around.

Possible Answers:

After she took her terrible fall the very old woman had great difficulty walking around.

After she took her terrible fall the very old woman had a great difficulty walking around.

After she took her terrible fall the very old woman had greater difficulty walking around.

After she took her terrible fall, the very old woman had great difficulty walking around.

After she took her terrible fall the very old woman had greatest difficulty walking around.

Correct answer:

After she took her terrible fall, the very old woman had great difficulty walking around.

Explanation:

Introductory phrases come at the beginning of a sentence. They are subordinate and add information or context to a sentence, but are not necessary to the sentence's grammatical completeness. Introductory phrases must be separated from the rest of the sentence with a comma. The best way to correct the underlined portion above is, "After she took her terrible fall, the very old woman had great difficulty walking around."

Example Question #3952 : Sat Writing

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 argue incessantly with your teachers you make class difficult for all of us.

Possible Answers:

When you argue incessantly with your teachers: you make class difficult for all of us.

When you argue incessantly with your teachers you make class difficult for all of us.

When you argue incessantly with your teachers, but you make class difficult for all of us.

When you argue incessantly with your teachers, and you make class difficult for all of us.

When you argue incessantly with your teachers, you make class difficult for all of us.

Correct answer:

When you argue incessantly with your teachers, you make class difficult for all of us.

Explanation:

Introductory phrases precede and are subordinate to a sentence's main clause. Introductory phrases add information to a sentence, but are not necessary to the sentence being grammatically complete, and such clauses must be separated from the rest of the sentence with a comma. The best way to correct the underlined portion above is, "When you argue incessantly with your teachers, you make class difficult for all of us."

Example Question #3953 : Sat Writing

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 young recruit clearly the top of his class had great promise.

Possible Answers:

The young recruit clearly the top of his class, had great promise.

The young recruit, clearly the top of his class had great promise.

The young recruit clearly the top of his class had great promise.

The young recruit, clearly the top of his class, had great promise.

The young recruit clearly, the top of his class, had great promise.

Correct answer:

The young recruit, clearly the top of his class, had great promise.

Explanation:

Interrupting phrases add information to a sentence, but are not necessary to the sentence being grammatically complete, and such clauses must be separated from the rest of the sentence with a comma on either end. Generally, such phrases provide context, information, or act as appositives (renaming the subject noun).

The best way to correct the example sentence is, "The young recruit, clearly the top of his class, had great promise."

Example Question #3954 : Sat Writing

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.

Empathy, a rare but necessary quality is often underrated in our society.

Possible Answers:

Empathy: a rare but necessary quality, is often underrated in our society.

Empathy, a rare but necessary quality, is often underrated in our society.

Empathy, a rare but necessary quality, is often underrated in our society.

Empathy a rare but necessary quality is often underrated in our society.

Empathy, a rare but necessary quality is often underrated in our society.

Correct answer:

Empathy, a rare but necessary quality, is often underrated in our society.

Explanation:

Interrupting phrases add information to a sentence, but are not necessary to the sentence being grammatically complete, and such clauses must be separated from the rest of the sentence with a comma on either end. Generally, such phrases provide context, information, or, as is the case here, act as appositives (renaming or further describing the subject noun).The best way to correct the underlined portion above is, "Empathy, a rare but necessary quality, is often underrated in our society."

Example Question #3955 : Sat Writing

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 an actor is incapable of processing criticism he deprives himself of the possibility of improvement.

Possible Answers:

When an actor is incapable of processing criticism: he deprives himself of the possibility of improvement.

When an actor is incapable of processing criticism; he deprives himself of the possibility of improvement.

When an actor is incapable of processing criticism and he deprives himself of the possibility of improvement.

When an actor is incapable of processing criticism he deprives himself of the possibility of improvement.

When an actor is incapable of processing criticism, he deprives himself of the possibility of improvement.

Correct answer:

When an actor is incapable of processing criticism, he deprives himself of the possibility of improvement.

Explanation:

Introductory phrases precede and are subordinate to a sentence's main clause. Introductory phrases add information to a sentence, but are not necessary to the sentence being grammatically complete, and such clauses must be separated from the rest of the sentence with a comma.

The best way to correct the example sentence is, "When an actor is incapable of processing criticism, he deprives himself of the possibility of improvement."

Example Question #3956 : Sat Writing

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.

Mason easily the most cruel of all the children frequently hits the others with blocks.

Possible Answers:

Mason easily the most cruel of all the children frequently hits the others with blocks.

Mason easily the cruelest of all the children frequently hits the others with blocks.

Mason, easily the most cruel of all the children frequently hits the others with blocks.

Mason easily the cruelest of all the children frequently hits the others with blocks.

Mason, easily the most cruel of all the children, frequently hits the others with blocks.

Correct answer:

Mason, easily the most cruel of all the children, frequently hits the others with blocks.

Explanation:

Interrupting phrases add details or contextual information to a sentence, but they are not necessary to the sentence being complete. Such clauses must be separated from the rest of the sentence by with a preceding and a concluding comma.

Corrected, the example sentence reads, "Mason, easily the most cruel of all the children, frequently hits the others with blocks."

Example Question #3957 : Sat Writing

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.

You really must reach out to the curator Mr. Paulus for a recommendation.

Possible Answers:

You really must reach out to the curator, Mr. Paulus, for a recommendation.

You really must reach out to the curator, Mr. Paulus for a recommendation.

You really must reach out to the curator Mr. Paulus for a recommendation.

You really must reach out to the curator; Mr. Paulus, for a recommendation.

You really must reach out to the curator Mr. Paulus, for a recommendation.

Correct answer:

You really must reach out to the curator, Mr. Paulus, for a recommendation.

Explanation:

Apositives describe or rename a noun (often the subject of the sentence), and they must be enclosed with commas, since they are not grammatically necessary to a sentence's completeness. In the example sentence "the curator" is an object rather than the subject, but "the curator" is renamed by the proper noun "Mr. Paulus." The best way to correct the underlined portion above is, "You really must reach out to the curator, Mr. Paulus, for a recommendation."

 

Example Question #3958 : Sat Writing

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 find it hard to believe that Paula one of the most beautiful women I've ever met can't get a date.

Possible Answers:

I find it hard to believe that Paula, one of the most beautiful women I've ever met can't get a date.

I find it hard to believe that Paula one of the most beautiful women I've ever met, can't get a date.

I find it hardly to believe that Paula one of the most beautiful women I've ever met can't get a date.

I find it hard to believe that Paula, one of the most beautiful women I've ever met, can't get a date.

I find it hard to believe that Paula one of the most beautiful women I've ever met can't get a date.

Correct answer:

I find it hard to believe that Paula, one of the most beautiful women I've ever met, can't get a date.

Explanation:

Interrupting phrases or appositive phrases are subordinate and add information to a sentence or context to a sentence, but they are not necessary to the sentence being grammatically complete. Appositives also re-name or define a noun. Such phrases must be separated from the rest of the sentence by commas both before and after the phrase. The best way to correct the underlined portion above is, "I find it hard to believe that Paula, one of the most beautiful women I've ever met, can't get a date."

Example Question #3959 : Sat Writing

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 do not bow when the Empress enters the room she may have you killed.

Possible Answers:

If you do not bow when the Empress enters the room; she may have you killed.

If you do not bow when the Empress enters the room she may have you killed.

When you do not bow when the Empress enters the room she may have you killed.

If you do not bow when the Empress enters the room: she may have you killed.

If you do not bow when the Empress enters the room, she may have you killed.

Correct answer:

If you do not bow when the Empress enters the room, she may have you killed.

Explanation:

Introductory phrases precede and are subordinate to a sentence's main clause. Introductory phrases add information to a sentence, but are not necessary to the sentence being grammatically complete, and such clauses must be separated from the rest of the sentence with a comma.

The best way to correct the underlined portion above is, "If you do not bow when the Empress enters the room, she may have you killed."

Learning Tools by Varsity Tutors