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 #141 : Correcting Punctuation Errors: Commas For Introductory Or Interrupting Phrases

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.

Paulus Atredies, one of the greatest men who ever lived died fighting a bull in a dirty pit.

Possible Answers:

Paulus Atredies, one of the greatest men who ever lived died fighting a bull in a dirty pit.

Paulus Atredies one of the greatest men who ever lived died fighting a bull in a dirty pit.

Paulus Atredies who was one of the greatest men who ever lived died fighting a bull in a dirty pit.

Paulus Atredies, one of the greatest men who ever lived, died fighting a bull in a dirty pit.

Paulus Atredies, one of the greatest men who ever lived died fighting a bulls in a dirty pit.

Correct answer:

Paulus Atredies, one of the greatest men who ever lived, died fighting a bull in a dirty pit.

Explanation:

Sometimes important context or information pertaining needs to be added to the sentence, but the author may not wish to integrate this information into the fundamental grammatical structure of the sentence. In these instance, such information can be contained in what are called interrupting phrases, these are words or sets of words that interrupt a clause, but exist outside of the fundamental structure of that clause. Interrupting phrases must be enclosed with commas. The best version of the example sentence reads, Paulus Atredies, one of the greatest men who ever lived, died fighting a bull in a dirty pit.

Example Question #142 : Correcting Punctuation Errors: Commas For Introductory Or Interrupting Phrases

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 Franklin treats his mother that way I get very angry with him.

Possible Answers:

When Franklin treats his mother that way, I get very angry with him.

When Franklin treats his mother that way I got very angry with him.

While Franklin treats his mother that way I get very angry with him.

When Franklin treats his mother that way I get very angry with him.

While Franklin treats his mother that way, I get very angry with him.

Correct answer:

When Franklin treats his mother that way, I get very angry with him.

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. In the example sentence, "When Franklin treats his mother that way," acts as such an introductory phrase.

Example Question #143 : Correcting Punctuation Errors: Commas For Introductory Or Interrupting Phrases

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.

Heidi, my college mentor has often disappointed me after I graduated.

Possible Answers:

Heidi who is my college mentor has often disappointed me after I graduated.

Heidi my college mentor has often disappointed me after I graduated.

Heidi, my college mentor has often disappointed me after I graduated.

Heidi my college mentor, has often disappointed me after I graduated.

Heidi, my college mentor, has often disappointed me after I graduated.

Correct answer:

Heidi, my college mentor, has often disappointed me after I graduated.

Explanation:

Interrupting phrases are subordinate and add information to a sentence, but are not necessary to the sentence being complete. Thus, such phrases must be separated from the rest of the sentence by commas. The best way to correct the underlined portion above is, "Heidi, my college mentor, has often disappointed me after I graduated."

Example Question #144 : Correcting Punctuation Errors: Commas For Introductory Or Interrupting Phrases

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.

While I appreciate your commentary I don't have time to incorporate all of your notes right now.

Possible Answers:

While I appreciate your commentary and I don't have time to incorporate all of your notes right now.

While I appreciate your commentary, I don't have time to incorporate all of your notes right now.

While I appreciate your commentary: I don't have time to incorporate all of your notes right now.

While I appreciate your commentary; I don't have time to incorporate all of your notes right now.

While I appreciate your commentary I don't have time to incorporate all of your notes right now.

Correct answer:

While I appreciate your commentary, I don't have time to incorporate all of your notes right now.

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. In the example sentence, "While I appreciate your commentary," acts as such an introductory phrase. You can often spot introductory phrases because they begin a sentence with a coordinating conjunction, such as "while."

Example Question #145 : Correcting Punctuation Errors: Commas For Introductory Or Interrupting Phrases

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.

Even my mother, one of the kindest women I know doesn't like Tommy.

Possible Answers:

Even my mother, one of the kindest women, I know doesn't like Tommy.

Even my mother, one of the kindest women I know doesn't like Tommy.

Even my mother, one of the kindest women I know, doesn't like Tommy.

Even my mother, one of the kindest women I know, doesn't like Tommy.

Even my mother one of the kindest women I know doesn't like Tommy.

Correct answer:

Even my mother, one of the kindest women I know, doesn't like Tommy.

Explanation:

Interrupting phrases add information or context to a sentence, but are not necessary to the sentence being complete, must be separated from the rest of the sentence by commas. In the example sentence "one of the kindest women" is performing this function.

Example Question #146 : Correcting Punctuation Errors: Commas For Introductory Or Interrupting Phrases

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.

Anna, my ex-girlfriend is getting married to a guy I don't really like very much, but I guess that's how it goes.

Possible Answers:

Anna, my ex-girlfriend is getting married to a guy I don't really like very much, but I guess that's how it goes.

Anna, my ex-girlfriend, is getting married to a guy I don't really like very much, but I guess that's how it goes.

Anna, my ex-girlfriend is getting married to a guy I don't really like very much but I guess that's how it goes.

Anna, my ex-girlfriend, is getting married to a guy I don't really like very much but I guess that's how it goes.

Anna my ex-girlfriend, is getting married to a guy I don't really like very much, but I guess that's how it goes.

Correct answer:

Anna, my ex-girlfriend, is getting married to a guy I don't really like very much, but I guess that's how it goes.

Explanation:

Interrupting phrases are not necessary to the sentence being grammatically complete, and they must be separated from the rest of the sentence by commas. Such phrases add information or context, or, as is the case here, rename a noun (these are also sometimes called appositives) The best way to correct the underlined portion above is, "Anna, my ex-girlfriend, is getting married to a guy I don't really like very much, but I guess that's how it goes."

 

Example Question #147 : Correcting Punctuation Errors: Commas For Introductory Or Interrupting Phrases

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 Suzy is so petulant in class she makes it difficult for the other students to learn.

Possible Answers:

When Suzy is so petulant in class she makes it difficult for the other students to learn.

When Suzy is so petulant in class, or she makes it difficult for the other students to learn.

When Suzy is so petulant in class, but she makes it difficult for the other students to learn.

When Suzy is so petulant in class, she makes it difficult for the other students to learn.

When Suzy is so petulant in class, and she makes it difficult for the other students to learn.

Correct answer:

When Suzy is so petulant in class, she makes it difficult for the other students to learn.

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. In the example sentence "When Suzy is so petulant in class," acts as an introductory clause by providing the condition and context for Suzie's actions. The example sentence is thus missing a comma at the end of this phrase.

Example Question #148 : Correcting Punctuation Errors: Commas For Introductory Or Interrupting Phrases

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.

While I have to admit that she is a great writer she isn't much of a conversationalist.

Possible Answers:

While I have to admit that she is a great writer she isn't much of a conversationalist.

While I have to admit that she is a great writer, she isn't much of a conversationalist.

While I have to admit that she is a great writer, but she isn't much of a conversationalist.

While I have to admit that she is a great writer, and she isn't much of a conversationalist.

While I have to admit that she is a great writer but she isn't much of a conversationalist.

Correct answer:

While I have to admit that she is a great writer, she isn't much of a conversationalist.

Explanation:

Introductory phrases act as dependent clauses, and thus must be separated from the rest of the sentence by commas. In this case the subordinating conjunction "while" tips us to the introductory clause in this sentence. The best way to correct the underlined portion above is, "While I have to admit that she is a great writer, she isn't much of a conversationalist."

Example Question #149 : Correcting Punctuation Errors: Commas For Introductory Or Interrupting Phrases

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 teacher, Michael is one of the best teachers I have ever had.

Possible Answers:

My teacher Michael is one of the best teachers I have ever had.

My teacher Michael, is one of the best teachers I have ever had.

My teacher, Michael is one of the best teachers I have ever had.

My teacher, Michael, is one of the best teachers I have ever had.

My teacher Michael are one of the best teachers I have ever had.

Correct answer:

My teacher, Michael, is one of the best teachers I have ever had.

Explanation:

In the example sentence the interrupting phrase (or appositive) "Michael" renames the subject of the sentence, the noun "my teacher." Because this interrupting word is not part of the fundamental grammatical structure of the sentence (you could remove it and the sentence would remain grammatically correct) it must be separated with commas on either side, not just one comma at the beginning.

The correct version reads, "My teacher, Michael, is one of the best teachers I have ever had."

Example Question #150 : Correcting Punctuation Errors: Commas For Introductory Or Interrupting Phrases

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 I'm exhausted there is no better way for me to get some sleep than to rest in my bed.

Possible Answers:

Whenever I'm exhausted, there is no better way for me to get some sleep than to rest in my bed.

Whenever, I'm exhausted there is no better way for me to get some sleep than to rest in my bed.

Whenever I'm exhausted there are no better way for me to get some sleep than to rest in my bed.

Whenever I'm, exhausted there is no better way for me to get some sleep than to rest in my bed.

Whenever I'm exhausted there is no better way for me to get some sleep than to rest in my bed.

Correct answer:

Whenever I'm exhausted, there is no better way for me to get some sleep than to rest in my bed.

Explanation:

Introductory are subordinate and add information to a sentence, but are not necessary to the sentence being grammatically complete, must be separated from the rest of the sentence by commas. "Whenever I'm exhausted," establishes the contextual condition for the situation described in the main clause, and acts as an introductory clause. Thus, a comma must be added after "exhausted."

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