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 #81 : 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.

For the new model everything about the car was changed.

Possible Answers:

For the new model everything, about the car was changed.

For, the new model, everything about the car was changed. 

For the new model everything, about the car, was changed.

For the new model everything about the car was changed.

For the new model, everything about the car was changed.

Correct answer:

For the new model, everything about the car was changed.

Explanation:

"For the new model" is an introductory phrase, one that conditions the action of the sentence, but remains outside of its main structure. Any introductory phrase must be set apart from the rest of the sentence by a comma. The only answer choice which properly uses the comma is "For the new model, everything about the car was changed."

Example Question #82 : 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.

For the new team the coach intentionally sought out different kinds of players.

Possible Answers:

For the new team, the coach intentionally sought out different kinds of players.

For the new team the coach intentionally sought out different kinds of players.

For the new team the coach intentionally sought out; different kinds of players.

For the new team the coach, intentionally sought out different kinds of players.

For the new team, the coach—intentionally sought out different kinds of players.

Correct answer:

For the new team, the coach intentionally sought out different kinds of players.

Explanation:

The phrase "For the new team" is an introductory phrase, one that conditions the meaning of the sentence but remains outside its main structure. All introductory phrases need to be set apart from the sentence by a comma. The only answer choice to correctly do this is "For the new team, the coach intentionally sought out different kinds of players."

Example Question #83 : 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.

Unlike its distant cousin the raccoon this mammal stays out during daylight hours and sleeps at night.

Possible Answers:

Unlike its distant cousin the raccoon, this mammal 

Unlike, its distant cousin the raccoon this mammal 

Unlike its distant cousin, the raccoon this mammal 

Unlike its distant cousin the raccoon this mammal 

Unlike its distant cousin the raccoon these mammals 

Correct answer:

Unlike its distant cousin the raccoon, this mammal 

Explanation:

It may take you a moment to figure out that "the raccoon" is not actually the subject of the sentence and "this mammal" is since the nouns appear right next to each other. The phrase "Unlike its distant cousin the raccoon" is an introductory phrase, giving a condition in which to understand the main body of the sentence. All introductory phrases need to be set apart from the rest of the sentence by a comma. Therefore, the correct answer choice is "Unlike its distant cousin the raccoon, this mammal."

Example Question #84 : Correcting Punctuation Errors: Commas For Introductory Or Interrupting Phrases

When reaching for a metaphor authors often make their point more confusing.

Possible Answers:

When reaching for metaphors authors often make their point more confusing.

When reaching for a metaphor authors often make their point more confusing.

When reaching for a metaphor, authors often make their point more confusing.

When reaching for a metaphor; authors often make their point more confusing.

When reaching for metaphor authors often make their point more confusing.

Correct answer:

When reaching for a metaphor, authors often make their point more confusing.

Explanation:

The sentence, as written, actually contains two separate phrases, with "When reaching for metaphors" being an introductory phrase. Introductory phrases always need to be set off by commas; therefore, the correct answer is "When reaching for a metaphor, authors often make their point more confusing."

Example Question #771 : Act English

The exciting political race the first in the county in years drew a large amount of interest from local news outlets.

Possible Answers:

The exciting political race, the first in the county in years drew

The exciting political race the first in the county in years drew

The exciting political race, the first in the county in years, drew 

The exciting political race the first in the county in years, drew

The exciting, political race, the first in the county in years drew

Correct answer:

The exciting political race, the first in the county in years, drew 

Explanation:

The phrase "the first in the county in years" is an interrupting phrase, a clause that provides information to the sentence but is not crucial to the structure. All interrupting phrases need to be set apart from the rest of the sentence by commas; therefore, the correct answer choice is "The exciting political race, the first in the county in years, drew."

Example Question #771 : Act English

In the first heat every car spun out, and none of the racers finished the required four laps.

Possible Answers:

In the first heat, every car spun out, and none of the racers finished the required four laps.

In the first heat every car spun out, and none of the racers finished the required four laps.

In the first heat every car spun out; and none of the racers finished the required four laps.

In the first heat every car spun out, and none of the racers, finished the required four laps.

In the first heat every car spun out and none of the racers finished the required four laps.

Correct answer:

In the first heat, every car spun out, and none of the racers finished the required four laps.

Explanation:

The phrase "In the first heat" is an introductory phrase in the sentence, one that conditions the meaning of the sentence (or in this case, the first part of this compound sentence), but remains apart from its structure. All introductory phrases need to be separated from the rest of the sentence by a comma. As this is the only punctuation error in the sentence as written, the correct answer choice is "In the first heat, every car spun out, and none of the racers finished the required four laps."

Example Question #772 : Act English

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.

For three years the fugitive lived in hiding by wearing a beard and taking on an assumed name.

Possible Answers:

For three years the fugitive lived

For three years, the fugitive lived

For three, years the fugitive lived

For three years the fugitive lives

For, three years, the fugitive lived

Correct answer:

For three years, the fugitive lived

Explanation:

The phrase "for three years" is an introductory phrase, one that conditions the meaning of the sentence but is not part of the necessary structure of the sentence. All introductory phrases should be set off by a comma from the rest of the sentence. Therefore, the correct answer choice is "For three years, the fugitive lived."

Example Question #88 : 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.

The artist's masterpiece a giant canvas of the emperor had hung in the museum for centuries.

Possible Answers:

The artist's masterpiece a giant canvas of the emperor had hung in the museum for centuries.

The artist's masterpiece a giant canvas of the emperor had hanging in the museum for centuries.

The artist's masterpiece, a giant canvas of the emperor, had hung in the museum for centuries.

The artist's masterpiece a giant canvas of the emperor had hung in the museum in centuries.

The artist's masterpiece a giant canvas about the emperor had hung in the museum for centuries.

Correct answer:

The artist's masterpiece, a giant canvas of the emperor, had hung in the museum for centuries.

Explanation:

The phrase "a giant canvas of the emperor" is an interrupting phrase, one that adds information to the sentence, but sits outside its main structure. Any interrupting phrase must be set apart from the rest of the sentence by commas. The only answer choice which appropriately places commas in the sentence is "The artist's masterpiece, a giant canvas of the emperor, had hung in the museum for centuries."

Example Question #773 : Act English

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 dog a purebred champion was remarkably well behaved throughout the trip.

Possible Answers:

The dog a purebred champion was

The dog, a purebred champion, was

The dog a purebred, champion was

The dog a purebred champion, was

The dog, a purebred champion was

Correct answer:

The dog, a purebred champion, was

Explanation:

The phrase "a purebred champion" is an interrupting phrase, one that adds extra meaning to the sentence, but does not constitute a crucial element of its structure. All interrupting phrases must be set apart from the sentence by commas. The only answer choice that appropriately does this is "The dog, a purebred champion, was."

Example Question #761 : Improving Sentences

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 lottery winner a poor farmer, said he was unsure what he would do with his winnings.

Possible Answers:

The lottery winner, a poor farmer, said

The lottery winner a poor farmer, said

The lottery winner a poor farmer said

The lottery winner a poor farmer, says

The lottery winner, a poor farmer said

Correct answer:

The lottery winner, a poor farmer, said

Explanation:

The phrase "a poor farmer" is an interrupting phrase, one that provides extra information but is not a crucial part of the sentence's structure. All interrupting phrases must be set apart from the rest of the sentence by commas. Therefore, the correct answer choice is "The lottery winner, a poor farmer, said."

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