SAT Writing : Correcting Quotation Mark Errors

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for SAT Writing

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Example Questions

Example Question #11 : Correcting Quotation Mark 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 can't go back to him," cried the Baroness. "he's just too dangerous!" No error

Possible Answers:

He's just too dangerous!"

"He's just too dangerous!"

"he's just too dangerous!"

No error

'he's just too dangerous!'

Correct answer:

"He's just too dangerous!"

Explanation:

Ensure that any quotation is surrounded by quotation marks, with the first set preceding the first letter of the first word of the sentence, and the last set following the final punctuation mark of the sentence. In this case, the second quotation is forming a new sentence, and therefore the entire thing needs to be enclosed in quotation marks. Additionally, because there is a period preceding it, and it needs to be treated as its own sentence, therefore it needs to begin with a capital letter. The best answer here is: "He's just too dangerous!"

Example Question #11 : Correcting Quotation Mark 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 said, I hate being stuck out in the woods, it's such a drag. No error

Possible Answers:

"I hate being stuck out in the woods, it's such a drag."

"I hate being stuck out in the woods, it's such a drag.

I hate being stuck out in the woods, it's such a drag."

No error

"I hate being stuck out in the woods, it's such a drag."

Correct answer:

"I hate being stuck out in the woods, it's such a drag."

Explanation:

Ensure that any direct quotation is surrounded by quotation marks, with the first set preceding the first letter of the first word of the sentence, and the last set following the final punctuation mark of the sentence. The best way to write the underlined portion of the sentence is: "I hate being stuck out in the woods, it's such a drag." Note that paraphrase (a summary rephrasing that does not feature the exact same words as the original statement) does not require quotation marks (but may require citation in an academic paper).

Example Question #12 : Correcting Quotation Mark 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.

I told my friends that “I was too tired to go out,” but really I just wanted to catch up on my favorite TV series.

Possible Answers:

I told my friends that “I was too tired to go out” but really I just wanted to catch up on my favorite TV series.

I told my friends that, “I was too tired to go out,” but really I just wanted to catch up on my favorite TV series.

I told my friends that I was too tired to go out but really I just wanted to catch up on my favorite TV series.

I told my friends that “I was too tired to go out,” but really I just wanted to catch up on my favorite TV series.

I told my friends that I was too tired to go out, but really I just wanted to catch up on my favorite TV series.

Correct answer:

I told my friends that I was too tired to go out, but really I just wanted to catch up on my favorite TV series.

Explanation:

“I was too tired to go out” is an indirect quotation; we know this because it’s preceded by the word “that.” Since indirect quotations don’t require quotation marks, and since a comma is needed before the conjunction (“but”) to separate these two independent clauses, the correct answer is “I told my friends that I was too tired to go out, but really I just wanted to catch up on my favorite TV series.”

Example Question #13 : Correcting Quotation Mark 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 self-styled "Emperor" has been dealt with, Mr. President," said the General.

Possible Answers:

"The self-styled 'Emperor' has been dealt with, Mr. President,"

"The self-styled 'Emperor' has been dealt with, Mr. President,

"The self-styled "Emperor" has been dealt with, Mr. President,"

"The self-styled "'Emperor'" has been dealt with, Mr. President,"

The self-styled 'Emperor' has been dealt with, Mr. President,

Correct answer:

"The self-styled 'Emperor' has been dealt with, Mr. President,"

Explanation:

When you use quotation marks within another quotation, you must use single quotation marks rather than double quotation marks. Therefore, "The self-styled 'Emperor' has been dealt with, Mr. President," is the correct answer.

Example Question #14 : Correcting Quotation Mark 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.

Have you heard that John told Marcia "I never want to see you again?"

Possible Answers:

'I never want to see you again'?

"I never want to see you again?"?

"I never want to see you again?"

'I never want to see you again?'

"I never want to see you again"?

Correct answer:

"I never want to see you again"?

Explanation:

The quotation in this sentence is not a question itself, but the sentence overall is a question.  Therefore, the question mark should go outside of the quotation marks.  The best answer is: "I never want to see you again"?

Example Question #15 : Correcting Quotation Mark Errors

Choose the answer below which best replaces the underlined section of the following sentence. This should result in a sentence that meets all of the rules of standard written English.

Mr. Jackson asked the clerk where is the nearest gas station?

Possible Answers:

Mr. Jackson asked the clerk, "Where is the nearest gas station?

Mr. Jackson asked the clerk, Where is the nearest gas station?"

Mr. Jackson asked the clerk, "Where is the nearest gas station?"

Mr. Jackson asked the clerk, "Where is the nearest gas station"?

Mr. Jackson asked the clerk where is the nearest gas station?

Correct answer:

Mr. Jackson asked the clerk, "Where is the nearest gas station?"

Explanation:

Quotation marks should always precede the first word of the quote, and follow the final punctuation mark of the quote; therefore, the best way to write the sentence above is "Mr. Jackson asked the clerk, 'Where is the nearest gas station?'"

Example Question #12 : Correcting Quotation Mark 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 repreoduces the underlined portion as it is written in the sentence.

The teacher said, everyone needs to turn their homework in on time, or they will not receive full credit."

Possible Answers:

The teacher said, "everyone needs to turn their homework in on time, or they will not receive full credit.

The teacher said, "everyone needs to turn their homework in on time, or they will not receive full credit."

The teacher said, everyone needs to turn their homework in on time, or they will not receive full credit."

The teacher said everyone needs to turn their homework in on time, or they will not receive full credit."

The teacher said, "Everyone needs to turn their homework in on time, or they will not receive full credit."

Correct answer:

The teacher said, "Everyone needs to turn their homework in on time, or they will not receive full credit."

Explanation:

Quotation marks should always precede the first word of the quote, and follow the final punctuation mark of the quote; therefore, the best way to write the sentence above is "The teacher said, 'Everyone needs to turn their homework in on time, or they will not receive full credit.'"

Example Question #241 : Correcting Punctuation Errors: Other Punctuation

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 repreoduces the underlined portion as it is written in the sentence.

I yelled at the rude man, "Please leave the store immediately, or I will call security".

Possible Answers:

I yelled at the rude man, "Please leave the store immediately, or I will call security!"

I yelled at the rude man Please leave the store immediately, or I will call security!"

I yelled at the rude man, "Please leave the store immediately, or I will call security...

I yelled at the rude man, "Please leave the store immediately, or I will call security.

I yelled at the rude man, "Please leave the store immediately, or I will call security".

Correct answer:

I yelled at the rude man, "Please leave the store immediately, or I will call security!"

Explanation:

Quotation marks should always precede the first word of the quote, and follow the final punctuation mark of the quote; therefore, the best way to write the sentence above is "I yelled at the rude man, 'Please leave the store immediately, or I will call security!'"

Example Question #11 : Quotation Mark 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.

“Words like prejudice and bigotry are too negative for this publication,” she said.

Possible Answers:

“Words like ‘prejudice’ and ‘bigotry’ are too negative for this publication”

“Words like “prejudice” and “bigotry” are too negative for this publication,”

“Words like ‘prejudice,’ and ‘bigotry,’ are too negative for this publication,” 

“Words like ‘prejudice’ and ‘bigotry’ are too negative for this publication,”

“Words like "prejudice" and ‘bigotry’ are too negative for this publication,”

Correct answer:

“Words like ‘prejudice’ and ‘bigotry’ are too negative for this publication,”

Explanation:

Double quotation marks are conventionally used to indicate speech, and commas are conventionally used inside the quotation marks to separate a line of speech from its dialogue tag. Double quotation marks (without commas) are also conventionally used around a word or term to indicate discussion of that word or term in speech. However, because “prejudice” and “bigotry” are already within a set of double quotation marks here, single quotation marks must be used.

Example Question #11 : Quotation Mark 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 underlined choices repeats the answer as it is written. 

Did Larry just say, "I'm going to go see the Queen?"

Possible Answers:

Did Larry just say, "I'm going to go see the Queen"?

Did Larry just say "I'm going to go see the Queen?"

Did Larry just say, "I'm going to go see the Queen,"?

Did Larry just say: "I'm going to go see the Queen?"

Did Larry just say, "I'm going to go see the Queen?"

Correct answer:

Did Larry just say, "I'm going to go see the Queen"?

Explanation:

The error in the above sentence is in the placement of the question mark. Larry's statement is not the question—the question is if Larry said the statement. Therefore, we need to remove the question mark from "I'm going to see the Queen?" and place it outside the second quotation mark to properly denote the correct question (Did Larry just say, "I'm going to go see the Queen"?)

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