SAT Writing : Correcting Semicolon Errors

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for SAT Writing

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Example Questions

Example Question #51 : Correcting Semicolon 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.

Pork is currently the most important protein source in the world; but chicken is rapidly becoming equally important.

Possible Answers:

Pork is currently the most important protein source in the world; and chicken is rapidly becoming equally important.

Pork is currently the most important protein source in the world; or chicken is rapidly becoming equally important.

Pork is currently the most important protein source in the world; chicken is rapidly becoming equally important.

Pork is currently the most important protein source in the world with chicken is rapidly becoming equally important.

Pork is currently the most important protein source in the world; but chicken is rapidly becoming equally important.

Correct answer:

Pork is currently the most important protein source in the world; chicken is rapidly becoming equally important.

Explanation:

Semicolons may be used to separate two related, independent clauses. Note, however, that they must be used alone, and without any accompanying conjunction. The best way to correct the underlined portion above is, "Pork is currently the most important protein source in the world; chicken is rapidly becoming equally important."

 

Example Question #53 : 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.

As long as you struggle; you're only giving the shark more reasons to attack.

Possible Answers:

As long as you struggle as you're only giving the shark more reasons to attack.

As long as you struggle; you're only giving the shark more reasons to attack.

As long as you struggle, you're only giving the shark more reasons to attack.

As long as you struggle; so you're only giving the shark more reasons to attack.

As long as you struggle; then you're only giving the shark more reasons to attack.

Correct answer:

As long as you struggle, you're only giving the shark more reasons to attack.

Explanation:

Semicolons may be used to separate two related, independent clauses; however, the first clause in the sentence above is not independent, so the semicolon is erroneous. The best way to correct the underlined portion above is, "As long as you struggle, you're only giving the shark more reasons to attack."

Example Question #51 : 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.

My grandmother's health is not very good; and she's not taking good care of herself.

Possible Answers:

My grandmother's health is not very good; and she's not taking good care of herself.

My grandmother's health is not very good; she's not taking good care of herself.

My grandmother's health is not very good; but she's not taking good care of herself.

My grandmother's health is not very good; or she's not taking good care of herself.

My grandmother's health is not very good, she's not taking good care of herself.

Correct answer:

My grandmother's health is not very good; she's not taking good care of herself.

Explanation:

Semicolons may be used to separate two related, independent clauses. Semicolons must, however, be used alone and without any accompanying conjunction. The best way to correct the underlined portion above is, "My grandmother's health is not very good; she's not taking good care of herself."

Example Question #52 : Correcting Semicolon 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 girlfriend is a better writer than I am; but I am a stronger editor than she is.

Possible Answers:

My girlfriend is a better writer than I am; and I am a stronger editor than she is.

My girlfriend is a better writer than I am; while I am a stronger editor than she is.

My girlfriend is a better writer than I am; although I am a stronger editor than she is.

My girlfriend is a better writer than I am; but I am a stronger editor than she is.

My girlfriend is a better writer than I am, but I am a stronger editor.

Correct answer:

My girlfriend is a better writer than I am, but I am a stronger editor.

Explanation:

Semicolons may be used to separate two related, independent clauses; however, they must be used alone, and without any accompanying conjunction. The best way to correct the underlined portion above is to replace the semicolon with a comma: "My girlfriend is a better writer than I am, but I am a stronger editor."

Example Question #52 : 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.

While I really enjoyed his most recent movie; I still don't much care for Tom Hardy.

Possible Answers:

While I really enjoyed his most recent movie. I still don't much care for Tom Hardy.

While I really enjoyed his most recent movie, I still don't much care for Tom Hardy.

While I really enjoyed his most recent movie; and I still don't much care for Tom Hardy.

While I really enjoyed his most recent movie; I still don't much care for Tom Hardy.

While I really enjoyed his most recent movie; but I still don't much care for Tom Hardy.

Correct answer:

While I really enjoyed his most recent movie, I still don't much care for Tom Hardy.

Explanation:

Semicolons may be used to separate two related, independent clauses, but in the sentence above, the first clause is subordinate, and therefore the semicolon is incorrect. The subordinating conjunction "while" is a direct signal that the clause is dependent. The best way to correct the underlined portion above is, "While I really enjoyed his most recent movie, I still don't much care for Tom Hardy."

Example Question #53 : Correcting Semicolon 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 very upset with the quality of the work Kevin has done lately; but I still think he's a good employee.

Possible Answers:

I'm very upset with the quality of the work Kevin has done; lately but I still think he's a good employee.

I'm very upset with the quality of the work Kevin has done lately but I still think he's a good employee.

I'm very upset with the quality of the work Kevin has done lately; but I still think he's a good employee.

I'm very upset with the quality of the work Kevin has done lately, but I still think he's a good employee.

I'm very upset with the quality of the work Kevin has done lately, I still think he's a good employee.

Correct answer:

I'm very upset with the quality of the work Kevin has done lately, but I still think he's a good employee.

Explanation:

A semicolon is used to join these two independent clauses into one compound sentence, but the coordinating conjunction "but" incorrectly follows the semicolon. The best way to correct the sentence is to replace the semicolon with a comma. The corrected version reads, "I'm very upset with the quality of the work Kevin has done lately, but I still think he's a good employee."

Example Question #54 : Correcting Semicolon 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 mind working so many shifts; but I wish my supervisor would give me better hours.

Possible Answers:

I don't mind working so many shifts but I wish my supervisor would give me better hours.

I don't mind working so many shifts; but I wish my supervisor would give me better hours.

I don't mind working so many shifts, but I wish my supervisor would give me better hours.

I don't mind working so many shifts; or I wish my supervisor would give me better hours.

I don't mind working so many shifts; and I wish my supervisor would give me better hours.

Correct answer:

I don't mind working so many shifts, but I wish my supervisor would give me better hours.

Explanation:

Semicolons may be used to separate two related, independent clauses; however, they must be used alone, and without any accompanying conjunction. In the example sentence, two independent clauses are joined into one compound sentence using a semicolon, but "but" incorrectly follows the semicolon. The best way to correct the underlined portion above is, "I don't mind working so many shifts, but I wish my supervisor would give me better hours."

Example Question #55 : Correcting Semicolon 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.

Larry got himself into a lot of problems with his poor behavior; but he never seems to be able to get himself back out.

Possible Answers:

Larry got himself into a lot of problems with his poor behavior he never seems to be able to get himself back out.

Larry got himself into a lot of problems with his poor behavior, he never seems to be able to get himself back out.

Larry got himself into a lot of problems with his poor behavior; he never seems to be able to get himself back out.

Larry got himself into a lot of problems with his poor behavior; and he never seems to be able to get himself back out.

Larry got himself into a lot of problems with his poor behavior; but he never seems to be able to get himself back out.

Correct answer:

Larry got himself into a lot of problems with his poor behavior; he never seems to be able to get himself back out.

Explanation:

Semicolons may be used to join two related, independent clauses together into a single compound sentence. Note, however, that semicolons must be used alone, and without any accompanying conjunction. The best way to correct the underlined portion above is, "Larry got himself into a lot of problems with his poor behavior; he never seems to be able to get himself back out."

Example Question #51 : Correcting Semicolon 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 enjoy a good corn dog; and the best place to get one is the Minnesota State Fair.

Possible Answers:

I enjoy a good corn dog; the best place to get one is the Minnesota State Fair.

I enjoy a good corn dog; but the best place to get one is the Minnesota State Fair.

I enjoy a good corn dog; or the best place to get one is the Minnesota State Fair.

I enjoy a good corn dog; while the best place to get one is the Minnesota State Fair.

I enjoy a good corn dog; when the best place to get one is the Minnesota State Fair.

Correct answer:

I enjoy a good corn dog; the best place to get one is the Minnesota State Fair.

Explanation:

In the example sentence, the coordinating conjunction "and" is incorrectly placed after a semicolon. Your options to fix this error would be either to replace the semicolon with a comma, or to delete the conjunction. The correct option provided is, "I enjoy a good corn dog; the best place to get one is the Minnesota State Fair."

Example Question #56 : Correcting Semicolon 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.

If you want to pay someone a compliment; it's best to be polite and make sure that the timing is appropriate.

Possible Answers:

If you want to pay someone a compliment; its best to be polite and make sure that the timing is appropriate.

If you want to pay someone a compliment; it's best to be polite and make sure that the timing is appropriate.

If you want to pay someone a compliment, it's best to be polite and make sure that the timing is appropriate.

If you want to pay someone a compliment its best to be polite and make sure that the timing is appropriate.

If you want to pay someone a compliment, its best to be polite and make sure that the timing is appropriate.

Correct answer:

If you want to pay someone a compliment, it's best to be polite and make sure that the timing is appropriate.

Explanation:

Semicolons may be used to separate two related, independent clauses. In this case, the first clause is subordinate (the major clue for this being "if"), so the semicolon is erronenous. The best way to correct the underlined portion above is:

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