SAT Writing : Identifying Apostrophe Errors

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for SAT Writing

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Example Questions

Example Question #81 : Identifying Punctuation Errors

Select the underlined word or words that need to be changed to make the sentence correct. Some sentences may not contain an error.

I was always reluctant to go over to the Hudson’s house; they never cleaned, and the place usually smelled like old food and unwashed laundry. No error.

Possible Answers:

Hudson's

house;

No error.

cleaned,

was always reluctant

Correct answer:

Hudson's

Explanation:

Because the house belongs to all the Hudsons, the plural possessive is needed. To form the plural possessive, we put the apostrophe after the “s” and make the correct form: “Hudsons’ house.” The semicolon is used correctly here, as it separates two independent clauses. The comma is also used correctly, as it separates two independent clauses that are linked by the conjunction “and.”

Example Question #81 : Identifying Punctuation Errors

Select the underlined word or phrase that needs to be changed to make the sentence correct. Some sentences contain no error at all.

All of the teachers were surprised by the childrens' dedication to their dance class routines, and were sure they would all do well on their final performances. No error

Possible Answers:

No error 

all 

childrens'

were sure

dance

Correct answer:

childrens'

Explanation:

The error in this sentence is that the possessive form of the irregular plural noun "children" is incorrect—it is "children's" rather than "childrens'."

Example Question #83 : Identifying Punctuation Errors

Select the underlined word or phrase that needs to be changed to make the sentence correct. Some sentences contain no error at all.

Early last night, my family and I visited the Jones's at their brand-new home. No error

Possible Answers:

Early

Staunton, Virginia

No error

Jones's

my family and I

Correct answer:

Jones's

Explanation:

"Early" correctly modifies "last night." "My family and I" is the subject of the sentence and therefore illustrates the correct usage of "I" as opposed to "me." "Brand-new" is appropriately connected by a hyphen, as the two words are functioning together as an adjective modifying "home." The sentence's error is found in the word "Jones's," which has an unnecessary apostrophe. "Jones" is not a possessive noun in this case, so there should be no apostrophe; the sentence could be corrected by changing "Jones's" to "Joneses."

Example Question #84 : Identifying Punctuation Errors

Select the underlined word or phrase that needs to be changed to make the sentence correct. Some sentences contain no error at all.

Four different travel groups's bags were taken from the airport on the same day. No error

Possible Answers:

groups's

Four

same day

airport

No error

Correct answer:

groups's

Explanation:

Use an apostrophe to indicate possession. If the noun ends in "s" then the apostrophe should follow the "s." If the noun does not end in "s" then add an "s" after the apostrophe. The sentence above makes the error of adding an additional "s" after the apostrophe for a noun that ends in "s."

Example Question #85 : Identifying Punctuation Errors

Select the underlined word or phrase that needs to be changed to make the sentence correct. Some sentences contain no error at all.

A single piece of evidence swayed the final jurors' opinion. No error

Possible Answers:

No error

opinion.

single

jurors'

evidence

Correct answer:

jurors'

Explanation:

Use an apostrophe to indicate possession. If the noun ends in "s" then the apostrophe should follow the "s." If the noun does not end in "s" then add an "s" after the apostrophe. The sentence above should have the "jurors'" changed to "juror's." While "jurors" is often a plural noun (there are twelve members of a standard U.S jury), in this case "the final juror" is one person, and thus a singular noun.

Example Question #91 : Identifying Punctuation Errors: Other Punctuation

Select the underlined word or phrase that needs to be changed to make the sentence correct. Some sentences contain no error at all.

"Im sorry," said the Professor"I cannot raise your grade at this time." No error

Possible Answers:

No error

professor

Im

"I cannot

time."

Correct answer:

Im

Explanation:

The words "I am" may be contracted into "I'm." The contraction as written above is missing an apostrophe, which should be corrected.

Example Question #12 : Identifying Apostrophe Errors

Select the underlined word or phrase that needs to be changed to make the sentence correct. Some sentences contain no error at all.

I can't believe that someone would steal everyones' stuff. No error

Possible Answers:

can't

stuff.

everyones'

someone

No error

Correct answer:

everyones'

Explanation:

In spite of the fact that it describes more than one person, "everyone" is a singular noun. To correctly indicate possession when using "everyone" simply add an apostrophe and an "s" to the end of the word. The sentence above incorrectly places an "s" before the apostrophe at the end of "everyone."  

Example Question #13 : Identifying Apostrophe Errors

Select the underlined word or phrase that needs to be changed to make the sentence correct. Some sentences contain no error at all.

The couple started to look for a new chair for their apartment; their old one lost one of it's legs. No error

Possible Answers:

apartment;

No error

the couple

it's

their

Correct answer:

it's

Explanation:

The error is "it's" because "it's" is short for "it is" and "their old [chair] lost one of it is legs" doesn't make sense. The correction is to use "its" rather than "it's" because "its" indicates possession and the chair possesses its legs. A corrected sentence would look like this: The couple started to look for a new chair for their apartment; their old one lost one of its legs.

Example Question #14 : Identifying Apostrophe Errors

Select the underlined word or phrase that needs to be changed to make the sentence correct. Some sentences contain no error at all.

After the scandal, the whole communitys' sense of trust was shattered. No error

Possible Answers:

No error

communitys'

After the scandal,

trust

was shattered.

Correct answer:

communitys'

Explanation:

Use an apostrophe to indicate possession, if the noun ends in "s," then the apostrophe should follow the "s." If the noun does not end in "s," then add an "s" after the apostrophe. "Community" is a singular noun that does not end in "s," therefore to indicate possession with the word "community," you must write "community's."

Example Question #11 : Identifying Apostrophe Errors

Select the underlined word or phrase that needs to be changed to make the sentence correct. Some sentences contain no error at all.

The strange beast had hurt its paw; it was roaring loudly. No error

Possible Answers:

No error

roaring loudly. 

paw;

its

The strange beast

Correct answer:

No error

Explanation:

When one wishes to convey possession with the pronoun "it," "its" is the correct construction. The sentence above contains no error and is correct as written.

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