SAT Writing : Identifying Apostrophe Errors

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for SAT Writing

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Example Questions

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.

In all three vital trials, the juries' verdicts were still being debatedNo error

Possible Answers:

debated

In

juries'

No error

vital trials,

Correct answer:

No error

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. Therefore, to indicate possession with "juries," you merely need to add an apostrophe after the "s." The sentence above is correct as written.

Example Question #22 : Identifying Apostrophe Errors

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

Hunters in the boreal region have complained about the statewide hunting sanctions, since the local deers’ prevalence has led to the destruction of many valuable crops. No error

Possible Answers:

boreal region

sanctions

has led to

the local deers’

No error

Correct answer:

the local deers’

Explanation:

The plural of deer is “deer,” not “deers,” so the correct possessive form would be “deer’s.” Everything else in the sentence is grammatically correct. 

Example Question #23 : 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.

There were rumors that the teacher’s lounge was getting a new vending machine, but these rumors were belied by an announcement about school budget cuts. No error

Possible Answers:

the teacher’s lounge

No error

machine,

but these

about school budget cuts.

Correct answer:

the teacher’s lounge

Explanation:

Because multiple teachers work at the school and use the lounge, we need a plural possessive: “teachers’ lounge” is the correct form. (Since we have two independent clauses joined with a conjunction, the correct punctuation mark before “but” is a comma and not a semicolon.)

Example Question #24 : 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.

Students who have attended parochial school will often remember how to say Our Father’s and other prayers long after they leave; the constant repetition ensures that the words are ingrained in graduates’ memories. No error

Possible Answers:

graduates’

long after they leave;

No error

parochial

Our Father’s

Correct answer:

Our Father’s

Explanation:

No apostrophe is needed to form this plural. The correct plural of “Our Father” is “Our Fathers.” The semicolon is correctly separating the two independent clauses here.

Example Question #25 : 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.

Some of my fondest childhood memories involve going over to the Singhs’ house and playing in the woods in their backyard; I imagined elaborate kingdoms full of dragons and princesses in the copses and thickets. No error

Possible Answers:

No error

backyard

copses and thickets

Singhs’

involve going over

Correct answer:

Singhs’

Explanation:

The narrator of this sentence is talking about the house belonging to the Singhs (plural), not the Singh (singular), so the correct possessive form is “the Singhs’ house.” Here, a semicolon is correctly separating the two independent clauses.

Example Question #26 : 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.

Due to the many alumnis’ generous support, the campaign was a smashing success, and the university was able to build a new woodworking studio for the art department. No error

Possible Answers:

woodworking

the many alumnis’

smashing

success,

No error

Correct answer:

the many alumnis’

Explanation:

The plural of alumnus is alumni, not alumnis, so the correct possessive is “alumni’s generous support.” Here, a comma is needed after the dependent clause (“Due to the many alumni’s generous support”) and between the two independent clauses that are separated by a conjunction.

Example Question #27 : 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 scientists, all eminent in their fields, were so busy entering figures into the computer that they failed to notice the datas’ glaring inconsistencies. No error

Possible Answers:

scientists, 

fields,

eminent

datas’

No error

Correct answer:

datas’

Explanation:

Data is the correct plural, not datas (the singular is actually datum), so the correct plural possessive is simple “data’s glaring inconsistencies.”

Example Question #28 : 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.

My work involves studying the common starlings prevalence in various urban and suburban habitats; as such, I do extensive fieldwork every year. No error

Possible Answers:

My work involves studying

as such,

habitats;

No error

common starlings

Correct answer:

common starlings

Explanation:

In the original sentence, “the common starlings” is incorrect. It should be a singular possessive noun: “the common starling’s prevalence.” Although the scientist is obviously studying more than one starling, he or she is talking about the single species, so “the common starling” is a singular noun.

Example Question #29 : 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.

Many students are first exposed to Descarte’s philosophy in high school, but it isn’t until college or even graduate school that they can begin to fully articulate his more complex concepts. No error

Possible Answers:

high school

it isn’t until

No error

Descarte’s

they can begin to

Correct answer:

Descarte’s

Explanation:

Here, an apostrophe is incorrectly breaking up philosopher René Descartes’ name. The apostrophe should come after the ‘s’ and not before it.

Example Question #30 : 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 watching your dog, I’ve reached the conclusion that it doesn’t like to have its’ head stroked or its belly rubbed. No error

Possible Answers:

its

dog,

I’ve reached the conclusion that

No error

its’

Correct answer:

its’

Explanation:

The correct possessive of the pronoun “it” is “its” without an apostrophe. Therefore, the correct phrase should be “it doesn’t like to have its head stroked.” The rest of the punctuation and phrases in the sentence are correct.

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