SAT Writing : Identifying Punctuation Errors: Comma Splices

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for SAT Writing

varsity tutors app store varsity tutors android store varsity tutors amazon store varsity tutors ibooks store

Example Questions

Example Question #21 : Identifying Punctuation Errors: Comma Splices

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

Paul really likes oranges, Chani really likes apples. No error

Possible Answers:

apples.

oranges,

Paul

really

No error

Correct answer:

oranges,

Explanation:

When two independent clauses are joined only by a single comma, this results in an error known as a "comma splice." In the example above, the two independent clauses could be correctly connected by a semicolon or a comma followed by a conjunction (e.g. "and" or "but"). In addition, the two independent clauses could be made into distinct sentences.

Example Question #22 : Identifying Punctuation Errors: Comma Splices

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

Stanley already paid the cashier, he cannot get his money back. No error

Possible Answers:

get

cashier, he

back

No error

already

Correct answer:

cashier, he

Explanation:

The sentence given is an example of a comma splice. A comma cannot join together two independent clauses. The two clauses can be made into two separate sentences, or can be joined using a semicolon instead of a comma. 

Example Question #23 : Identifying Punctuation Errors: Comma Splices

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

I bought two hundred specialized sheets of paper for the project, John bought some colored pencils. No error

Possible Answers:

project, John

colored pencils.

specialized sheets

No error

I bought two

Correct answer:

project, John

Explanation:

Two independent clauses being joined only by a single comma result in an error known as the "comma splice." In the example above, a period, a comma and a conjunction, or a semicolon would all be appropriate to punctuate the sentence.

Example Question #24 : Identifying Punctuation Errors: Comma Splices

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

My friend Paul is the best baseball player I have ever seen, he has incredible athleticism, a great attitude, and an uncanny ability to be in the right place at the right time. No error

Possible Answers:

My friend Paul

No error

a great attitude, and an uncanny ability

seen, he

best

Correct answer:

seen, he

Explanation:

When two independent clauses are joined only by a single comma, this results in an error known as the "comma splice." Since both of the clauses in the example above are independent, they could stand on their own as full, grammatically complete sentences, a semicolon, period, or comma and a conjunction would be needed to properly punctuate the sentences (or compound sentence).

Example Question #25 : Identifying Punctuation Errors: Comma Splices

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

The truth of the matter is that it's not acceptable to treat people that way, you have to behave more generously in the future. No error

Possible Answers:

it's

The truth of the matter

No error

way, you

behave more generously in the future

Correct answer:

way, you

Explanation:

The example sentence attempts to create a compound sentence using only a comma, thus creating a comma splice. In the example above, something more than a comma is needed to separate the two clauses. 

Example Question #26 : Identifying Punctuation Errors: Comma Splices

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

Anna, Hannah, and their sister, Susanna, are all my cousins; it’s no wonder we get confused at family reunions. No error

Possible Answers:

sister,

Hannah,

cousins;

Susanna

No error

Correct answer:

No error

Explanation:

This list is punctuated correctly. There should be a comma between each item in the list and an additional comma on either side of “Susanna,” which modifies “their sister.” (If “their sister, Susanna,” was the first or second item in the list, a semicolon would be needed to separate the items for clarity’s sake, but here it’s unnecessary.) In the second half of the sentence, a semicolon correctly separates the two independent clauses without a conjunction.

Example Question #27 : Identifying Punctuation Errors: Comma Splices

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

Although certainly the best known of the early aviators, Orville and Wilbur Wright were not the only inventors pioneering airplane designs, the Montgolfier brothers should also be remembered for their timely rediscovery of the hot-air balloon. No error

Possible Answers:

for their timely

designs,

No error

aviators,

the only inventors pioneering

Correct answer:

designs,

Explanation:

Here we have a comma splice: two independent clauses that are incorrectly separated by a comma. Two independent clauses in the same sentence must be punctuated by either a comma with a conjunction or a semicolon. Correctly punctuated, this sentence would read: “Although certainly the best known of the early aviators, Orville and Wilbur Wright were not the only inventors pioneering airplane designs; the Montgolfier brothers should also be remembered for their timely rediscovery of the hot-air balloon.” The comma after “aviators” is correct, since it’s separating an independent from a dependent clause.

Example Question #28 : Identifying Punctuation Errors: Comma Splices

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

The inhabitants of Ulan Bator inhabit a unique cultural juxtaposition, they are in a cosmopolitan city with a population of more than 1 million residents, but they are also influenced by a nomadic heritage. No error

Possible Answers:

juxtaposition,

nomadic heritage

residents,

No error

they are in a cosmopolitan city

Correct answer:

juxtaposition,

Explanation:

Here we have a comma splice: the first two independent clauses in this sentence are incorrectly separated by a comma. (The latter two of the three independent clauses are correctly punctuated with a comma and a conjunction word.) Multiple independent clauses in the same sentence must be punctuated by either a comma with a conjunction or a semicolon. Accurately punctuated, the sentence should appear as follows: “The inhabitants of Ulan Bator inhabit a unique cultural juxtaposition; they are in a cosmopolitan city with a population of more than 1 million residents, but they are also influenced by a nomadic heritage.” 

Example Question #29 : Identifying Punctuation Errors: Comma Splices

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

Contrary to popular belief, the artisanal cheese-makers did not live a decadent, gourmet lifestyle, they had to scrimp and save on their personal grocery expenditures in order to keep their business afloat. No error

Possible Answers:

belief,

on their personal grocery expenditures

decadent, gourmet

lifestyle

No error

Correct answer:

lifestyle

Explanation:

Here we have a comma splice: two independent clauses that are incorrectly separated by a comma. Two independent clauses in the same sentence must be punctuated by either a comma with a conjunction or a semicolon. Correctly punctuated, this sentence would read: “Contrary to popular belief, the artisanal cheese-makers did not live a decadent, gourmet lifestyle; they had to scrimp and save on their personal grocery expenditures in order to keep their business afloat.” Elsewhere, commas are correctly separating two adjectives in a list and an independent clause from a dependent clause.

Example Question #30 : Identifying Punctuation Errors: Comma Splices

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

Lee has always been a proponent of tighter gun regulations, he believes countries that enforce strict firearms laws are generally more peaceful, safe, and open-minded than those that don’t. No error

Possible Answers:

gun regulations,

a proponent of

that enforce

peaceful, safe, and open-minded

No error

Correct answer:

gun regulations,

Explanation:

Here we have a comma splice: two independent clauses that are incorrectly separated by a comma and should instead be punctuated by either a comma with a conjunction or a semicolon. Written correctly, this sentence would read: “Lee has always been a proponent of tighter gun regulations; he believes countries that enforce strict firearms laws are generally more peaceful, safe, and open-minded than those that don’t.” At the end of the sentence, commas are appearing correctly to punctuate the list.

Learning Tools by Varsity Tutors