SAT Writing : Identifying Punctuation Errors: Comma Splices

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for SAT Writing

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Example Questions

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Example Question #1064 : Identifying Sentence 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 have a lot of diverse and unique interests, perhaps the strangest interest of them all is that I really enjoy chopping peppers. No error

Possible Answers:

I have a lot

No error

I really

unique interests, 

strangest interest

Correct answer:

unique interests, 

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, something more than a comma is needed to separate the two clauses. Replacing the comma with a semicolon is probably the most concise way to fix this sentence, while keeping it one sentence. The portion of the sentence that needs to be corrected is, "unique interests,"

Example Question #1065 : Identifying Sentence 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've had an incredibly long day, I worked for almost eleven hours. No error

Possible Answers:

eleven hours.

for

day,

I've had

No error

Correct answer:

day,

Explanation:

In the example sentence both "I've had an incredibly long day" and "I worked for almost eleven hours" are acting as grammatically complete, independent clauses. Thus, the comma after "day" must either be replaced with a semicolon, or have a coordinating conjunction added after it. The other option would be to replace the comma with a period and make this compound sentence into two separate sentences.

Example Question #1066 : Identifying Sentence Errors

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

Paul found himself in a rather difficult situation the other day, he'd insulted nearly every other researcher on the base with his crass comments. No error

Possible Answers:

the other day, he'd

No error

Paul found himself

a rather difficult

every other researcher

Correct answer:

the other day, he'd

Explanation:

In the example above, something more than a comma is needed to separate the two clauses, as both clauses are independent, meaning they could act as their own grammatically complete sentence. Should you choose to connect two such clauses into a compound sentence your choices are to replace the comma with a semicolon (and no conjunction) or to add a coordinating conjunction after the comma. The portion of the sentence that needs to be corrected is, "the other day, he'd"

Example Question #1067 : Identifying Sentence Errors

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

It's been extraordinarily difficult to communicate with the outside world lately, I am worried that our communications tower has been damaged by the storms. No error

Possible Answers:

It's been extraordinarily

world lately, I am

our communications tower

No error

been damaged by the storms.

Correct answer:

world lately, I am

Explanation:

The example sentence makes a comma splice error by attempting to connect two independent clauses into a single compound sentence using only a comma. The comma after lately either needs an appropriate coordinating conjunction added after it, or needs to be replaced with a semicolon (and no accompanying conjunction).

Example Question #1068 : Identifying Sentence 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 got charged three hundred dollars at the box office, I had thought that one of the actors was going to purchase my ticket. No error

Possible Answers:

office, I had

dollars at 

I got charged 

that one

No error

Correct answer:

office, I had

Explanation:

When two independent clauses are joined only by a single comma, this results in an error known as the "comma splice." In the example above, something more than a comma is needed to separate the two clauses. The portion of the sentence that needs to be corrected is, "office, I had" 

The two, equally grammatically correct, options to fix this sentence would be to add an appropriate coordinating conjunction or to simply replace the comma with a semicolon.

Example Question #1069 : Identifying Sentence 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'm having a very hard time acting right now, I find myself easily distracted when I'm onstage. No error

Possible Answers:

I'm having

right now, I find

No error

very hard

easily distracted

Correct answer:

right now, I find

Explanation:

This sentence includes a comma splice. The comma between "now" and "I" either needs to be replaced with a semicolon or have an appropriate coordinating conjunction added after it. 

Note also that "I'm" is a correct contraction of "I am."

Example Question #1070 : Identifying Sentence Errors

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

You're one of the most irritating people I have ever met, I'm not a huge fan of the way you comport yourself. No error

Possible Answers:

You're one

met, I'm

irritating people

No error

you comport yourself.

Correct answer:

met, I'm

Explanation:

Here, the comma between "met" and "I'm" creates a comma splice, since it joins two independent clauses without an appropriate coordinating conjunction. The best option, stylistically and grammatically, to fix this sentence would be to add the coordinating conjunction "and" after the comma.

Example Question #41 : 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.

Hank can't stand a snitch, if you tell the teacher what he did he's going to come after you. No error

Possible Answers:

No error

he did he's

tell the teacher

Hank can't stand

snitch, if

Correct answer:

snitch, if

Explanation:

When two independent clauses are joined only by a single comma, this results in an error known as the "comma splice." In the example above, something more than a comma is needed to separate the two clauses. The portion of the sentence that needs to be corrected is, "snitch, if"

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