SAT Writing : Identifying Punctuation Errors: Commas in Lists

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for SAT Writing

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Example Questions

Example Question #61 : Identifying Punctuation Errors: Commas

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

Laura will need, stencils, paint, and gloves. No error

Possible Answers:

need,

and,

stencils,

No error

gloves.

Correct answer:

need,

Explanation:

Since "need" is a verb, it is not a part of the list of nouns. There does not need to be a comma after the word "need."

Example Question #62 : Identifying Punctuation Errors: Commas

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

Martha said she wanted to go shopping, eat ice cream and play leggos with her babysitter. No error

Possible Answers:

said

ice cream

No error

wanted

play

Correct answer:

ice cream

Explanation:

There should be a comma after "ice cream" since this is a list of activities Martha would like to do. A list of three or more items should have a comma followed by an "and" right before the last item in the list.

Example Question #1091 : 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.

Tom likes to swim, read, and hike in his free time. No error

Possible Answers:

to swim

likes

No error

read,

free

Correct answer:

No error

Explanation:

The sentence is correct. Since there is a list of activities that Tom enjoys doing, it is important to make sure the commas are in the correct places, which, in this case, they are.

Example Question #1092 : 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.

 The three main things I love about camping are: being outdoors, working with my hands, and spending time away from the hectic atmosphere of the office. No error

Possible Answers:

being outdoors, working with my hands, and spending time away from the hectic atmosphere of the office.

love

are:

The three main

No error

Correct answer:

No error

Explanation:

Every time there is a list of three or more things in a sentence, those things must be separated by commas. The last item in the list is correctly preceded by a conjunction and a comma. The sentence above is correct as it is written. The best answer is "No error."

Example Question #232 : 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.

It's quite hard to get through the workday for a handful of reasons: the hours are long the pay is quite poor, and I am not treated well by my boss. No error

Possible Answers:

No error

poor, and

It's quite hard to get through

long the pay

treated well

Correct answer:

long the pay

Explanation:

Every time there is a list of three or more items in a sentence, those things must be separated by commas, conjunctions, or both. In the sentence above, there is a comma missing between the first two items of the list that follows the colon. Each item in the list must be separated.

Example Question #234 : 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.

There are several ways to solve your rat problem: you can call an exterminator you can ask your friends for help, or you can move. No error

Possible Answers:

exterminator you

or you can move.

friends

No error

problem:

Correct answer:

exterminator you

Explanation:

Every time there is a list of three or more things in a sentence, the items in the list must be separated by commas. In the provided sentence, there is a comma missing between the first two items of the list that follows the colon.

Example Question #235 : 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.

The campers, and their counselors decided not to let the rain bother them; they continued with their plans to fish, hike, and swim before supper. No error

Possible Answers:

campers,

fish,

hike,

swim

No error

Correct answer:

campers,

Explanation:

The list of "campers and their counselors" does not need a comma. Commas are only necessary in lists of three or more items, and this list only has two items. Therefore, "campers," must be changed. The use of a comma with the conjunction "and" signals a shift from one independent clause to another, which is not the case here.

Example Question #236 : 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.

Though Chloe was usually a very amiable child, she tended to grumble, moan, and complain, when the weather became very hot. No error

Possible Answers:

grumble, 

child, 

complain,

moan,

No error

Correct answer:

complain,

Explanation:

In a list of three or more items, all items but the last must be followed by a comma. Therefore, in the list "grumble, moan, and complain," "complain" does not need to be followed by a comma because it is the last item in the list.

Example Question #3601 : Sat Writing

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 favorite shows have a few things in common: they have action they have drama and they have laughs.

Possible Answers:

My favorite shows have a few things in common they have action they have drama and they have laughs.

My favorite shows have a few things in common: they have action, they have drama, and they have laughs.

My favorite shows have a few things in common: they have action they have drama and they have laughs.

My favorite shows have a few things in common, they have action they have drama, and they have laughs.

My favorite shows have a few things in common: they have action they have drama and, they have laughs.

Correct answer:

My favorite shows have a few things in common: they have action, they have drama, and they have laughs.

Explanation:

Every time there is a list of three or more things in a sentence, those things must be separated by commas, conjunctions, or both. The example sentence is missing two commas. The best way to correct the underlined portion above is: My favorite shows have a few things in common: they have action, they have drama, and they have laughs.

Example Question #3601 : Sat Writing

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 need the following items from Target: a pencil; a notepad and a backpack.

Possible Answers:

I need the following items from Target: a pencil, a notepad, and a backpack.

I need the following items from Target: a pencil a notepad and, a backpack.

I need the following items from Target a pencil a notepad, and a backpack.

I need the following items from Target: a pencil a notepad, and a backpack.

I need the following items from Target: a pencil a notepad and a backpack.

Correct answer:

I need the following items from Target: a pencil, a notepad, and a backpack.

Explanation:

Every time there is a list of three or more things in a sentence, those things must be separated by commas, conjunctions, or both. The sentence above uses just one semicolon, which is both an incorrect choice of punctuation mark, and insufficient in number. The best way to correct the underlined portion above is, "I need the following items from Target: a pencil, a notepad, and a backpack."

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