SAT Writing : Identifying Punctuation Errors: Commas in Lists

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for SAT Writing

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Example Questions

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Example Question #1102 : Identifying Sentence Errors

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 would like for you to call your mother take out the trash and walk the dog within the next hour.

Possible Answers:

I would like for you to call your mother take out the trash, and walk the dog within the next hour.

I would like for you to: call your mother, take out the trash, and walk the dog within the next hour.

I would like for you to: call your mother, take out the trash, and walk the dog, within the next hour.

I would like for you to call your mother, take out the trash, and walk the dog within the next hour.

I would like for you to call your mother take out the trash and walk the dog within the next hour.

Correct answer:

I would like for you to call your mother, take out the trash, and walk the dog within the next hour.

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 best way to correct the underlined portion above is, I would like for you to call your mother, take out the trash, and walk the dog within the next hour.

Example Question #1103 : Identifying Sentence Errors

Few people have the skills to play professional sports, being deficient in jumping running, or leaping ability.

Possible Answers:

in jumping, running, or leaping ability.

in jumping running, or leaping ability.

for jumping running, or leaping ability.

through jumping running, or leaping ability.

in jumping running or leaping ability.

Correct answer:

in jumping, running, or leaping ability.

Explanation:

The only problem with the underlined portion of the sentence is that the list mentioned has a poorly punctuated series, or list of items. All such lists need to be separated out in some fashion, usually by commas. Thus, "in jumping, running, or leaping ability" is the correct answer choice.

Example Question #1104 : 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.

There three things I enjoy the most are: spending time with my dog, reading great books, enjoying the outdoors. No error

Possible Answers:

most are:

There three things I

reading great books, enjoying the outdoors.

No error

spending time with my dog

Correct answer:

reading great books, enjoying the outdoors.

Explanation:

Every time there is a list of three or items in a sentence, those things must be separated by commas, conjunctions, or both. The second and third items of the list must always be separated by a comma, or a conjunction and a comma. The conjunction is missing from between the second and third items in the list above, and this should be corrected.

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