SAT Writing : Identifying Quotation Mark Errors

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 #11 : Identifying Quotation Mark 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 I heard the police say “they were looking for a man with a rose tattoo and a scar across his face,” I realized I had seen the suspect getting into a red car earlier today. No error

Possible Answers:

No error

had seen

getting into

say

“they were looking for a man with a rose tattoo and a scar across his face,”

Correct answer:

“they were looking for a man with a rose tattoo and a scar across his face,”

Explanation:

Here, the quotation marks are unnecessary. The text inside the quotation marks is indirect speech—that is, it isn’t a direct quote from the police, but rather a paraphrase. Quotation marks are never used for indirect speech, only direct speech.

Example Question #12 : Identifying Quotation Mark Errors

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

In order to make a perfect pie crust, you need to use plenty of shortening”, the baker told his family. No error

Possible Answers:

shortening",

In order to

crust,

No error

plenty of

Correct answer:

shortening",

Explanation:

The convention in written English is to put the comma inside the quotation marks when separating a line of direct speech from its dialogue tag. In this sentence, the second comma should come between the word “shortening” and the quotation mark.

Example Question #13 : Identifying Quotation Mark 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 mating ritual of the Andean flamingo is elaborate, intricate, and a little bit funny”, the biologist told his students. No error

Possible Answers:

No error

the Andean flamingo

intricate, and

funny",

The mating ritual

Correct answer:

funny",

Explanation:

The convention in written English is to put the comma inside the quotation marks when separating a line of direct speech from its dialogue tag. In this sentence, the second comma should come between the word “funny” and the quotation mark.

Example Question #11 : Identifying Quotation Mark Errors

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

Larry told his brother that “he’d never been so impressed with a company, not in all his years in the industry. No error

Possible Answers:

company,

No error

"he'd

that

industry.

Correct answer:

"he'd

Explanation:

In this sentence, the quotation mark before “he’d” is unnecessary. The entire sentence is indirect speech; that is, it isn’t a direct quote from Larry, but rather an approximation of what he said. Quotation marks are never used for indirect speech, only direct speech.

Example Question #15 : Identifying Quotation Mark 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 hate Tyrannosaurus rex!”, the toddler shrieked, beginning the day’s first of many tantrums at the Natural History Museum. No error

Possible Answers:

No error

"I

rex!",

shrieked,

the day's first

Correct answer:

rex!",

Explanation:

Because the sentence inside the quotation already contains an exclamation mark, the comma immediately after the quotation marks is redundant. Only the exclamation mark (properly placed inside the quotation marks) is necessary.

Example Question #16 : Identifying Quotation Mark Errors

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

"Wow", exclaimed Annie, "I am having the time of my life!" No error

Possible Answers:

No error

"I am

Annie,

life!"

"Wow",

Correct answer:

"Wow",

Explanation:

Quotation marks, used to indicate the reproduction of direct speech, should always precede the first letter of the quotation, and follow the final punctuation mark of the quotation. If there is an intervening part of the sentence in the middle of a quotation, then it should be separated from the quotation marks by punctuation. The sentence above places the comma outside of the quotation marks after "wow," and thus commits a quotation mark error. Note that the comma after Annie is correctly placed outside of the second set of quotation marks, and the exclamation mark at the end of the sentence is correctly placed within quotation marks.

Example Question #17 : Identifying Quotation Mark 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 hate playing this game with you, said Donna. No error

Possible Answers:

Donna.

you,

"I

playing

No error

Correct answer:

you,

Explanation:

Quotation marks, used to indicate direct quotation, should always precede the first letter of the quotation and follow the final punctuation mark of the quotation. If there is an intervening part of the sentence in the middle of a quotation, then it should be separated from the quotation marks by punctuation. The sentence above is missing quotation marks after the comma after the word "you." "Said" or the name of the person who is speaking is a good indicator that the clause prior should be closed off with a quotation mark.

Example Question #18 : Identifying Quotation Mark 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 cried out, This is a really bad time for me, please have some pity!" No error

Possible Answers:

out, This

a really bad

No error

pity!"

me, please

Correct answer:

out, This

Explanation:

When directly reproducing speech or writing verbatim, one must use quotation marks. If there is an intervening part of the sentence in the middle of a quotation, then it should be separated from the quotation marks by punctuation. The sentence above is missing quotation marks between the comma and the "This." When a sentence has a quotation mark at the end, there will always be a quotation mark at the beginning of the quotation.

Example Question #19 : Identifying Quotation Mark 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 cannot tolerate any further failure on your part," said the Senator. "You must succeed going forward." No error

Possible Answers:

," said

No error

Senator

"I cannot 

forward."

Correct answer:

No error

Explanation:

Quotation marks, used to convey that someone is speaking, should always precede the first letter of the quotation, and follow the final punctuation mark of the quotation. If there is an intervening part of the sentence in the middle of a quotation, then it should be separated from the quotation marks by punctuation. The example sentence correctly uses quotation marks, and uses the correct punctuation both inside and outside the quotation marks; thus the sentence is correct as written.

Example Question #20 : Identifying Quotation Mark Errors

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

This may be the most important day of your lives," the King said to his men. No error

Possible Answers:

lives," 

No error

This 

men.

King

Correct answer:

This 

Explanation:

The example sentence fails to correctly place a quotation mark before the first letter of the quoted material. The rest of the sentence is correctly punctuated and capitalized.

Learning Tools by Varsity Tutors