SAT Writing : Identifying Quotation Mark Errors

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for SAT Writing

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Example Questions

Example Question #131 : 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.

Before the subsitutute teacher left the room because she had too few books, she said, Keep working on the worksheet I handed out. No error

Possible Answers:

too few

books

said, Keep working on the worksheet I handed out.

because

no error

Correct answer:

said, Keep working on the worksheet I handed out.

Explanation:

This question is testing correct use of quotation marks. The error is that there are no quotation marks around "Keep working on the worksheet I handed out" because it is something the substitute teacher said directly. A corrected sentence would look like this: Before the subsitutute teacher left the room because she had too few books, she said, "Keep working on the worksheet I handed out." Or, if the substitute teacher said it indirectly, a corrected sentence could be this: Before the subsitutute teacher left the room because she had too few books, she said to keep working on the worksheet she handed out.

Example Question #21 : 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.

"First, we need to pick up the cake, and then we will go to the party store." said Emily. No error

Possible Answers:

, and

"First

." said

No error

go

Correct answer:

." said

Explanation:

When a quotation is followed by a description of who said it, such as "said Emily," the sentence within the quotation must end with a comma before the final quotation mark. 

Example Question #133 : 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. 

"If that clock is wrong, then what time is it?" asked Miranda. No error 

Possible Answers:

"If

wrong,

No error

it?"

asked

Correct answer:

No error

Explanation:

When the sentence within the quotation marks is a question, it must end with a question mark that lies before the second quotation mark. Then, the phrase describing who asked the question follows and ends with a period. 

Example Question #22 : 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 can't stand the old man's behavior in public," cried Angelina. He is so rude." No error

Possible Answers:

"I can't stand

Angelina. He

No error

man's behavior

rude."

Correct answer:

Angelina. He

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 best way to correct the sentence above is: "I can't stand the old man's behavior in public," cried Angelina. "He is so rude."

Example Question #23 : 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 very old man said "I need a lot of help to get through my day, but that doesn't get me down." No error

Possible Answers:

my day, but

down."

The very old man

said "I

No error

Correct answer:

said "I

Explanation:

Quotation marks, used to convey speech or direct quotation of written discourse, 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 best way to correct the sentence above is: "The very old man said, 'I need a lot of help to get through my day, but that doesn't get me down.'"

Example Question #24 : 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 can't stand it when my patients say to me, 'I don't want to take that medicine,' as if they are experts on the subject," said the doctor. No error

Possible Answers:

'I don't want to take that medicine,'

my patients say to me

"I can't stand

No error

said the doctor.

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. Additionally, when there is a quotation in the middle of another quotation, all of the normal rules apply, you merely have to use single quotation marks instead of double quotation marks. The sentence above is correct as written.

Example Question #25 : Identifying Quotation Mark Errors

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

"How much farther do we have to go?", she panted, her breathing coming hard as they began to run up a steep hill. No error

Possible Answers:

farther

panted,

No error

have

go?",

Correct answer:

go?",

Explanation:

In standard American English, quotations that end in an exclamation point or question mark require no further punctuation to set them off from the rest of the sentence; the comma following the quotation marks can be eliminated. 

Example Question #26 : Identifying Quotation Mark Errors

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

"Do any of us know where to go," he shrieked, desperate, as the rest of the group caught up with him. No error

Possible Answers:

with

shrieked,

No error

desperate,

go,"

Correct answer:

go,"

Explanation:

The speaker in the sentence is asking a question, and questions that are inside quotation marks should always be ended with a question mark. The comma is unnecessary when the quotation is not a statement, so the fixed sentence should read, "'Oh no, do any of us know where to go?' he shrieked..."

Example Question #27 : Identifying Quotation Mark Errors

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

As he washed his hands of the dye, he glanced up at a sign reminding employees "to wash their hands and report any health issues" before returning to their work. No error

Possible Answers:

"to wash their hands and report any health issues"

No error

dye,

their

reminding

Correct answer:

"to wash their hands and report any health issues"

Explanation:

Although the sentence does refer to what the sign says, quotation marks are inappropriate because the reference is an indirect quotation. The quotation marks can simply be removed to correct the sentence. If the sentence were rewritten to refer to the specific language the sign used, quotation marks would be correct. For example: As he washed his hands of the dye, he glanced up at a sign blaring, "EMPLOYEES: Remember to wash your hands and report any health concerns to your superiors before returning to work." 

Example Question #28 : 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.

My doctor said, "If you continue to drink this much soda, you're going to suffer later in life. No error

Possible Answers:

My doctor said, 

in life.

soda, you're

continue to drink this

No error

Correct answer:

in life.

Explanation:

Quotation marks, used to convey that direct speech or wording, 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. This sentence is missing a close-quote after the period.

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