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Basic Writing Skills Success Practice Test

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Updated on Aug 25, 2011

Take this writing skills practice test to evaluate your writing and grammar skills.

When you complete this test, grade yourself, and then compare your score with your score on the Introductory Writing Skills Success Practice Test.  If your score now is much greater, congratulations—you've profited noticeably from your hard work. If your score shows little improvement, perhaps you should review. Do you notice a pattern to the types of questions you got wrong?

There's an answer sheet you can use for filling in the correct answers. Or, if you prefer, simply circle the answer numbers. Take as much time as you need to do this short test. When you finish, check your answers against the answer key that follows.

Practice Test

  1. Which of the following is a sentence fragment (not a complete sentence)?
    1. The memo was distributed on Friday.
    2. Although the managers and the support staff had been called.
    3. The company was being acquired by a large corporation.
    4. Be sure to attend the meeting.
  2. Which version is correctly capitalized?
    1. After we headed west on interstate 70, my uncle Paul informed us that his Ford Taurus was almost out of gas.
    2. After we headed west on Interstate 70, my Uncle Paul informed us that his Ford Taurus was almost out of gas.
    3. After we headed West on Interstate 70, my Uncle Paul informed us that his Ford Taurus was almost out of gas.
    4. After we headed West on interstate 70, my Uncle Paul informed us that his Ford taurus was almost out of gas.
  3. Which version is punctuated correctly?
    1. That building, with the copper dome is our state capitol.
    2. That building with the copper dome, is our state capitol.
    3. That building, with the copper dome, is our state capitol.
    4. That building with the copper dome is our state capitol.
  4. Which version is punctuated correctly?
    1. The temperature was 80 degrees at noon; by 6:00 p.m. it had dropped to below 40.
    2. The temperature was 80 degrees at noon, by 6:00 p.m. it had dropped to below 40.
    3. The temperature was 80 degrees at noon by 6:00 p.m., it had dropped to below 40.
    4. The temperature was 80 degrees at noon by 6:00 p.m. it had dropped to below 40.
  5. Which version is punctuated correctly?
    1. It was one managers' idea to give us a month's vacation.
    2. It was one manager's idea to give us a months vacation.
    3. It was one manager's idea to give us a month's vacation.
    4. It was one managers idea to give us a month's vacation.
  6. Which version is punctuated correctly?
    1. "Watch out! yelled the police officer. There's an accident ahead."
    2. "Watch out!" yelled the police officer. "There's an accident ahead."
    3. "Watch out"! yelled the police officer. "There's an accident ahead."
    4. "Watch out! yelled the police officer." "There's an accident ahead."
  7. Which version used parentheses correctly?
    1. We celebrated one wedding anniversary (we'd been married five years at the time), by spending a week in Italy.
    2. We celebrated (one wedding anniversary) we'd been married five years at the time, by spending a week in Italy.
    3. We celebrated one wedding anniversary we'd been married five years at the time, (by spending a week in Italy).
    4. We celebrated one wedding anniversary we'd been married (five years at the time), by spending a week in Italy.
  8. Choose the subject that agrees with the verb in the following sentence.
  9. _____of the musicians have arrived at the concert.

    1. Each
    2. Neither
    3. One
    4. Two
  10. Which of the following sentences is most clearly and correctly written?
    1. Bart told us all about the fish he caught while waiting in line at the movie theater.
    2. At the movie theater, Bart told us about the fish he caught while we waited in line.
    3. As we waited in line at the movie theater, Bart told us about the fish he caught.
    4. As we waited in line, Bart told us about the fish he caught at the movie theater.
  11. Which version is in the active voice?
    1. The president of the P.T.A. requested donations for the new auditorium.
    2. For the new auditorium, donations had been requested by the P.T.A. president.
    3. Donations for the new auditorium were requested by the president of the P.T.A.
    4. Donations were requested by the P.T.A. president for the new auditorium.
  12. Which version has a consistent point of view?
    1. Last Sunday, we went canoeing on the Platte River. You could see bald eagles high in the trees above us.
    2. While we were canoeing last Sunday on the Platte River, high in the trees above us, you could see bald eagles.
    3. We went canoeing last Sunday on the Platte River, and high in the trees above us, we could see bald eagles.
    4. High in the trees above, the bald eagles were looking down at you, as we canoed on the Platte River last Sunday.
  13. Which version uses punctuation correctly?
    1. Help! Do you know where I can find a babysitter on such short notice.
    2. Help! Do you know where I can find a babysitter on such short notice?
    3. Help? Do you know where I can find a babysitter on such short notice!
    4. Help: Do you know where I can find a babysitter on such short notice?
  14. Which of the underlined words in the following sentence should be capitalized?
  15. My brother has been teaching history at the university of California since last fall.

    1. Brother
    2. History
    3. University
    4. Fall

    For questions 14 and 15, choose the correct verb form.

  16. When she was asked which employee should be promoted, Ms. Garcia _____Caroline Martin.
    1. has chosen
    2. choosed
    3. choose
    4. chose
  17. The snow _____ to fall late yesterday afternoon.
    1. began
    2. begun
    3. had began
    4. begins
  18. Which version is most clearly and correctly written?
    1. Jeff told Nathan that his car battery was dead.
    2. When Jeff spoke to Nathan, he said his car battery was dead.
    3. Jeff told Nathan about his dead car battery.
    4. Jeff told Nathan that the battery in Nathan's car was dead.
  19. For questions 17–19, choose the option that correctly completes the sentence.

  20. The cat _____in a patch of sun on the front porch.
    1. is laying
    2. is lying
    3. lays
    4. laid
  21. When I heard the unusual sound, I _____ walked through the house and searched each room very _____ .
    1. calmly, carefully
    2. calmly, careful
    3. calm, careful
    4. calm, carefully
  22. I have _____ idea how these _____ got in my sweater.
    1. know, wholes
    2. know, holes
    3. no, holes
    4. no, wholes
  23. Which of the following sentences contains a redundancy? (It repeats words that express the same idea.)
    1. Del shouted as loudly as he could, but no one heard him.
    2. Twenty minutes had passed before the fire trucks arrived.
    3. Yesterday, the senator made the same speech at three different locations.
    4. For a wide variety of different reasons, more people are using computers.
  24. Which version has a parallel structure?
    1. He is a man of many talents. He repairs small machines, he cooks gourmet meals, and you should see his lilies and orchids.
    2. He is a man of many talents. There's a talent for repairing small machines, he cooks gourmet meals, and then there are the lilies and orchids.
    3. He is a man of many talents. He repairs small machines, he cooks gourmet meals, and he grows lilies and orchids.
    4. He is a man of many talents: repairing small machines, cooking gourmet meals, and he grows lilies and orchids.
  25. Which of the following sentences contains a cliché?
    1. Looking for Harriet's ring was like searching for a needle in a haystack.
    2. The reason I can't have lunch with you is because I have a dentist appointment.
    3. The crooked fence looked like a row of teeth in need of braces.
    4. As costs go up, so do prices.
  26. Which version uses periods correctly?
    1. T.J. McCloud and Dr Sheila Brown will represent the U.S. at the 3 pm ceremony.
    2. T.J. McCloud and Dr. Sheila Brown will represent the U.S. at the 3 p.m. ceremony.
    3. T.J. McCloud and Dr. Sheila Brown will represent the US at the 3 p.m. ceremony.
    4. TJ McCloud and Dr Sheila Brown will represent the U.S. at the 3 pm ceremony.
  27. Which version is correctly capitalized?
    1. Many Meteorologists are predicting that the West will have the wettest winter on record.
    2. Many meteorologists are predicting that the west will have the wettest winter on record.
    3. Many Meteorologists are predicting that the West will have the wettest Winter on record.
    4. Many meteorologists are predicting that the West will have the wettest winter on record.
  28. Three of the following sentences are either runons or comma splices. Which one is NOT?
    1. A group of lions is called a pride a group of elephants is called a herd.
    2. Josh told me he would meet us at the zoo at noon, he never showed up.
    3. We waited three hours, finally, Karen decided to give him a call.
    4. A young sheep is known as a lamb, but a young goat is known as a kid.
  29. Which version is punctuated correctly?
    1. There are many reasons—aside from the obvious ones—why she is not the right person for this job.
    2. There are many reasons: aside from the obvious ones—why she is not the right person for this job.
    3. There are many reasons—aside from the obvious ones, why she is not the right person for this job.
    4. There are many reasons aside from the obvious ones—why she is not the right person for this job.
  30. Which is the correct punctuation for the underlined portion?
  31. The explosion broke several windows in the factory however no one was injured.

    1. factory, however
    2. factory however;
    3. factory; however,
    4. factory, however;
  32. Which version uses hyphens correctly?
    1. My soft-spoken brother-in-law did not raise his voice when he saw that his car had been damaged in the parking-lot.
    2. My soft spoken brother-in-law did not raise his voice when he saw that his car had been damaged in the parking-lot.
    3. My soft-spoken brother-in-law did not raise his voice when he saw that his car had been damaged in the parking lot.
    4. My soft-spoken brother in-law did not raise his voice when he saw that his car had been damaged in the parking lot.
  33. Which version is punctuated correctly?
    1. Ms. Jeffers who is my physics teacher, coaches the girls' basketball team.
    2. Ms. Jeffers, who is my physics teacher, coaches the girls' basketball team.
    3. Ms. Jeffers who is my physics teacher coaches the girls' basketball team.
    4. Ms. Jeffers who, is my physics teacher, coaches the girls' basketball team.
  34. For questions 30–34, choose the option that correctly completes the sentence.

  35. Several manuals, each with detailed instructions, _____with your new computer.
    1. were sent
    2. was sent
    3. has been sent
    4. sent
  36. Jessica and _____are looking in the grass for one of her earrings;_____ will be hard to find.
    1. me, it
    2. me, they
    3. I, they
    4. I, it
  37. Yesterday, I _____my watch on this table, but now _____ gone.
    1. set, it's
    2. set, its
    3. sat, its
    4. sat, it's
  38. I didn't want Lisa's _____because I knew she would tell me not to _____ the job.
    1. advice, except
    2. advice, accept
    3. advise, accept
    4. advise, except
  39. Carlos _____ the basketball team because he had _____many sports-related injuries.
    1. quite, too
    2. quite, to
    3. quit, to
    4. quit, too
  40. Which version is punctuated correctly?
    1. The recreation center will show the following movies: Charlotte's Web, Jungle Book, and Annie, the cost will be $2.50 per ticket.
    2. The recreation center will show the following movies; Charlotte's Web, Jungle Book, and Annie; the cost will be $2.50 per ticket.
    3. The recreation center will show the following movies: Charlotte's Web, Jungle Book, and Annie. The cost will be $2.50 per ticket.
    4. The recreation center will show the following movies—Charlotte's Web, Jungle Book, and Annie. The cost will be $2.50 per ticket.
  41. Which version is punctuated correctly?
    1. Excited about her European vacation Eva spent hours in the bookstore looking at travel guides.
    2. Excited about her European vacation, Eva, spent hours in the bookstore looking at travel guides.
    3. Excited about her European vacation, Eva spent hours in the bookstore looking at travel guides.
    4. Excited about her European vacation Eva spent, hours in the bookstore looking at travel guides.
  42. Which version is punctuated correctly?
    1. The woman who lives across the street was born on July 4, 1922, in Washington, D.C.
    2. The woman, who lives across the street, was born on July 4, 1922, in Washington, D.C.
    3. The woman who lives across the street, was born on July 4, 1922 in Washington, D.C.
    4. The woman who lives across the street was born on July 4, 1922 in Washington D.C.
  43. For question 38, choose the correct verb tense.

  44. By next fall, I _____ to all fifty of the United States.
    1. would be
    2. should have been
    3. will have been
    4. had been
  45. Three of the following sentences are punctuated correctly. Which one is punctuated incorrectly?
    1. My son's baseball game was postponed; it was raining too hard.
    2. Because it was raining too hard; my son's baseball game was postponed.
    3. My son's baseball game was postponed because it was raining too hard.
    4. It was raining too hard, and my son's baseball game was postponed.
  46. Which of the following should NOT be hyphenated?
    1. one-fifteen in the morning
    2. the sixteenth-president of the United States
    3. a thirty-second commercial
    4. a thousand-dollar profit
  47. In which of the following sentences is the underlined verb NOT in agreement with the subject of the sentence?
    1. There is only one store that sells that brand.
    2. Why are the girls on the team so excited?
    3. Here are the shoes I wanted to show you.
    4. What is the causes of her constant complaints?
  48. In which of the following sentences is the underlined pronoun incorrectl?
    1. The teacher who won the award was her.
    2. He and I plan to visit you tomorrow.
    3. When can she come over for dinner?
    4. Both Michael and Steven will finish their homework early.
  49. Which version is punctuated correctly?
    1. Dianes' completed forms aren't in our files.
    2. Diane's completed forms are'nt in our files.
    3. Diane's completed forms' aren't in our files.
    4. Diane's completed forms aren't in our files.
  50. Which version is written correctly?
    1. Friends' was one of the most popular shows ever on television.
    2. Friends was one of the most popular shows ever on television.
    3. "Friends" was one of the most popular shows ever on television.
    4. FRIENDS was one of the most popular shows ever on television.
  51. Which of the following sentences is in the passive voice?
    1. Every morning this week, Zeke brought bagels to work.
    2. Each day, he selected several different kinds.
    3. Generally, more than half of the bagels were eaten before 9:00.
    4. We've asked him to stop because we've all gained a few pounds.
  52. We noticed the _____ of his cologne when he _____ in front of us.
    1. scent, past
    2. scent, passed
    3. sent, passed
    4. sent, past
  53. Ian is the _____of the triplets, but _____ all the members of his family, he is the only one with a talent for music.
    1. smallest, among
    2. smallest, between
    3. smaller, between
    4. smaller, among
  54. _____ the person _____ found my wallet.
    1. Your, who
    2. Your, which
    3. You're, that
    4. You're, who
  55. I _____ you thought he would be much older _____ I am.
    1. supposed, then
    2. suppose, then
    3. suppose, than
    4. supposed, than
  56. Evan doesn't like chocolate; he _____away his _____of cake.
    1. through, piece
    2. through, peace
    3. threw, peace
    4. threw, piece

 

Answers

  1. b
  2. b
  3. d
  4. a
  5. c
  6. b
  7. a
  8. d
  9. c
  10. a
  11. c
  12. b
  13. c
  14. d
  15. a
  16. d
  17. b
  18. a
  19. c
  20. d.
  21. c
  22. a
  23. b
  24. d
  25. d
  26. a
  27. c
  28. c
  29. b
  30. a
  31. d
  32. a
  33. b
  34. d
  35. c
  36. c
  37. a
  38. c
  39. b
  40. b
  41. d
  42. a
  43. d
  44. b
  45. c
  46. b
  47. a
  48. d
  49. c
  50. d
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