Punctuation and Capitalization Practice Questions

1. “She asked me whether I could attend next week’s presentation with her?”
What correction should be made to this sentence?

A. Change the question mark to a period.
B. Change “whether” to “weather.”
C. Change “next week’s” to “next weeks.”
D. Change “I could” to “I can.”
E. No correction is necessary.

2. “Franklin Delano Roosevelt (the only president who served three terms) instituted the New Deal reforms.”
What correction should be made to this sentence?

A. Place commas before and after the parentheses.
B. Capitalize the word “president.”
C. Make the initial letters of “New Deal” lowercase.
D. Capitalize the word “reforms.”
E. No correction is necessary.

3. “On the TV show, each artist receives a ‘crit’, or critique, from the judges separately.”
What correction should be made to this sentence?

A. Remove the quotation marks from around the word crit.
B. Change the spelling of separately to seperately.
C. Place the comma inside of the quotation marks.
D. Remove the comma following the word crit.
D. No correction is necessary.

Identify the appropriate error in the following sentences.

4. Many jobs today require that the applicant is a College graduate.

A. Grammar
B. Capitalization
C. Spelling
D. Punctuation

5. The applicant had some questions during our interview?

A. Grammar
B. Capitalization
C. Spelling
D. Punctuation

6. The defendant was found guilty of perjury; and obstruction of justice.

A. Punctuation
B. Capitalization
C. Spelling
D. Grammar

Identify the answer choice with an error in punctuation, usage, or grammar. If there are no errors, select answer choice D.


A. The peoples initiative for banking reform supplanted legislation in this instance.
B. Tomas was distraught over the damage to his painting; he had worked on it for months.
C. The term “subconscious” is often popularly substituted for “unconscious,” which was the actual term that Freud used.
D. No error


A. In art, the term “pentimento” refers to a sign of previous work painted over by the artist.
B. Anthropology is often interested in the study of Humankind and also of Human Society.
C. In chemistry, the natural noble gases are argon, helium, krypton, neon, radon, and xenon.
D. No error


A. The committee’s report was postponed until a later date due to delays in the evaluation process.
B. In some parts of the country, the term “median strip,” meaning a highway divider, is referred to as a “medium strip.”
C. The saying is that time flies when you are busy, we are always busy so time always flies.
D. No error

Identify the correct choice for the following sentence:

10. Our Secretary of state Hillary Clinton has previously been Senator Hillary Clinton, First Lady of the United States Hillary Clinton, and First Lady of Arkansas Hillary Clinton.

A. Our secretary of state
B. Our Secretary of state
C. Our secretary of State
D. Our Secretary of State

Answers – Punctuation and Capitalization

1. A: Question marks are only used with direct questions, e.g., “Will you go with me?” or with sentences that are half statement and half question, e.g., “You can go with me, can’t you?” but not with dependent clauses introduced by subordinating conjunctions (“whether”) as in this case. “Whether” is spelled correctly (B); “weather” does not mean “if” but refers to climate. “Next week’s” (C) is correct because “week’s” is a possessive of the object “presentation.” “I can” (D) is incorrect because “asked” is past tense and “can” is present tense.

2. E: The sentence is correct as is. The non-restrictive/non-essential information should be set off from the subject it modifies by either the parentheses or commas; using both (A) is redundant. A title like “president” is only capitalized when used before the name, e.g., “President Roosevelt,” but when used in place of the name as in this sentence, it is not capitalized (B). “New Deal” is correctly capitalized (C) as the name of the program. “Reforms” (D) should not be capitalized as it is not part of the name but simply a descriptor.

3. C: Sentence punctuation marks should be placed inside of quotation marks. The quotation marks are necessary (A) because this term “crit” is identified as an insider or slang abbreviation of the word “critique.” “Separately” is the correct spelling; spelling it as (B) indicates is a common error. The comma after “crit” is necessary (D) to introduce the appositive “or critique” that defines “crit.”

4. B: The error is in capitalization: “college” is not capitalized when used as a noun but not as a proper noun, which is a name. Hence “Skidmore College” is capitalized, but not “a good college.” There are no other errors in grammar, spelling, or punctuation.

5. D: The error is in punctuation: there should not be a question mark at the end of the sentence because the sentence is not a question. There are no other errors in grammar, capitalization, or spelling.

6. A: The error is in punctuation. Semicolons are used to separate two independent clauses, or to separate clauses or phrases containing internal punctuation. Neither is the case in this sentence. The objects “perjury” and “obstruction of justice” are joined by the conjunction “and”; no punctuation is needed. There are no errors in capitalization, spelling, or grammar.

7. A: In this sentence, “people’s” is a possessive noun modifying “initiative,” and must have an apostrophe to indicate possession. It was “the people’s initiative” that supplanted legislation.

8. B: The words “humankind” and “human society” should not be capitalized as they are not names or titles, i.e., not proper nouns. In this sentence, “human” is an adjective in both instances. “Society” is a noun in this sentence.

9. C: It is incorrect to separate two independent clauses with a comma; a semicolon should be used. Alternatively, a period can be used, making the second independent clause a separate sentence. A colon can also be used to introduce a clause/sentence that illustrates or explains the preceding one. There should also be a comma separating the second independent clause from the dependent clause (beginning with “so”) that follows it. The correct punctuation alternatives are: “The saying is that time flies when you are busy; we are always busy, so time always flies.” OR: “The saying is that time flies when you are busy. We are always busy, so time always flies.” OR: “The saying is that time flies when you are busy: we are always busy, so time always flies.”

10. D: These words are an official title and immediately precede Hillary Clinton’s name. Both parts of the title (Secretary and State) should be capitalized. As with all titles, function words like the preposition “of” within a title are not capitalized.


Last Updated: June 4, 2019