HSPT Language Skills : Spelling, Capitalization, and Punctuation

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for HSPT Language Skills

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Example Questions

Example Question #1 : Spelling, Capitalization, And Punctuation

Identify which one of the following sentences contains a spelling error. Select “No Errors” if none of the sentences contains a spelling error.

Possible Answers:

Students in that art class learn to work with different artistic media, including clay, colored pencils, lead pencils, and various types of paints.

To avoid bad breathe, one should always brush one's teeth before meeting an important person.

No Errors

When working on household repairs or construction projects, it's often a good idea to wear protective gloves.

Correct answer:

To avoid bad breathe, one should always brush one's teeth before meeting an important person.

Explanation:

The sentence that contains a spelling error is "To avoid bad breathe, one should always brush one's teeth before meeting an important person." This is a tricky spelling error—"breathe" should be "breath." "Breathe" isn't a typo in every sentence; it is a verb that means to inhale and exhale regularly. That doesn't make any sense in this sentence, though! We need a word that acts as a noun and means the air that you exhale. That word is "breath." The corrected sentence would read, "To avoid bad breath, one should always brush one's teeth before meeting an important person."

Example Question #1 : Identifying Spelling Errors

Identify which one of the following sentences contains a spelling error. Select “No Errors” if none of the sentences contains a spelling error.

Possible Answers:

The library had so many books that it had to add more shelves.

Our neighbor decided to plant potatoes in his vegetable garden this summer.

It’s a good thing that Fred recieved the package before he left on his trip.

No Errors

Correct answer:

It’s a good thing that Fred recieved the package before he left on his trip.

Explanation:

The sentence that contains the spelling error is "It’s a good thing that Fred recieved the package before he left on his trip." The misspelled word is "received." It should be spelled "received." Remembering the phrase "'I' before 'E' except after 'C'" can help you avoid errors like this in the future!

Example Question #1 : Identifying Capitalization Errors

Identify which one of the following sentences contains a capitalization error. Select “No Errors” if none of the sentences contains a capitalization error.

Possible Answers:

No Errors

Does the book about the history of battleships in the United States mention the U.S.S. Maine?

I started my paper with the sentence, “flightless birds are fascinating.”

My cousin Cassandra sent me a postcard of the Golden Gate Bridge from San Francisco, California.

Correct answer:

I started my paper with the sentence, “flightless birds are fascinating.”

Explanation:

The sentence that contains the capitalization error is shown below.

I started my paper with the sentence, "flightless birds are fascinating."

The quoted sentence should begin with a capital letter. The corrected sentence would read,

I started my paper with the sentence, "Flightless birds are fascinating."

Example Question #4 : Spelling, Capitalization, And Punctuation

Identify which one of the following sentences contains a capitalization error. Select “No Errors” if none of the sentences contains a capitalization error.

Possible Answers:

Big Ben and the London Bridge are two major landmarks in London, England.

The Eiffel Tower forms one of the most famous silhouettes on the Parisian skyline.

No Errors

The Great Wall of China stretches for thousands of miles across China.

Correct answer:

No Errors

Explanation:

Each of these sentences uses correct capitalization. In "Big Ben and the London Bridge are two major landmarks in London, England," "Big Ben" is a proper noun because it is the name of a landmark, and "London" and "England" are capitalized because they are the name of a city and a country, respectively. In "The Great Wall of China stretches for thousands of miles across China," "The Great Wall of China" is capitalized because it is a landmark and "China" is capitalized because it is the name of a country. In "The Eiffel Tower forms one of the most famous silhouettes on the Parisian skyline," "Eiffel Tower" is capitalized because it is a landmark and "Parisian" is capitalized because it is an adjective formed from the name of a city, Paris.

Example Question #5 : Spelling, Capitalization, And Punctuation

Identify which one of the following sentences contains a punctuation error. Select “No Errors” if none of the sentences contains a punctuation error.

Possible Answers:

“What am I supposed to do now?” Sasha asked.

Please don’t release any confetti until the party starts; we don't want to spoil the surprise!

No Errors

The teacher told me “to go work on my homework” until recess.

Correct answer:

The teacher told me “to go work on my homework” until recess.

Explanation:

The sentence that contains the incorrect punctuation is shown below.

The teacher told me “to go work on my homework” until recess.

In this sentence, double quotation marks are incorrectly used to convey indirect speech. Indirect speech is any instance where what someone said is conveyed without being directly quoted. Consider the following correctly-punctuated sentence:

Samantha told me that she would be getting a kitten this weekend.

We do not need to use any quotation marks because we are not being told exactly what Samantha said to the speaker. She could have said "I'm getting a kitten this weekend!" or "I'm so excited that this weekend I'm going to be getting a kitten!", etc. The exact words that someone told someone else are conveyed using direct quotation, which requires double quotation marks, as demonstrated in the following sentence:

Samantha told me, "I can't concentrate today because I'm so excited—my family is adopting a kitten this weekend!"

In this sentence, the speaker is conveying Samantha's exact words, so we need to surround them with double quotation marks to set them apart from the rest of the sentence.

The correctly punctuated version of the correct answer choice sentence is as follows:

The teacher told me to go work on my homework until recess.

Example Question #6 : Spelling, Capitalization, And Punctuation

Identify which one of the following sentences contains a punctuation error. Select “No Errors” if none of the sentences contains a punctuation error.

Possible Answers:

In order to identify the source of the noise Jenna stood up on the ladder to peer over the fence.

"Who would call my phone in the middle of math class?" Sara wondered out loud as she walked down the hallway.

Fortunately, when I fell off my bike, I landed on a few soft things: a patch of tall grass, some flowers, and some moss.

No Errors

Correct answer:

In order to identify the source of the noise Jenna stood up on the ladder to peer over the fence.

Explanation:

The sentence that contains the punctuation error is "In order to identify the source of the noise Jenna stood up on the ladder to peer over the fence." This sentence begins with a prepositional phrase, "In order to identify the source of the noise." A comma is needed to separate this phrase from the rest of the sentence.

Note that this rule is specific to prepositional phrases that start sentences; if a prepositional phrase is used in the middle of a sentence or at the end of a sentence, it does not need to be separated from the sentence by commas unless the commas are required by some other grammatical rule. You can see that this is true in the sentence we're working with. The prepositional phrase "on the ladder," which appears in the middle of the sentence, is not set apart by commas. The prepositional phrase "over the fence," which ends the sentence, isn't preceded by a comma.

Adding in the necessary comma to this sentence, the corrected version would read, "In order to identify the source of the noise, Jenna stood up on the ladder to peer over the fence."

 

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