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Mechanics Questions

This resource was written by Jaclyn Wells.
Last edited by Jaclyn Wells on August 11, 2009 .

Summary:
This resource will help you with your writing mechanics.

Mechanics questions make up about 25% of the test. These questions will ask you to correct errors in capitalization, punctuation, and spelling. The spelling questions only include spelling errors that are related to possessives, contractions, and homonyms. The following practice questions are all mechanics questions. Try all of them. When you are finished, check your answers and look at the suggested resources.  

Questions 1 through 6 refer to the following application letter. 

April 15, 2009
Lee Watson
Human Resources Director
Watson Computer Repair
5400 Elmer Street
Aberdeen, WA 98004

Dear Mr. Watson:

(A)

(1) I am writing to apply for the manager position, that was advertised in the April 10th edition of the Bellevue Reporter. (2) I am confident that my education and work experience qualify me for the position. (3) I have a lot to offer your company. (4) I believe that working in you’re company would be a good experience for me as well.

(B)

(5) This May, I will graduate with a degree in management from the university of Washington-Tacoma.  (6) In college, I have taken many management classes that have taught me essential leadership skills for the workplace. (7) Many of my management classes have also given me hands-on experience collaborating with others in group projects. (8) One of these group projects was an extended research paper about diversity in the workplace.  (9) This project not only gave me experience working with others, but also pushed me to think about the complicated nature of todays workplace. (10) I would bring my leadership skills, my experience working with others, and my insights about diversity in the workplace to your company’s management position. 

(C)

(11) My work experience qualifies me for the management position. (12) For the past two years, I have been a floor manager at Pete’s Computer Shop. (13) Pete’s is a local computer store that specializes in home office equipment. (14) At this job, I have gained working knowledge of computers that is relevant to the management position at Watson Computer Repair. (15) I do not have any direct experience repairing computers; but my general knowledge of computers helps me communicate about computers with the customers and repairpersons. (16) Additionally, my work at Pete’s has given me hands-on management experience. (17) At Pete’s, I managed a staff of 15. (18) This is experience that would bring to your company. 

(D)

(19) I am very excited about the prospect of working for your company. (20) My contact information is provided below. (21) I look forward to hearing from you.

Sincerely,

Bill Sacamano
105 Parker Lane
Bellevue, WA 98004

1.    Sentence 1: I am writing to apply for the manager position, that was advertised in the April 10th edition of the Bellevue Reporter.

Which is the best way to write the underlined portion of the sentence? If the original is the best way, choose option (1).

(1)    position, that
(2)    position that
(3)    position. That
(4)    position, that,
(5)    position; that

2.    Sentence 4: I believe that working in you’re company would be a good experience for me as well.

What correction should be made to sentence 4?

(1)    insert a comma after that
(2)    remove that
(3)    change company to Company
(4)    change you’re to your 
(5)    no correction is necessary

3.    Sentence 5: This May, I will graduate with a degree in management from the university of Washington-Tacoma. 

What correction should be made to sentence 4?

(1)    remove the comma after May
(2)    change degree to Degree
(3)    change university to University
(4)    replace this with in
(5)    insert a comma after management

4.    Sentence 9: This project not only gave me experience working with others, but also pushed me to think about the complicated nature of todays workplace.

What correction should be made to sentence 4?

(1)    change others to other’s
(2)    change others to others’
(3)    change todays to todays’
(4)    change todays to today’s
(5)    no correction is necessary

5.    Sentence 13: Pete’s is a local computer store that specializes in home office equipment.

What correction should be made to sentence 13?

(1)    replace Pete’s with Petes
(2)    replace Pete’s with Petes’
(3)    replace computer with computer’s
(4)    replace computer with computers’
(5)    no correction is necessary

6.    Sentence 15: I do not have any direct experience repairing computers; but my general knowledge of computers helps me communicate about computers with the customers and repairpersons.

Which is the best way to write the underlined portion of the sentence? If the original is the best way, choose option (1).

(1)    computers; but
(2)    computers. But
(3)    computers, but
(4)    computers, but,
(5)    computers but

Answers to Mechanics Practice Questions

1.    Answer (2) position that is the best choice. Inserting a comma before “that” is a very common error that writers make. The comma in this sentence is not necessary because “that was advertised in the April 10th edition of the Bellevue Reporter” is an essential clause. Without this clause, we would think the writer was simply applying for a manager position (as opposed to this specific position that was advertised). Essential clauses (these clauses begin with that or which) are never set off by commas. Nonessential clauses (these clauses begin with which) are. When determining whether a clause like this one needs a comma, ask yourself whether the information is necessary to the sentence’s meaning. If so, it is an essential clause. For more information, see the OWL resource on Essential and Nonessential Clauses and the CWEST resource on Commas

2.    Answer (4) change you’re to your is the best answer. This sentence needs the possessive “your” to show possession over the “company.” In the original sentence, “you’re” is actually a contraction that means “you are.” For more information, see the CWEST resource on Spelling.  

3.    Answer (3) change university to University is the correct answer. In this sentence, “university” should be capitalized because it refers to a specific university. Sometimes, a writer may use the word university generally, as in, “Someday I would like to go to a university.” When the word is used like this, it does not need to be capitalized. When thinking about whether a place should be capitalized on the GED, ask yourself if the writer is referring to a specific place. For more information, see the CWEST resource on Capitalization.

4.    Answer (4) change todays to today’s is the correct answer. In this sentence, the writer is referring to today’s workplace (as opposed to a workplace of the past or future). Today is possessive of workplace. The apostrophe is needed to show this possession. For more information, see the CWEST resource on Spelling, Contractions, and Homonyms.

5.    Answer (5) no correction is necessary is the best answer. Always remember that there will be some sentences on the GED that are correct the way they are. Don’t get tricked!

6.    Answer (3) computers, but is the correct answer. In this sentence, “but” is a conjunction that connects the two clauses. Because these two clauses are both independent clauses, it is necessary to use a comma. For more information, see the CWEST resources on Commas and Coordination and Subordination.

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