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Monday, March 19, 2012

Fear This Quiz: English Usage Demons



The following examples contain errors. English usage can be very difficult to master, but misuse can be very embarrassing. Each of these samples contains at least one error. Most of them contain multiple errors, so read them carefully. Correct each and check the answers that follow.


The Examples

1. I am just to tired to fix too flat tires. Are you tired, too?


2. There going to stay their in their fishing cabin.


3. Tom always thinks he can due more work then anyone.


4. Father felt badly after he took the wrong exit on the interstate.


5. Though only sixteen years old, the college accepted Martha's application.


6. Each one of the firemen need to complete their personal profile.


7. Are you alright?  You seem to have a lot of problems.


8. Between you and I, Williams played poor tonight.


9. I would of called if I had remembered to get moms' cell phone off of the table.


10. My son laid in bed until 11:00 A.M. in the morning.


11. When the boss walked in the room, the employees begun working more harder.


12. Its lunch time, so please bring the lunch boxs to the kids.


13. I hope to make less errors on this exam, a poor score could negatively affect my yearly grade.


14. Has Sandy ever ran a marathon? I use to run in at least one race every year.


15. When one first sees a painting by Georgia O'Keeffe, you are impressed with a sense of power and stillness.


16, Tim whom was President of the club spoke first.


17. On the chair set two actresses's hats.


18. Orlando resents you being so popular


19. We were suppose to attend the dance last night, however, our principal means of transportation would not start.


20. "Did you see the young, golden retriever," Bob asked, "It was so cute".


21. The candy dish was empty, but we were tired of eating it anyway.


22. When the children turned on the television a buzzing sound was heard.


23. Alex asked me "to prepare the salad and also baking the chocolate cake?"


24. The vender almost sold all of her pottery at the crafts fare.


25. Joe hiked further along the trail than he have originally intended.




The Answers

1. I am just to tired to fix too flat tires. Are you tired, too?

Correction:  I am just too tired to fix two flat tires. Are you tired, too?

Problems:   Word usage


2. There going to stay their in their fishing cabin.

Correction:  They're going to stay there in their fishing cabin.

Problems:  Word usage


3. Tom always thinks he can due more work then anyone.

Correction:  Tom always thinks he can do more work than anyone else.

Problems:  Word usage and comparative (illogical)


4. Father felt badly after he took the wrong exit on the interstate.

Correction:  Father felt bad after he had taken the wrong exit on the interstate.

Problems:  Adjective usage and perfect verb tense (two past actions, use perfect tense for first)


5. Though only sixteen years old, the college accepted Martha's application.

Correction:  Though Martha was only sixteen years old, the college accepted her application.

Problems:  Misplaced modification


6. Each one of the new firemen need to complete their personal profile.

Correction:  Each one of the new firemen needs to complete his personal profile.

Problems:  Pronoun agreement and subject/verb agreement  (firemen is clearly masculine and antecedent is each one)


7. Are you alright? You seem to have a lot of problems.

Correction:  Are you all right?  You seem to have a lot of problems.

Problems:  Word usage


8. Between you and I, Williams played poor tonight.

Correction:  Between you and me, (I think) Williams played poorly tonight.

Problems:  Objective case pronoun and adverb modification, probably best to give prepositional phrase modification I think


9. I would of called if I had remembered to get moms' cell phone off of the table.

Correction:  I would have called if I had remembered to get Mom's cell phone off the table.

Problems:  Incorrect verb phrase, capitalization, singular possession, and double preposition


10. My son laid in bed until 11:00 A.M. in the morning.

Correction:  My son lay in bed until 11:00 A.M.

Problems:  Problem verb principal parts and redundant A.M. and in the morning


11. When the boss walked in the room, the employees begun working more harder.

Correction:  When the boss walked into the room, the employees began working harder.
Problems:  Preposition usage (in is inside), verb principle parts, and double comparative degree adverb


12. Its lunch time so please bring the lunch boxs to the kids.

Correction:  It's lunch time, so please take the lunch boxes to the kids.

Problems:  Contraction (it is), word usage (point of departure is considered, use take (to), plural noun form


13. I hope to make less errors on this exam, a poor score could negatively affect my yearly grade.

Correction:  I hope to make fewer errors on this exam.  A poor score could negatively affect my yearly grade.

Problems:  Adjective usage and run-on sentence


14. Has Sandy ever ran a marathon? I use to run in at least one race every year.

Correction:  Has Sandy ever run in a marathon?  I used to run in at least one race every year.

Problems: Perfect verb tense (has run) and past verb tense


15. When one first sees a painting by Georgia O'Keeffe, you are impressed with a sense of power and stillness.

Correction:  When one first sees a painting by Georgia O'Keeffe, he (or she) is impressed with a sense of power and stillness. And newer school (they are impressed) they as the gender-non-specific, singular pronoun (I still have problems with gender reference myself.)

Problems: Pronoun pronoun point of view shift (third person to second person)



16, Tim whom was President of the club spoke first.

Correction:  Tim, who was president of the club, spoke first.

Problems: Nonrestrictive clause comma usage and nominative case (who) subject



17. On the chair set two actresses's hats.

Correction:  On the chair sat two actresses' hats. Or  Two actresses' hats sat on the chair.

Problems: Problem verb usage principle parts and possessive of plural nouns


18. Orlando resents you being so popular.

Correction:  Orlando resents your being so popular.

Problems:  Possessive case use before a gerund (noun - being so popular)



19. We were suppose to attend the dance last night, however, our principal means of transportation would not start.

Correction:  We were supposed to attend the dance last night; however, our principle means of transportation would not start.

Problems:  Verb tense, run-on sentence (conjunctive adverb punctuation), and word usage


20. "Did you see the young, golden retriever," Bob asked, "It was so cute".

Correction:  "Did you see the young golden retriever?" Bob asked. "It was so cute."

Problems:  Unequal compound adjective (no comma), run-on sentence, and dialogue punctuation


21. The candy dish was empty, but we were tired of eating it anyway.

Correction:  The candy dish was empty, but we were tired of eating candy anyway.

Problems:  Vague pronoun reference (eating dish)


 22. When the children turned on the television a buzzing sound was heard.

Correction:  When the children turned on the television, they heard a buzzing sound.

Problems:  Intro dependent clause comma and mixed verb voice of active and passive


23. Alex asked me "to prepare the salad and also baking the chocolate cake?"

Correction:  Alex asked me to prepare the salad and also (to) bake the chocolate cake.

Problems:  Indirect quote (no quotation) and parallel structure (two infinitives, to may be understood)


24. The vender almost sold all of her pottery at the crafts fare.

Correction:  The vender sold almost all of her pottery at the crafts fair.

Problems:  Misplaced adjective and word usage


25. Joe hiked further along the trail than he have originally intended.

Correction:  Joe hiked farther along the trail than he had originally intended.

Problems:  Word (adverb) usage (word part far relates to physical distance) and subject/verb agreement

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