Saturday, July 5, 2008

Annie's Amazing Grammar Quiz

by Darlene Ryan

My friend Annie is a spelling and grammar junkie. Ask her to explain the difference between lay and lie or who and whom and her eyes light up. Not only does Annie love word quizzes, she also likes to make them up and send them to me. This weekend she’s put together a grammar quiz especially for PDD readers. The answers follow the questions. You’re on your honor not to cheat. Please share your score in comments. (I got 7 out of 10.)

Annie’s Amazing Grammar Quiz

1. Which phrase is correct?

A. Peter and John’s boat.

B. Peter’s and John’s boat.

2. Which sentence is correct?

A. Between you and I, the book is boring.

B. Between you and me, the book is boring.

3. You have two neighbors. You mention one of them in a letter to your sister. Which sentence is correct?

A. My neighbor, Lynn, has a gorgeous flower garden.

B. My neighbor Lynn has a gorgeous flower garden.

4. Neither of the stars____coming to the premiere.

A. is

B. are

5. Which sentence tells the reader every boy got a cookie?

A. I gave cookies to the boys who had behaved.

B. I gave cookies to the boys, who had behaved.

6. Which sentence is correct?

A. Who’s bringing the cake, and whose cottage is whose?

B. Whose bringing the cake, and whose cottage is who’s?

C. Who’s bringing the cake, and who’s cottage is whose?

D. Who’s bringing the cake, and who’s cottage is who’s?

7. Remember to pick up Bill and ____tomorrow.

A. me

B. I

8. If you only have one grandmother, which sentence is correct?

A. My grandmother, Edith, went sky-diving on her birthday.

B. My grandmother Edith went sky-diving on her birthday.

9. Tom Milne,____my sister has always secretly loved, is getting married.

A. who

B. whom

10. Which sentence is correct?

A. The winning bid was your’s.

B. The winning bid was yours.

Answers: (No peeking before trying the questions.)

1. Answer: A

In this case the boat belongs to Peter and John so only the second name gets the possessive. If the sentence was referring to one boat belonging to Peter and one belonging to John it would read “Peter’s and John’s boats.”

2. Answer: B

Between is a preposition. You and me are objects of that preposition. I can’t be the object of a preposition. Between you and I” is always wrong.

3. Answer: B

The second sentence, without any commas, tells the reader Lynn is one of your neighbors, but not the only one.

4. Answer: A

The subject of the sentence is neither, which is singular, and thus requires a singular verb.

5. Answer: B

Using the comma makes the phrase after it a non-restrictive clause. The phrase could be taken out of the sentence and the meaning would still be clear.

6. Answer: A

Who’s, a contraction for who is, is the correct word at the beginning of the sentence. Whose is the possessive case of who, thus “whose cottage is whose” is correct.

7. Answer: A

The sentence needs an object pronoun. I is a subject pronoun. Me, an object pronoun, is correct. To make it easier rearrange the sentence removing Bill and chose between me and I:

Remember to pick up____tomorrow. The correct choice is me, the object pronoun.

8. Answer: A

Commas before and after the name tell the reader you only have one grandmother.

9. Answer B

Who is a subject pronoun like she, he and they. Whom is an object pronoun like her, him and them. To make it easier to decide whether you need a subject pronoun or an object pronoun, rearrange the phrase and chose between him and he:

My sister has always secretly loved______. The correct choice is him, the object pronoun, which means you need whom in the original sentence.

10. Answer B

Yours is the possessive pronoun.

I’ve been torturing…I mean testing my friends all week and no one has gotten all the questions right. So, how did you do?


Paul Lamb said...

I got nine out of ten, missing only the first one.

Many style books now consider "neither" as well as "none" to be both singular and plural. It grates on me, but there it is.

Bill Crider said...

Got 'em all, and in mere seconds, but then I'm an old retired English teacher.

Annie said...

Paul, I agree with you on neither and none. It grates on me too. Nine out of ten is excellent. And bravo Bill for getting all ten. (Darlene's high school English teacher was Smilin' Jack, which explains her three wrong answers!)

Auntie Knickers said...

I only got eight out of ten. I had trouble with the boats and the neighbor. Good quiz~!

Anonymous said...

I got eight out of ten, I don't use commas and have a great fondness for run-on sentences. So I assumed my instincts were wrong on three and went with them incorrectly on eight.
But that was cute.

Darlene Ryan said...

Annie is right. My high school English teacher was Smilin' Jack and grammar was not one of his strengths. However, considering how often Annie sends me her little quizzes (or should that be quizi?) one would think I should have learned a few things by now.

Bill, I'm impressed with your score.

Dan Evans said...

Darlene, I got 9 out of 10 because I answered 3 and 8 (what I thought was) consistently. In my Grammar (admittedly learned 40 years ago) they are both examples of apposition.

Sandra Parshall said...

I got all of them right.

I don't anything baffles more writers than the use of commas does. I had one critique partner who simply never used them at all. She seemed to have something personal against commas, so much so that I suspected there might have been a dark and horrifying secret behind her aversion. :-)

Darlene Ryan said...

Dan, I had both 3 and 8 wrong. Annie knows she can always catch me with the comma questions. I hate them. Maybe if I posted that photo of her from high school in hot pants and platform shoes she'd give us a make-up test.

A Paperback Writer said...

In number 2, both options are wrong. They BOTH contain misplaced modifiers (an adverb phrase in both case, although, of course, trying to use a nominative case pronoun as the object of a preposition is incorrect as well). Yes, "Between you and me, X is Y" is a slang sentence, and one often hears this pattern, but it's just as incorrect as the also-slangy "I'm right, aren't I?" or "Talk to myself or Jim if you have a question."
(In case you're wondering, the verb "are" does not agree with the pronoun "I," and "myself" is a reflexive pronoun and must match the subject -- hence I can talk to myself, but you must talk to me (not myself).
My source? Warriner's English Grammar and Composition.

A Paperback Writer said...

Sorry, I forgot to correct #2.
The problem with the sentence is that it makes no sense as written. One way to clarify it would be something like:
Keep this secret between you and me; I think the book is boring.

The original sentence, "Between you and me, the book is boring," signifies that the book is between you and me and it is boring (with overtones that the book is only boring when it is between you and me).
Normally, such a sentence passes along just fine in casual conversation, but since it was included on a grammar quiz, it ought to be correct entirely.

Annie said...

Paperback Writer, I sense a kindred soul. The only quibble I would have with you about "between you and me" is that it is also an adverbial phrase meaning "confidentially" and as such would not mean the book was in reality boring because it was between two people.

Are you and English major?

Darlene Ryan said...

Paperback Writer, I think you and Annie were separated at birth.

Anonymous said...

8 out of 10.

Don't tell my mother -- she used to teach English.

Janet K.

BousMama said...

I got 8 of 10, I suck at possessives. LOL. Thanks for posting this, it makes one think harder about how much (or little) we rely on grammar rules. Great post about writing with kids too (July 7)