American Grammar Quiz

I first published this quiz two years ago, but since so I have added so many connections since then, I thought it would make sense to rerun it.

The quiz shown below is the first page of my Brush Up on Your AmericanGrammar Skills workbook, and it’s how we start every class. It’s the students’ first glimpse of what is in store for them during our three hours together of learning and laughing. They find out very quickly what they will need to focus on.

And please remember that the rules in play here are AMERICAN rules; the ones you follow may be different. But it is a great idea for us all to find out what we’re supposed to know — which rules really matter and which can occasionally be ignored.

The answers are at the bottom of this post.

Which sentences are written correctly? Note: There may be more than one right answer in the bigger groups.

1a. Our files are completely up to date.
1b. Our files are completely up-to-date.

2a. Carly said, “Fred’s a “geek”.”
2b. Carly said, “Fred’s a geek.”
2c. Carly said, “Fred’s a ‘geek.’ ”
2d. Carly said, “Fred’s a geek”.

3a. The set includes: knives, forks and spoons.
3b. The set includes knives, forks, and spoons.
3c. The set includes knives, forks and spoons.

4a. Who shall I say is calling?
4b. Whom shall I say is calling?

5a. The company has issued their preliminary report.
5b. The company has issued its preliminary report.
5c. The company has issued it’s preliminary report.

6a. Jeff invited Bruce and I to meet with he and Stacey.
6b. Jeff invited Bruce and myself to meet with him and Stacey.
6c. Jeff invited Bruce and myself to meet with he and Stacey.
6d. Jeff invited Bruce and me to meet with he and Stacey.
6e. Jeff invited Bruce and me to meet with him and Stacey.

7a. Tom Smith (the president of Tom’s Shoes) will be in the office today.
7b. Tom Smith, the president of Tom’s Shoes will be in the office today.
7c. Tom Smith, the president of Tom’s Shoes, will be in the office today.

8a. Susan Jones’ car is the red one.
8b. Susan Jones’s car is the red one.
8c. The Joneses’ cars are in the south parking lot.
8d. The Jones’ cars are in the south parking lot.

9a. The chicken layed an egg in the nest.
9b. I’m going to lay down for a nap.
9c. I’m going to lie down for a nap.
9d. The chicken laid an egg in the nest.
9e. Earlier, I lay down for a nap.
9f. Earlier, I lied down for a nap.

 

 

Just so you know, I failed a similar quiz more than 20 years ago when I first went to work for Fred Pryor Seminars and agreed to teach their American grammar course. I thought the quiz would be easy — I really did think I was a hotshot in that topic. FPS’s quiz was more basic than this one is; it only had A or B for answers, so I had a 50-50 chance.

I missed four of the questions, and I had NO idea why. It drove me nuts.

So I learned. Oh yes. I learned. And for more on that, check out this post.

And so can you. Let’s face it: Most of us didn’t take much notice of the grammar we were taught when we were about 13 or 14; how could we have known we’d grow up to care? Even if we did listen and learn, we might not have heard things correctly, we might have forgotten some of the rules, or some of what we learned might have changed over the years and we didn’t keep up.

The bottom line is that there is a lot of confusion over punctuation and usage. We hear things, we see things, and we’re not always sure what is correct.

So, here are the answers. If you have any questions about them, ask me.

1. A

2. B & C

3. B (or C)

4. A

5. B

6. E

7. A & C

8. A, B, & C

9. C, D, & E

How did you do? I would love to hear back.