More Devilish Details in a New Quiz!

Since many readers of my posts seem to love quizzes — short ones that don’t seem too daunting — here’s another one for you!

And for the one that preceded this, click here.

Which ones are correctly written in each of the examples below? And remember, I play by the American grammar rules; yours may be different.

1A   Susan lives in Boston, Ma., in a blue house.
1B   Susan lives in Boston, Mass., in a blue house.
1C   Susan lives in Boston, MA, in a blue house.

2A   John received his PhD in physics.
2B   John received his Ph.D in physics.
2C   John received his Ph.D. in physics.

3A   Today’s date is October 9th, 2017.
3B   Today’s date is October 9, 2017.
3C   Today’s date is October 9 2017.

4A   Dear Mr. Smith,
4B   Dear Mr. Smith;
4C   Dear Mr. Smith:

5A   I like dogs; Ann prefers cats; and Helen likes both.
5B   I like dogs, Ann prefers cats, and Helen likes both.
5C   I like dogs, Ann prefers cats and Helen likes both.

6A   The cars of the Jones are in the middle parking lot.
6B   The cars of the Joneses are in the middle parking lot.
6C   The car’s of the Joneses are in the middle parking lot.

7A   Who’s book is that on the table?
7B   Who’s book is that on the table?
7C   Whose book is that on the table?

8A   Sharon was cited for littering.
8B   Sharon was sighted for littering.
8C   Sharon was sited for littering.

9A   The list includes: paper, scissors, and glue.
9B   The list includes paper, scissors, and glue.
9C   The list includes many things: paper, scissors, and glue.

Answers and explanations:

1A   Susan lives in Boston, Ma, in a blue house.
1B   Susan lives in Boston, Mass., in a blue house.
1C   Susan lives in Boston, MA, in a blue house.

The version that has two capital letters is only supposed to be used in a full address, and there is no such abbreviation as Ma. for Massachusetts.

 

2A   John received his PhD in physics.
2B   John received his Ph.D in physics.
2C   John received his Ph.D. in physics.

Although I prefer 2C, 2A is also considered correct.

 

3A   Today’s date is October 9th, 2017.
3B   Today’s date is October 9, 2017.
3C   Today’s date is October 9 2017.

We never put the ndrdst, or th after a day’s number when we use the year.

4A   Dear Mr. Smith,
4B   Dear Mr. Smith;
4C   Dear Mr. Smith:

In a business letter, if we address someone using a title, we should use a colon, not a comma, because it’s more formal. If we write Dear Sam, then we can use a comma because it’s an informal way of addressing the recipient. BUT: We never use a semicolon after a salutation.

 

5A   I like dogs; Ann prefers cats; and Helen likes both.
5B   I like dogs, Ann prefers cats, and Helen likes both.
5C   I like dogs, Ann prefers cats and Helen likes both.

While both B and C are considered acceptable, B includes the Oxford comma, and you all know I’m a strong advocate of that mark.

 

6A   The cars of the Jones are in the middle parking lot.
6B   The cars of the Joneses are in the middle parking lot.
6C   The car’s of the Joneses are in the middle parking lot.

Yes, we often do have to make a last name plural, adding either an or an esAnd we don’t use an apostrophe to form plurals!

 

7A   Who’s book is that on the table?
7B   Who’s book is that on the table?
7C   Whose book is that on the table?

Who’s = who is. Whose is the possessive pronoun.

 

8A   Sharon was cited for littering.
8B   Sharon was sighted for littering.
8C   Sharon was sited for littering.

Homophones (words that sound the same or similar, but don’t mean the same thing and aren’t spelled the same) are tough words to use correctly.

 

9A   The list includes: paper, scissors, and glue.
9B   The list includes paper, scissors, and glue.
9C   The list includes many things: paper, scissors, and glue.

In the American system, we do not put a colon after any word that can’t logically end a sentence used to introduce a list within a sentence . We need to have a full, complete sentence to use the colon this way.