I don’t know why my readers think quizzes are so much fun, but I keep getting requests for more of them. So, here are some sentences that contain goofs in word usage or punctuation.
- Dave really needed to hone in on his math skills last year
- Susan lives in Buzzards Bay, Ma.
- Wow, that’s a one of a kind unique piece!
- Did you here that Sallys getting married next weak?
- Adam beared his teeth in anger.
- We have a new and improved product to show you,
- Myself and jon will be at the game latter.
- Answering the telephone, the cat ran out though the open door.
- Us kids really need too study grammer!
Answers (the goofs are in bold):
- Dave really needed to hone in on (hone) his math skills last year (year.) To honemeans to sharpen something. To home in means to aim for a specific place (think homing pigeon). There is no such term as “hone in.”
- Susan lives in Buzzards Bay, Ma. (Mass.) There are only two accepted types of abbreviations for states’ names: the postal one, which uses two capital letters and NO period, or the “old-fashioned” type used in running text that can be two to five letters with a period. And FYI: There are no accepted abbreviations for Alaska, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Maine, Ohio, Texas and Utah. For a complete list of both the postal and regular state abbreviations, click here.
- Wow, that’s a one of a kind unique (one-of-a-kind OR unique) piece! Unique already means one of a kind, so using both the phrase and word adds nothing except noise. And we never add any modifying words to it. We never say “really unique” or “kind of unique” or, as I heard in a radio ad a few days ago, “we offer one-of-a-kind products that are really unique.” My brain nearly short-circuited hearing that.
- Did you here (hear) that Sallys (Sally’s) getting married next weak (week)?
- Adam beared (bared) his teeth in anger.
- We have a new and improved (new or improved) product to show you, (you.) A product can be new or it can be improved, but how can it be new and improved at the same time? I suppose we could say “newly improved,” though, right?
- Myself (I) and jon (Jon) will be at the game latter (later). Yes, normally we do say Jon and I, but the point here is that we never start a sentence with myself.
- Answering the telephone, the cat ran out though (through) the open door. It’s highly doubtful that the cat was answering the telephone, right? This type of construction is known as a dangling participle, meaning the words in the beginning need some clarification. The sentence should start with something like “As I was answering the telephone . . .”
- Us (We) kids really need too (to) study grammer (grammar)!
So, how did you do? Did you spot all the easy-to-make goofs? Do you have any questions about the answers — or any comments?