Grammar and punctuation quiz
Posted: 04 February 2013 08:09 AM   [ Ignore ]
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A lead-pipe cinch for most here (I got two wrong). I only learnt grammar at school through studying French but it seems things have improved now in the UK.

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Posted: 04 February 2013 08:17 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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13 out of 14 here. Pride was a trick question but that’s not the one I missed. Stupid mistake on active voice.

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Posted: 04 February 2013 10:13 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Yeah, pride is definitely an unfair question—that’s the only one I missed. And the “correct” answer is wrong. It’s not an “abstract and collective noun,” it’s an “abstract or collective noun.”

Also, the first five are testing knowledge of terminology, not correct usage. I’m not impressed with the quiz.

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Posted: 04 February 2013 10:42 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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It’s for “Year Six” students whatever they are. Sixth form? ie around 17. Is it necessary to know grammatical terminology to, say, write good? Grammar is just a codification of what every native-speaker already knows. Some knowledge must help if you’re studying a second language, however, as with my French at school.

I read that 19th century philologists had kittens when they started studying Asian languages which often didn’t conform to the Eight Parts of Speech model based on Latin and Greek they believed languages couldn’t function without. Is this right?

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Posted: 04 February 2013 11:10 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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The terminology is not needed if you’re writing in your native language. But if you want to communicate with others about grammar (e.g., learn a foreign language, participate in writing workshops, take a class in writing well) it’s very helpful.

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Posted: 05 February 2013 08:58 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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To paraphrase the immortal Groucho, any grammar quiz that I can answer the questions of, isn’t worth answering.

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Posted: 05 February 2013 10:26 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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You repeated exactly what I said, Dave, and my first question was rhetorical and ironic:

“Is it necessary to know grammatical terminology to, say, write good? Grammar is just a codification of what every native-speaker already knows. Some knowledge must help if you’re studying a second language, however, as with my French at school.”

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Posted: 05 February 2013 10:33 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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I took your question to be just that.

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Posted: 05 February 2013 03:00 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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I think that if you’re in any job that requires you to write (and this could be anything from a real estate agent to a biology researcher), it is helpful to know some basic grammatical terminology so that you can understand the criticism and instruction that wiser heads might be giving you about what you are writing. If you’re in a job in which writing is the most important task, a more thorough knowledge grammatical terminology would be useful so that you can understand more detailed criticism and instruction.

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Posted: 06 February 2013 02:28 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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Agreed.  And back we go to the debate about teaching grammar as part of an English curriculum.  Understanding an explanation about imprecise writing needs a knowledge of basic grammar.

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Posted: 08 February 2013 07:40 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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OP Tipping - 05 February 2013 03:00 PM

I think that if you’re in any job that requires you to write (and this could be anything from a real estate agent to a biology researcher), it is helpful to know some basic grammatical terminology so that you can understand the criticism and instruction that wiser heads might be giving you about what you are writing. If you’re in a job in which writing is the most important task, a more thorough knowledge grammatical terminology would be useful so that you can understand more detailed criticism and instruction.

Very true. And I can tell you that I doubt as many as one in 20 British journalists (can’t speak for other countries) knows much more than the very basics, since grammar is not taught past the basics at school and not studied at all on journalism courses. Similarly with punctuation: I’ve met qualified reporters who don’t understand the fundamentals of comma usage.

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Posted: 09 February 2013 05:27 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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And yet they get work, which suggests that the fundamentals of comma usage are not in fact so very necessary, though they may be an adornment to a well-lived life.

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Posted: 09 February 2013 06:40 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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My second-year university students are, for the most part, pretty good writers, but on their fall semester essays I noticed a deficiency in (what I thought were) proofreading skills. So this past week I gave them a proofreading quiz (ungraded, as a learning exercise), consisting of ten sentences containing various errors and problematic choices that they had to identify and correct. I was stunned, not by their failures to identify the problems and their desire to make unnecessary corrections, but by the consistency. They all did pretty much the same.

None spotted the missing apostrophe in the possessive.

Most failed to insert a comma where two independent clauses were joined by a conjunction.

None spotted the misuse of the word inculcate.

None spotted the unnecessary capitalization of the word king.

Most failed to spot the sentence fragment.

None spotted the misspelling of amorous. (I spelled it amourous, a spelling that hasn’t been common since the 16th century. This one may have been unfair.), and most missed the misspelling of martial for marital (again, time pressure in a quiz may have made this one unfair).

Only half spotted the error in subject-verb concord (writes for wrote).

But on the plus side, only one flagged the split infinitive as an error.

In the future, I’m going to give this quiz earlier in the year. It seems to be a good method for identifying the areas of grammar and usage where they’re unsure.

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Posted: 09 February 2013 07:11 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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Lisa:  Almost done—just lay still.
Linguo:  *Lie* still.
Lisa:  I knew that.  Just testing.
Linguo:  Sentence fragment.
Lisa:  “Sentence fragment” is also a sentence fragment.
Linguo:  [shifts eyes around] Must conserve battery power.  [shuts himself down]

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Posted: 09 February 2013 08:09 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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Next time, Dave, include basic spelling such as the which/witch, who’s/whose, their/there/they’re, were/we’re/where, have’nt/haven’t etc.  You might be in for a surprise.

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Posted: 09 February 2013 11:49 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
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I haven’t seen any significant problem with spelling basic words like that.

Although I must admit that I was really lucky with the students I ended up with this year. They’re significantly above the caliber of last year’s.

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