Advanced Grammar Test for a High IQ

By: William J. Wright
Estimated Completion Time
4 min
Advanced Grammar Test for a High IQ
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About This Quiz

For a structure to be sound, it must have a solid foundation. This is as true for a sentence or a paragraph as it is for a house or a skyscraper. In English, grammar provides both the material and the tools for constructing clear and understandable written communication. Although it may be the least fun part of writing, cultivating a basic familiarity with the rules can make all the difference between a bad writer and a good one. A real, in-depth understanding of grammar separates the skilled amateurs from the professionals who can really make their prose shine! 

Whether you're writing an email, a term paper or the next great American novel, grammar should be embraced as a friend, not shunned as an enemy. If writing is art, then grammar is your oils and brushes, so why not have the best palette you can muster? After all, Michelangelo didn't paint the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel with a couple of broken crayons. And remember, you have to know the rules before you can break them.

This is a quiz for hardcore grammarians, but even if you don't know a split infinitive from split-pea soup, we invite you to come along on this journey into the cogs and gears of the English language. Have you got what it takes to conquer our advanced grammar challenge?

Can You Capitalize These Sentences Correctly? 1
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Particles such as "-ed, "-er" and "-est" added to the end of a word are examples of what?
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

A suffix is a syllable or series of syllables (in linguistics called a "morpheme") added to a stem word to form a new word, change the meaning or alter the grammatical function of a word. For example, "-d" or "-ed" added to a regular verb will form the past tense of that verb.

play on words
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Which part of speech names a person, place, thing or idea?
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

This should be an easy one! Nouns are words that denote people, places, things, qualities, events, ideas or states of existence. This is probably the first thing you learned about grammar in grade school.

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Which is the most common word order for sentences in English?
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

The most common word arrangement in English is the simple sentence constructed with a subject (a noun or pronoun) followed by a verb (an action performed by the subject) followed by an object (a noun or pronoun receiving the action). "He started the car" is an example of the form.


Can You Pick the Grammatically Correct Sentence? 1
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What are the two basic parts needed to form a complete sentence in English?
Pronoun and adjective
Present and past participle
Subject and predicate
Independent clause and prepositional phrase
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

The two essential elements for making a sentence are the subject and the predicate. The subject is what the sentence is about. The predicate makes a statement about the subject with a word that expresses an action or state of being. The simplest sentences can be composed of just a noun and a verb.

Can you name the comma placed after the next to last item in a series before a conjunction?
Princeton comma
Serial comma
Yale comma
Linear comma
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

A serial comma, also known as an Oxford comma or Harvard comma, is the last comma occurring in a list just before a coordinating conjunction like "and," "but" and "or." The use of a serial comma is largely a matter of style; however, it may lend clarity to the sentence.

Grain Cart
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What is the appositive phrase in this sentence? "Spelt, a type of grain, grows in Central Europe."
Grows in
A type of grain
Central Europe
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

An appositive phrase is a group of words that identifies or explains a word it adjoins. In the question, "a type of grain" is the appositive phrase. Set off by commas, it serves to define the subject "Spelt," adding clarity to the sentence.


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What is the subject of the sentence "Jack and Jill went up the hill"?
Jack and Jill
Went up
Up the hill
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

When the subject has multiples elements, it is known as a compound subject. In this case, "Jack and Jill," two nouns joined by "and," are the compound subject. The action "went" is the verb beginning the predicate in this simple sentence.

6 Grammar
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Which category of pronoun includes the words "I," "he," "she," "you" and "it"?
Interrogative pronouns
Indefinite pronouns
Reflexive pronouns
Personal pronouns
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

"I," "he, "she," "you" and "it" and their inflected forms make up the category of personal pronouns. Personal pronouns take the place of the noun in a sentence to refer to the one speaking, spoken to or spoken about.

How Much Do You Know About These Supreme Court Cases 1
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Can you pick the correct word to complete this sentence? "The jury _____ at noon."
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

In order to make a complete sentence, the correct option is the singular verb "deliberates." "Jury" is a collective noun. In this case, 12 jurors make up the single unit that comprises the jury. When a collective noun is regarded as a single unit, it takes the singular verb form.


Thinking Person9
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What do adjectives do?
Modify nouns and pronouns
Join two parts of speech
Modify verbs
Express frustration
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Adjectives are descriptive words used to modify a noun or pronoun. They usually come just before the word they modify. Adjectives can also be found in the predicate to complete the meaning of a sentence. For example, "skinny" and "hungry" are the adjectives in "The skinny cat looks hungry."

Writing ink
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Which of these sentences is punctuated correctly?
Although it was unseen by the campers the bear lurked nearby.
Although it was unseen, by the campers, the bear lurked nearby.
Although it was unseen by the campers, the bear lurked nearby.
Although it was unseen by the campers the bear, lurked nearby.
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Introductory phrases should be followed by a comma. "Although it was unseen by the campers" is an introductory phrase (and a subordinate clause) giving context to the sentence. "The bear lurked nearby" is an independent clause that could stand on its own as a complete sentence.

Can You Name the 100-Year-Old Word or Phrase From Its Definition
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What is a group of words lacking either a subject and/or predicate that functions as a single part of speech?
Reflexive pronoun
Abstract noun
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Phrases have many functions in language. Some common types of phrases include noun phrases, verb phrases and prepositional phrases. Noun and verb phrases can be linked to form sentences as in "The early train (noun phrase) was late (verb phrase)."


Hungry empty plate
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Can you identify the subordinate clause in the sentence "He was hungry because he skipped lunch"?
Because he skipped lunch
He was hungry
Was hungry because
Skipped lunch
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Clauses are groups of words containing both a subject and a predicate. Independent clauses can work as full sentences. Subordinate clauses, however, can't work as a sentence because they begin with words like "because" or "which." They are used to elaborate on the independent clause.

Writing Email
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This grammatical error is made when two independent clauses occur in one sentence without a conjunction or proper punctuation. Can you identify it?
Run-on sentence
Comma splice
Faulty subject-verb agreement
Misplaced modifier
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Although its name may conjure the image of an overly long sentence, a run-on sentence, also called a comma fault or a fused sentence, occurs when two independent clauses are butted together as one sentence.

Single line drawing of a light bulb with a question mark
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What punctuation mark would you use to link two independent clauses into a compound sentence without using a coordinating conjunction?
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Compound sentences can be constructed by using a semicolon in place of a comma and "and" between the independent clauses. For example, "The hour was growing late, and we decided it was time to leave" can be altered to "The hour was late; we decided it was time to leave."


Speech Bubble
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Which part of speech can substitute for a noun in a sentence?
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

A pronoun is a word that can be substituted for a noun. Pronouns change form according to their function as the subject or object in a sentence. Some common pronouns are I, he, she, it, we, they, him and her.

Writing Note
A verb that takes an object is said to be what?
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Transitive verbs are verbs that express action and take a direct object. In the sentence "Giles kicked the can," "kicked" is a transitive verb because it has a direct object that is being acted upon: "the can."

Can You Define All of These Words That Start With Q?
What are words that have the same pronunciation but different meanings?
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Homonyms are one of the many elements of grammar that make the English language interesting and occasionally confounding. Some commonly confused homonyms are "there," "they're" and "their."


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What is a phrase or subordinate clause written as a sentence?
Dangling participle
Run-on sentence
Split infinitive
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

A fragment is a phrase or a subordinate clause written as a sentence. Beginning with a capital letter and ending in a period, a fragment lacks a subject, a predicate or both. Your high school English teacher likely told you to avoid fragments at all costs, but they can be effective in some writing.

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This term describes a sentence in which the subject performs the action indicated by the verb. Can you name it?
Past tense
Present tense
Active voice
Passive voice
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Active voice reflects the direct action of the subject as in "The knife cuts" or "The pony gallops." The active voice is clear and strong. In passive voice, which your English teacher likely told you to avoid, the subject is acted upon by the verb as in "The bread was cut by the knife."

Star Trek
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Here's one for the Trekkies! What frowned upon but not technically incorrect grammatical practice is in the phrase "to boldly go"?
Double negative
Preposition at the end of a sentence
Split infinitive
Passive voice
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

An infinitive is comprised of the word "to" followed by a verb. Placing a word, usually an adverb, between "to" and the verb splits the infinitive. To use split infinitives or not is a matter of style, not a rule, but if they're good enough for James T. Kirk, they're good enough for us!


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What word is missing in the following sentence? The director gave the job to Olivia _____ he knows works hard.
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

The usage of "who" and "whom" is a sticking point for even the most adept of English speakers. In the question, the correct word is "who" because it's the subject of "works." In this sentence, "who" is performing an action. "Whom" is an objective form or the person receiving the action.

Can You Pick the Preposition That Completes the Movie Title?
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No less than 99 percent of the words in the dictionary are verbs, nouns, adjectives and adverbs. What are these parts of speech known as?
Lexical words
Elliptical constructions
Collective words
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Nouns, verbs, adverbs and adjectives are called lexical words or vocabulary. They make up the bulk of the words found in the dictionary. These words are the basic building blocks of grammar.

IQ Lightbulb
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This grammatical term refers to the word or words replaced by a pronoun. Can you name it?
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

The antecedent is the word or word group referred to by a pronoun. The antecedent usually precedes the pronoun, but in some cases, it may follow it. In the sentence "The captain steered his ship," "captain" is the antecedent of the possessive pronoun "his."


Words chalk board
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What's a verb form ending in "-ing" used as a noun?
Helping verb
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

A gerund is a verb form that serves as a noun. It can have an object, complements or modifiers, which together make a gerund phrase. Here's an example. In the sentence "Eating vegetables is good for you," "Eating" is a gerund. "Vegetables" is its object making the gerund phrase "Eating vegetables."

Q6 Volunteer
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What is the name for a helping verb that precedes the verb?
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Auxiliaries, also called verb markers, are helping verbs that precede the main verb. Two common auxiliaries are "be" and "have," as in "They will be studying in the library." In questions like "Have the children eaten lunch?" other words may occur between the auxiliary and the main verb.

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This word describes the position of a noun or pronoun in relationship to the other words in a sentence. Can you identify this grammar word?
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

The use of a noun or a pronoun in a sentence determines its case. In English, there are three cases: subjective (or nominative) as when used as the subject, possessive (genitive) as when showing ownership, and objective (accusative) as when used as the object or subject of a preposition or verb.


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What type of sentence is "Although I missed the bus, I arrived on time"?
Compound sentence
Complex sentence
Compound-complex sentence
Simple sentence
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

A complex sentence is comprised of one independent clause and at least one subordinate clause. The sentence "Although I missed the bus, I arrived on time" is made up of the subordinate clause, "Although I missed the bus," followed by a comma and the independent clause, "I arrived on time."

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Which word is the definite article in the sentence "The cow jumped over the moon"?
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

The words "a," "an" and "the" are called articles. They are used as adjectives that signify that a noun is to follow. "The" is a definite article referring to a distinct noun; "a" and "an" are indefinite articles that don't indicate a specific noun.

Hands pointing
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What kind of statement is the sentence "Go back now!"?
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

English sentences can be divided into four categories of statements: declarative (statements), imperative (commands or requests), interrogative (questions) and exclamatory (exclamations). The example, "Go back now!" is a command making it an imperative statement.


Words Text Book Ancient
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Words are generally grouped into how many classes?
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Generally speaking, words are grouped into eight parts of speech. They are nouns, verbs, adjectives, pronouns, adverbs, prepositions, conjunctions and interjections. Understanding the functions of each is the bedrock of grammar.

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Which part of speech is used to show a relationship such as time, space or cause between its object and another word?
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Words showing relationship such as "about," "between" or "with" are prepositions. Prepositions always have objects. The preposition, its object and any modifiers included make a prepositional phrase. In the sentence "The seal was on the beach," "on the beach" is the prepositional phrase.

Thinking Person
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What are the forms of verbs used to denote tense called?
Transitive verbs
Progressive verbs
Principal parts
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Tense, a determination of time, is denoted by the principal parts of verbs. The principal parts are present, present participle, past tense, and past participle. For example, "give," "giving," "gave" and "given" are the principal parts of the verb "give."


St. Bernard
Can you pick the past participle of "lie" as in "to lie down"?
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

"Lie" and "lay" are often confusing for even the most advanced students of grammar, especially when identifying their principal parts. "Lie" is to assume a state of repose. Its past participle can be conjugated as "has lain." "Lay" means to place something. Its past participle is "laid."

12 Reading
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How many subordinate clauses must a compound sentence have?
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

A compound sentence is made up of at least two independent clauses linked by a comma and a coordinating conjunction like "and" or "but." The clauses in a compound sentence could each function as complete sentences.

You Got:
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