We live in a day and age where Internet language is creeping its way into the way we speak and write. Abbreviations are all the rage with texting and instant messaging, mixing up the spelling of words like "doughnut" and "donut" based on how big companies spell it, and completely omitting punctuation is becoming increasingly more popular.
But let's go back. Back to the days of spelling tests, sentence structure and learning the difference between verbs, adjectives and nouns. Do you remember in elementary school learning the basics of the English language? Where did we lose that long the way? People these days have a need for instant gratification, and a way to achieve that is to shorten our speech and get our point across as quickly as possible.
The trouble with that is, the one thing that people used to look to for official rulings in situations of misspellings and mispronunciations was the dictionary. But the dictionary lost a little bit of credibility as soon as the word "bootylicious" made its official debut. So if you're ever questioning whether or not you are spelling something correctly, pronouncing something correctly=, or using the right comma, turn to this quiz! Can you find all the grammatically correct sentences?
What sentence below has the correct comma usage?
Many scientists, such as Einstein, have beards.
To separate nonessential words from the rest of the sentence, use commas around those words. If used correctly, the sentence should still make complete sense if you take those words out.
"To imply" is something that the speaker does, while "to infer" is something the listener does about something the speaker said. They are often used interchangeable, but they should not be, and are entirely different words with different meanings.
At the party, there will be eating and to play games.
He enjoys to play guitar and singing.
I like reading books and drinking tea.
Parallel structure refers to words keeping the same tense and the way the words match each other. If you use a verb ending in -ing, all other verbs in that same sentence must also end in -ing, for example.
My mom lost my sister in the mall once, but when she found her, she was so happy.
When my mom lost my sister in the mall, she was so happy when she found her.
My mom was so happy when she found my sister in the mall.
This common mistake is called a vague pronoun. Is the "she" referring to the mom or the sister? It should be clear in the sentence who the pronoun is referring to. If you can't make it clear, be more specific with the subject.
My sister got lost separated from my mom but in the mall but she was so happy that she found her.
Which sentence below refers to a business or entity correctly?
To keep up with competition, Apple stepped up their design game.
To keep up with competition, Apple knew they needed to step up their design game.
To keep up with competition, Apple had to step up its design game.
When using a company or an entity in a sentence, you should never use plural terms when referring to it later in the sentence. Since we don't identify genders to companies, it is easy to see where that desire to use "they" comes from, but it should be avoided as it is not grammatically correct.
Apple stepped up their design game in order to keep up with competition.
When writing about a person, you always use "who" and not "that." "That" has become acceptable in everyday conversations, but it's a slippery slope. You wouldn't want to end up using it professionally because you got so used to saying it casually.
Which sentence below has the correct capitalizations?
When does the President leave office?
When does the president leave office?
The only time the word "president" is capitalized is when it precedes the president's name, or is being used in place of the person's actual name, such as Mr. President.. Other than that, it should always be lower case.
The common misconception is that all adverbs end in -ly and all words ending in -ly are adverbs. That is false. When looking for the adverb, look for the words that describe how, where, or when something happens.
Which sentence below uses the correct abbreviation for the word "pint"?
The recipe called for a pnt of milk.
The recipe called for a pt of milk.
Abbreviations can be tricky because there is seemingly no rhyme or reason to how things are abbreviated. The word "pint" for example, is abbreviated using the first and last letter, but the word "gallon" uses the first three letters.
Where is the error in the following sentence: "Its always a pleasure speaking with you."
Always, because it's hyperbolic language.
Its, because it should be "it's."
"Its" is used when referring to an object, whereas "it's" is used to bring together the words "it" and "is." If you're ever in doubt, try saying the sentence with the words "it" and "is" instead of the "its" and if it makes sense, put in the apostrophe.
Which sentence below features a common grammar error?
The outside bar is open, and it is first come, first serve.
Without the "d" at the end of "serve" it makes it seem like the person first to arrive at the outside bar will be serving everyone else. Since that is not the intention of the phrase, the "d" is very important, but often gets overlooked, especially when the phrase is delivered verbally.
The outside bar is open, and it is first come, first served.
The outside bar is first come, first served.
We run the outside bar on a first come, first served basis.
How does one know where an apostrophe goes in a possessive context?
It goes in between the last letter of the word and an "s."
To indicate that something belongs to someone, you would put the apostrophe before the "s," as in "It's the girl's cake." There are other ways to use an apostrophe, but that is the correct way to show possession.
Which sentence below uses the correct "lie" or "lay"?
I am going to lie down.
The form "lie" doesn't need an object, so it can be used as an action. "Lay" must have an object following it, but it is also the past-tense of "lie" so it can be used as an action only if a time in the past is also used in the sentence.
"Nor" is only used in before the second in a series of alternatives and only when "neither" introduces the first. "Or" is used when "not" is used to introduce the first, and "or" is used before the second alternative.