Can You Pick the Grammatically Correct Sentence?

Jennifer Post

Image: Getty Images / Moment / Carol Yepes

About This Quiz

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?

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.

Which sentence below uses the semi-colon correctly?

A semicolon is used to join two separate clauses that are closely related in topic into one sentence. This is helpful to prevent having a bunch of short, choppy sentences in your writing.

Which sentence below uses infer/imply correctly?

"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.

Which word is possessive?

"Their" is possessive, meaning that whatever follows that word is owned by someone. "Their" is always followed by a noun.

Which of the following sentences contains a "danger" word?"

"Danger" words are called such because they introduce a thought that requires a follow-up clause, and many people forget them. Three most common danger words are "if," "when," and "because."

Which of the following sentences is a run-on sentence?

A run-on sentence is a sentence that contains multiple independent clauses that are not separate by any punctuation, or incorrect punctuation. They should not be used, even sparingly.

What sentence has the proper parallel structure?

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.

Which of the sentences below contains a sentence fragment?

A sentence fragment is one that doesn't have a subject, a verb, or both. It lacks an independent clause and therefore, is not a complete sentence.

Which sentence has a correctly placed modifier?

A modifier is a describing word, so think of what is being described. In the example above, the sunglasses are shiny, not the man.

Which sentence makes the most sense?

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.

Which sentence below uses the correct form of comparison?

In a comparison situation, a lot of people forget the part of the sentence that states what they're comparing. If you choose to structure your sentence this way, make sure it is a complete comparison.

Which sentence below refers to a business or entity correctly?

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.

Which sentence is worded correctly?

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 features a double negative?

This is a classic example of bad grammar. Just like math, two negatives equal a positive, so if you didn't want no popcorn, you do, in fact, want popcorn.

What is the subject in the following sentence: "All the girls over there are drinking wine."

The subject of a sentence tells you who the rest of the sentence is about. Include any modifiers to the subject as well, as there is a difference between "girls" and "all the girls."

What is the predicate in the following sentence: "All the girls over there are drinking wine."

The predicate is the action to the subject. So if "all the girls" is the subject, to figure out the predicate, look at the sentence to see what action the girls are performing.

Which sentence below has the correct capitalizations?

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.

Which word below is not an adverb?

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 has a transitive verb?

Verbs can either be transitive or intransitive. The former needs a direct object, while the latter cannot have one. "Sent" is the transitive verb, while "a postcard" is the direct object.

In the sentence, "Mia shot the puck across the ice," what are the nouns?

A noun is either a person, a place, or a thing. In the example above, there are three words that fit that description. The word "across" is a preposition.

Which sentence below uses the correct plural form of "cactus"?

There are a lot of plural words that don't just add an "s" at the end, and "cactus" is one of them. The plural is actually "cacti" although others have become acceptable in casual speech.

Which of the below is a compound sentence?

A compound sentence uses words like "and," "or," or "but" to connect two independent clauses. This is used to prevent short, choppy sentences in writing.

Which sentence below uses the correct abbreviation for the word "pint"?

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."

"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?

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.

How does one know where an apostrophe goes in a possessive context?

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 words "fewer" or "less" correctly?

"Fewer" refers to something you can actually count, whereas "less" refers to a commodity like water or sand; something you can't really count. It can be tricky, so if you aren't sure, look it up.

What about this sentence is incorrect: "I accepted her invite"?

The word "invite" is a verb, so therefore, cannot be accepted as a thing, it can only be done as an action. The "invitation" is the noun that you are accepting.

Which sentence below is correct?

The word "then" is used when listing timely events. The other version, "than," is used when comparing two or more things.

Which sentence below uses the correct "lie" or "lay"?

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.

Of the sentences below, which one is correct?

"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.

Why is the following sentence incorrect: "Which side of the bed are you sleeping on?"

A preposition is a positioning word, and should never be used at the end of a sentence. The correct version of the sentence above is "On which side of the bed are you sleeping."

What example below is a proper use of "since?"

"Since" refers to time, while "because" refers to causation. When you are using "since" it must be used with the correct verb tense since it does refer to time.

What mistake appears in the following sentence: "He went to work for a while."

"A while" and "awhile" are not interchangeable. "Awhile" is an adverb meaning "for a while" and "a while" is a noun.

Which sentence below is correct?

"Capital" refers to uppercase letters, money, or the seat of the government. "Capitol" refers to the building where the government sits, and nothing else.

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