A quick test for people who think they know American English! Select the answer that is most American and/or most grammatically correct.
1. Which is correct?
a. Thanks Fred.
b. Thanks, Fred.
2. Let's just leave this _____ .
a. between you and I
b. between you and me
3. She's a real _____ .
4. If I _____ I wouldn't have farted in the tub.
a. could have known about her phobia,
b. had known about her phobia,
5. Give this prize to _____ ate the most hot dogs.
6. Which is correct?
a. She said, "Sit down."
b. She said, "Sit down".
7. If you want to succeed in this company, _____ and don't make waves.
a. tow the line
b. toe the line
8. That was a strange proposition to Fred and _____ .
9. I try to brush my teeth _____ .
b. every day
10. This restaurant has a great _____ .
c. either A or B
11. I saw her in the woods-- _____ .
a. butt naked
b. buck naked
12. When I finally found her ring and ran up, gasping, to give it to her, she sighed and said, "_____ ."
a. Never mind
13. I'll _____ be there.
14. The sky boomed with thunder and sizzled with _____ .
15. Visiting the White House is quite a _____ !
16. I'm not _____ to being set up on a blind date.
17. _____ elementary, Watson.
18. I felt so _____ about how disastrous her birthday party was.
19. Despite the chaos around him, Phineas was _____ .
20. Which is correct?
a. I wonder where my car went.
b. I wonder where my car went?
21. She stared in frank amazement at his _____ salmon.
a. enormous, twenty inch
b. enormous twenty-inch
22. As the Titanic tilted crazily, she held _____ the railing for dear life.
b. on to
23. Watch out for the thundering _____ !
24. All that has happened has been in accordance with the _____ .
25. Einstein, not merely a genius, was a kind _____ he once rescued a treed cat.
How'd you do?
Answers follow; highlight the space between the brackets to see them.
[1. B; 2. B; 3. A; 4. B; 5. A; 6. A; 7. B; 8. B; 9. B; 10. C; 11. B; 12. A; 13. B; 14. A; 15. B; 16. B; 17. A; 18. A; 19. A; 20. A; 21. B; 22. B; 23. B; 24. B; 25. A]
Scale of Achievement:
25: "I am a Jedi, like my father before me."
24: "Impressive. Most impressive."
20-23: "You are not a Jedi yet."
15-19: "You will pay the price for your lack of vision."
10-14: "Scruffy-looking nerfherder!"
5-9: "Your feeble skills are no match for the power of the dark side!"
1-4: "I have a bad feeling about this."
What language rant topics do the above questions cover? Highlight the [bracketed area below] to see.
[1. vocative comma: always use when addressing someone!
2. pronoun case: object of preposition
3. diction (trouper = member of troupe = stalwart team player, not a soldier)
4. verb tense in conditional sentences: if (pluperfect) ➞ main (conditional past)
5. pronoun case: "whoever" is correct as subject of clause
6. US vs. UK punctuation (too many Americans forget what country they live in)
7. idioms: people put their toes up against the painted line
8. pronoun case: don't be an idiot and use a subject pronoun when an object pronoun is called for
9. adverb of frequency = every day; "everyday" = adjective meaning "ordinary"
10. spelling trivia: some words have more than one acceptable spelling
11. idioms: village idiots mishear this as "butt nekkid"
12. compounds: or, more precisely, when not to use compounds
13. spelling: there is no "a" in "definitely"!!!!!
14. spelling/diction: "lightening" comes from the verb "to lighten (a load, the sky, etc.)"
15. spelling: no "d" in "privilege"
16. diction: adverse [conditions], averse [attitude]
17. spelling/diction: it's = it is; its = possessive adjective
18. diction: with a linking verb like "feel," you need a predicate adjective, not an adverb
19. spelling/diction: only someone who had never actually read the word "to faze" would get this wrong
20. mood: "I wonder" is always declarative-- NEVER interrogative!
21. punctuation: hyphenate phrasal adjectives before a noun; no comma for non-coordinate adjectives
22. diction: the phrasal verb's infinitive form is "to hold on" not "to hold onto," which makes the "to" separate
23. spelling/diction: you'd have to be a moron not to get this one
24. spelling/diction: as above. "Prophesy" (-"sigh") is a verb; prophecy (-"see") is a noun
25. punctuation: a semicolon separates two related or contrastive clauses]