Wednesday, June 13, 2012

so you think you speak Amurrican

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 _____ .

a. trouper
b. trooper

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.

a. whoever
b. whomever

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 _____ .

a. I
b. me

9. I try to brush my teeth _____ .

a. everyday
b. every day

10. This restaurant has a great _____ .

a. ambience
b. ambiance
c. either A or B
d. neither

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
b. Nevermind

13. I'll _____ be there.

a. definately
b. definitely

14. The sky boomed with thunder and sizzled with _____ .

a. lightning
b. lightening

15. Visiting the White House is quite a _____ !

a. priviledge
b. privilege

16. I'm not _____ to being set up on a blind date.

a. adverse
b. averse

17. _____ elementary, Watson.

a. It's
b. Its

18. I felt so _____ about how disastrous her birthday party was.

a. bad
b. badly

19. Despite the chaos around him, Phineas was _____ .

a. unfazed
b. unphased

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.

a. onto
b. on to

23. Watch out for the thundering _____ !

a. hoard
b. horde

24. All that has happened has been in accordance with the _____ .

a. prophesy
b. prophecy

25. Einstein, not merely a genius, was a kind _____ he once rescued a treed cat.

a. soul;
b. soul,

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."
0: "Noooooooooooo!"

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

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