WORD COURT ARCHIVES

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September 6th, 2006

Word Court's third-anniversary quiz

by Barbara Wallraff



It’s back-to-school time, and Word Court has just celebrated its third anniversary -- so let’s have a pop quiz that’s also a contest. To enter, answer the 10 questions below and either mail me the newspaper clipping with your answers marked or send the letters corresponding to your answers (for instance, “1.A.”, “2.B.”) as a “comment” on my Web site, www.wordcourt.com. The deadline for postmarks or submissions is a week from today. The winner, who will be chosen at random from those who get all the answers right, will receive an autographed copy of my “Word Court” book. Good luck!

1. Choose one:
A. This first question is meant to orientate you and brooch the subject of correct English.
B. This first question is meant to orientate you and breach the subject.
C. This first question is meant to orient you and broach the subject.

2. What’s wrong with the sentence “If you had drank a cup of coffee before you started this quiz, it might have helped you concentrate”?
A. It shouldn’t end with a question mark the way it does.
B. “Had drank” isn’t good English. It should read “had drunk.”
C. There are no benefits to drinking coffee.

3. Choose one:
A. “If one speaks English, one might as well speak it well.”
B. “If one speaks English, he might as well speak it well.”
C. “If one speaks English, she might as well speak it well.”
D. “If one speaks English, he or she might as well speak it good.”

4. It’s not right to say “‘Word Court’ is a very unique column” because:
A. The column isn’t especially unusual.
B. “Unique” properly means “one of a kind,” so “very unique” doesn’t quite make sense.

5. What has Word Court just celebrated?
A. Its three-year anniversary.
B. Its third anniversary.
C. It’s third anniversary.

6. Choose one:
A. A number of people wonder whether the verb ought to be singular or plural after a phrase that starts with “a number of.”
B. A number of people wonders whether the verb ought to be singular or plural.
C. Nobody wonders about this, and it doesn’t make any difference anyway.

7. Which is correct?
A. A CIA operative, a UN peacekeeper, but an FBI agent.
B. A CIA operative, a FBI agent, but an UN peacekeeper.
C. What is this question doing here?

8. If you’ve bothered to read this far, it suggests that:
A. You like to “toe the line” with respect to good English.
B. You like to “tow the line” with respect to good English.

9. We use singular verbs, like “is” and “has,” with “everybody” because:
A. “Everybody” is plural, so this usage is disputed.
B. “Everybody” is technically singular.
C. Everybody knows the answer to this one!

10. Choose one:
A. If you enjoy this column, I hope you’ll write your newspaper and me about it.
B. If you enjoy this column, I hope you’ll write your newspaper and I.
C. If you enjoy this column, I hope you’ll write your newspaper and myself.
D. All of the above.





© Copyright 2003 by Barbara Wallraff. Reprints require prior permission. All rights reserved.

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