Do You Make these Common Grammar Mistakes? Take the Quiz to Find Out

    common grammar mistakes

    Have you got a good handle on grammar and common word usage?

    Take this quiz to see how sharp your grammar skills really are.

    (If you’re reading this in an email, you need to click on the headline to access the quiz online.)

    Warning: This quiz is just a little more challenging than the usual fare, so be sure you have plenty of time (about 20 minutes). It will show you whether you make common grammar mistakes.


    There are twenty questions in this quiz.

    Read each group of sentences carefully. Choose the correct sentence or best option.

    Once you’ve clicked on your choice, you’ll automatically be taken to the next question.

    You can assume punctuation is correct. (Yeah, yeah, go ahead. Rip me a new one in the comments if you think I’ve made a mistake. I’ll be delighted to give you the award for the sharpest eyes in the blogosphere.)

    Be sure to read the explanations when you check your score. The explanations appear after you’ve completed all the questions.

    Good luck!

    [vqzb quiz_id=2]

    I’ll look forward to your questions and comments! Oh, and please do share this quiz on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, or other social media.

    About the author

      Leah McClellan

      Leah McClellan is a freelance writer, copyeditor, proofreader, gardener, vegetarian, and animal lover who dreams of world peace and writes about communication at Peaceful Planet.

    • My score was 80 percent. I must say, some of the questions were tricky. I am defintely going to use this as a reference when I write. Thank you for sharing this quiz.

    • Gina says:

      I will admit to being confused with #15 – not about the diff between ‘fewer’ and ‘less’, but wouldn’t there need to be a clarifying quantity, as in ‘fewer in the audience than last night”?

      However, this was fun! I like to pride myself on knowing proper grammar (this comment nonwithstanding 🙂

      Thank you!

    • mark bartley says:

      Are both these sentences correct?
      I am a friend of Joy’s.
      I am Joy’s friend.

    • Catherine says:

      My score was 95%. Thank you for this quiz!

    • Stuart says:

      Excellent quiz but I take issue with some of your answers.
      Q1. ‘which was’ and ‘which were’ are both acceptable as the clause could be taken as additional information about the goats in the herd as much as the herd as an entity.
      Q11. None are correct. ‘Since’ refers to an elapsed period of time eg ‘I’ve learned a lot since I started taking evening classes.’ The correct answer would be ‘I decided to leave early AS we hadn’t had a customer for several hours.’ ‘Because’ would also be acceptable but ‘since’ is a common error.
      Q20. Many consider capitalising ‘internet’ and ‘world wide web’ to be outdated now. ‘Email’ without a hyphen is becoming more common but both are still acceptable.

      • Stuart says:

        And yes, I realise I should have written ‘None IS correct.’ Damn.

      • Kaye says:

        Yes! Validating! I learned in a class several years ago that ‘since’ refers to time passage and shouldn’t be used as a substitute for ‘because’. Also I believe the capitals used in the Internet and World Wide Web will ultimately be dropped as these terms are not proper nouns (may be wrong).

    • Dean says:

      95%! Boo-yah! And I knew exactly what I got wrong — whoever. I will never, ever, ever get whoever/whomever right for the rest of my life.

      It’s a good thing you didn’t include a lay/lie sentence, or else I would have gotten two wrong.

      Great quiz, thanks so much!

    • Cloudchaser Sakonige says:

      Instead of Grammar Warrior, 100% should get Grammar Nazi with this as the badge!

    • Jim Hyslop says:

      Now this is frustrating. I got 90%, which means I got two wrong – but I can only figure out one of them. In addition to the correct answer, the final reveal should also indicate what I answered, so I know where I made my mistake.

      • Hi Jim, I’ve been in touch with the creators of this quiz plugin. I told them that people want to know where they went wrong. They want to add that option in the near future.

    • emwcee says:

      I got 100%. I do proofreading and editing as part of my work, and I’ve done quite a bit of freelance writing and editing. These are exactly the kinds of things I look for when I proofread. It’s amazing how many mistakes I catch, even after an editor has gone through something. Our school system needs to do a better job of teaching grammar.

    • Trish Rocca says:

      This was fun. I scored 90%. I wish that there was a way to let us know the answers that we got wrong. I just can’t remember all the answers that I gave. I really like the explanations that were given at the end of the quiz–short and to-the-point.

    • I’m not sure 12 is the best question. “Per your instructions” is sometimes used as “Here is the document, done according to your wishes,” while the right answer is “Here is the document you wanted.” Instructions can be specific, and a request general. There’s a slight difference in meaning between the two.

    • Kellie M says:

      This quiz would be more useful if it told you which ones you missed, because it’s hard to remember after the fact what the choices were.

    • 70% Not bad. Hope to improve it. I really enjoyed this activity. Would love to see more of this. Thanks, Mindy!

    • Judy says:

      Regarding # 14, in what context is “Annabelle was, like, upset” a correct answer? If all answers were correct, why wasn’t that response an option?
      Also, I only missed one. Why was my score only 90%, instead of 95%?

      • Vinita Zutshi says:

        Judy, this question had options A, B, C, D and E. It was the only one with five options.

        And “Annabelle was, like, upset” is the only incorrect answer!

    • Charles Stansfield says:

      I find that the answer in question 20 to be a red herring. The useage respecting the world of computers is in flux. Also, the non-capitalization of diseases makes no sense, except when a generic class of disease is referred to. For example, “cancer” should not be capitalized, but “Cervical Cancer” ought to be. Lymphoma should not be capitalized (except at the beginning of a sentence), while “Hodgkin’s Lymphoma” should definitely be. So, my score of 90% (while I enjoy discussing emerging usage) does not accurately reflect the set-in-stone world of accepted English grammar.

      Finally, as a Canadian, I often find myself impaled on the twin horns of the British/American schism. The test served as a great cleaning of cobwebs, though! Thanks!

      • Charles Stansfield says:

        Oops! And I have shown myself to be lacking in editorial acumen in my first sentence! Apologies.

    • Hi Leah,

      Thanks for this great quiz.

      (I got a perfect score. Yay!)

      Sharing it with my friends.

    • john says:

      I just subscribed and am keen to check out the book and read more of this website. I don’t know why it’s taken me so long to find this. Thanks for the awesome post.

    • S. A. Hunt says:

      I don’t recall seeing any mistakes, but your sentence structure is atrocious. D:
      I probably would’ve gotten a higher score if more of your choices were coherent. This is like losing a tennis match because I’d been given a frying pan.

    • Ian says:

      Another quick thought from an Englishman on the discussion concerning the possessive apostrophe. When I was at school half a century ago we were taught that although it would be strictly correct to add the extra apostrophe s to words that already contained two ‘s’ sounds, (such as Jesus, Moses, Confucius, etc giving Jesus’s, Moses’s and Confucius’s ), it did not sound elegant, either in speech or writing, so it is better to leave out the last ‘s’ sound.

    • Tom says:

      I have two issues regarding the first question about the herd of goats:
      1. The herd is the subject of the main clause “…was led to safety”, but in my opinion not necessarily the subject of the relative clause “…terrified by the pack of snarling dogs”.
      Consider the following situation and rewritten sentence: The *goats were* terrified by the pack of snarling dogs. The herd was led to safety. >> The herd of *goats*, which *were* terrified of the pack of snarling dogs, was led to safety.
      Do you find the sentence above acceptable? If not, what is your opinion about the following sentences:
      A. After watching the movie, the group of children, some of whom were delighted and some of whom were bored, was led out of the cinema.
      B. After watching the movie, the group of children, some of which was delighted and some of which was bored, was led out of the cinema.
      In my opinion, clearly it is the children one by one, and not the the whole group that is the subject of the relative clause, therefore the sentence A is correct, and the sentence B seems wrong.

      2. Did you consider that, unlike in American English, in British English collective nouns often take the plural verb? By the way, Oxford Dictionary defines herd as “a large group of animals, especially hoofed mammals, that *live, feed, or migrate* together or *are* kept together as livestock:”
      Would you still consider answer B as incorrect from the British point of view?

      • Leah McClellan says:

        Hi Tom,

        You’ve clearly put a lot of thought into this. As I see it, though, the entire herd (made up of goats) was terrified. You don’t even need to mention that it’s goats if you don’t want to: “the herd was terrified.” Maybe do some reading and see what you come up with. “Of goats” modifies “herd” in my book, and herd is the subject of the sentence.

        Since I’m American, I wrote an American quiz. I’m aware of that British convention, but I can’t take every reader into account. Maybe another time we could do a British English quiz!

        • Tom says:

          OK, let’s leave British English alone.
          I agree that your sentence is correct. I wonder if my sentence is definitely incorrect, and if so, why.
          I have followed your advice and checked a number of books including English Usage by Tim Storre & James Matson, as well as The Handbook of Good English by Edward Johnson. I also consulted a number of websites, but I don’t have access to CMS. If you can point me to another, better source, I will be very grateful.
          What I found is that, more correctly, neither the noun phrase “herd of goats” nor the noun “goats” is the subject of a the relative clause; the relative pronoun “which” is. The pronoun may refer to the herd, but I don’t see a reason why it cannot refer to the goats themselves.
          How about “The herd of goats, terrified by the pack of snarling dogs, was led to safety” to avoid possible confusion?

          • Leah McClellan says:

            OK here is your sentence (well, sentences):

            The *goats were* terrified by the pack of snarling dogs. The herd was led to safety.

            That’s fine. In the first sentence, goats is the subject. It’s plural. Therefore it takes the third person plural form of the past tense of the verb “to be” (as in “they were”). In the second case, herd is the subject. It’s singular, and therefore it takes the third person singular form of the past tense of the verb “to be” (as in “it was”).

            Do we agree there?

            The herd of *goats*, which *were* terrified of the pack of snarling dogs, was led to safety.

            Here the subject is “herd,” not goats. What kind of herd? Doesn’t matter. “The herd of purple polka-dotted armadillo-like creatures, which was (the herd was) terrified of the pack of snarling dogs, (it–the herd) was led to safety.

            It’s just a totally different subject now with a prepositional phrase modifying it. Could be the herd of the freaky creatures from outerspace–doesn’t matter.

            “What I found is that, more correctly, neither the noun phrase “herd of goats” nor the noun “goats” is the subject of a the relative clause; the relative pronoun “which” is. The pronoun may refer to the herd, but I don’t see a reason why it cannot refer to the goats themselves.”

            You’re right to an extent (“goats” is the object of the preposition “of” and, together, they modify “herd”). But which, as you say, is the subject in a (this particular non-restrictive) relative clause. But in this case, it’s referring back to a singular subject as a way of describing it. Why? Beats me. lol It makes sense, though. If we’re talking about a herd, why not stick with it throughout the sentence? Why switch over to the plural “goats” which is the object of the preposition and merely a modifier? If you can find something to contradict that, I’m all ears.

            “How about “The herd of goats, terrified by the pack of snarling dogs, was led to safety” to avoid possible confusion?”

            I’ll buy that! That works too.

            Some resources I like are the Purdue Online Writing Lab:
            and Capital Community College:
            CMOS also has lots of questions and answers that can be helpful (and a subscription is inexpensive)

            Hope that helps!

            • Tom says:

              Thank you for your informative and patient reply.
              Again, I quite readily agree that in this particular case the singular verb is a legitimate option.
              Alas, I don’t think it’s an iron grammar rule, it’s an exception.

              As long as the herd and the goats are synonymous it is slightly better to stick with *was* for the sake of clarity. However, the moment the herd and the goats don’t refer to exactly the same number, we are in trouble. In the sentence “The herd of goats, some of which were terrified by the pack of snarling dogs, was led to safety” *which* refers to the goats, not the herd.
              Same happens when the prepositional phrase is different from the noun phrase it modifies.
              How about this sentence: “A new pack of cards, which _____ already marked by the cardsharp, was dealt”. Would you use *was* or rather *were*?
              How about “The producers of goat cheese, which _____ highly nutritional, are located in the Alps” What is nutritional here – the cheese or the producers?
              To sum up my point here, the noun phrase in a prepositional phrase can be a valid subject of a relative clause.

              Also, on a lighter note, even in this particular case I’m not ready to dismiss the goats as a mere modifier of the herd. They are a vital part of the sentence and cannot be simply replaced with freaky creatures from outer space.
              I ask these questions: Can goats be terrified? Yes. Can a herd of goats be terrified? Yes. Can an abstract herd be terrified? No! Imagine a situation where there would be a herd of absolutely fearless, invincible robots terrified of a pack of snarling dogs. That would be absurd. It is important that it is the goats that are terrified, even if they are merely an object of a preposition.

              You can choose to focus on the singular herd, I can choose to be more concerned with the plural goats. It’s not a question of the right or wrong grammar here. It’s the question of a different thinking.

      • Vinita Zutshi says:

        Hi Tom,

        I’d say British English would also pick “the herd was” as the correct answer.

        The herd might be a large group of animals, but it is a singular herd.

        To quote another example, a class is a group of students. So: “The students were restive.”

        But: “The class was restive”, not “The class were restive”.

        • Tom says:

          Hi Vinita,

          I see your point, and the sentence “The herd of goats was led to safety” needs a singular verb IMO.

          However, this is not so obvious when you you think of the group not as one thing but as the constituent parts, which is more common in British English. I didn’t express myself clearly before, but I feel that when it comes to the sensation of being terrified I would think of individual goats,rather than the herd. That’s why it seems possible to me that the relative clause refers to the goats and the more abstract herd and THAT is my point. I’m not saying that a Brit would ever say “the herd of goats were terrified”, because at this point I simply don’t know. Perhaps a Brit could weigh in?

          Nevertheless, in your example about a class I do think it is possible in British English to say “The class were restive” Here are some real-life examples I found:
          “‘The day started normally enough, the class were excited about being dressed up as Vikings and were chatting about what was going to happen…”
          “The class were restless and giggly and at no stage were they prepared to take the discussion seriously.”
          “Mr London asked if the class were happy with the decisions Kimberley, Emma and Joy had made.”

          • Tom says:

            Please excuse my mistakes. It should have read “and NOT to the more abstract herd”

            • Ian says:

              Tom, here’s an Englishman weighing in again. The example sentences that you found were all badly constructed (I won’t go into the whys and wherefores unless you want me to). The easy way to decide on a singular or plural verb form is to find your subject and ask yourself how many items are involved. Is it one entity (eg a single herd) or is it more than one entity (eg a number of goats). If you are trying to use the same verb for both it will never work and your sentence needs to be reconstructed.

            • Tom says:

              Ian, thank you and yes, could you kindly prop up your words with more detailed explanation and possibly sources? I combed through many books and websites, all claiming that collective nouns, such as team, family, class etc. can take both singular and plural verbs, and that especially in British English the plural form is often preferred where the singular is used in American English. Do we disagree on that? How does it correspond to your explanation so far? Is a family one entity or a number of members?
              Should I say “Our family isn’t poor anymore” or can I plump for “My family are doing okay these days”? How about “His family is waiting in the next room, but they have not been informed yet of his condition”?

            • Ian says:

              Tom, these days agreements seem to be more a matter of what sounds better to the person speaking or writing, which often varies according to where they live. As far as the strict rules of agreement are concerned, what used to be taught was that the verb always agreed with the subject. Taking your sentence above as an example there is only one family involved, so it should take the singular verb. If, however, your sentence construction had referred to several members within that family it would take a plural verb (eg all the members of my family are doing okay). It can get tricky when you begin a sentence with something like ‘everybody in my family …’ but again ‘everybody’ is a singular entity so would be followed by ‘is staying’. When you mix ‘my family’ with ‘they’ in the same sentence (as in your last example) there are often subjects that are ‘understood’ (they refers to all the members, not to the single family). I agree that both your earlier sentences (‘the family is’ or ‘the family are’) seem to be common now. The trend towards using singular and plural subjects and verbs interchangeably jars with me as a former English teacher, but as you point out, British English and many reference works now think it acceptable. I suspect that modern usage is largely the result of lazy construction. Unfortunately when enough people use something incorrectly an ‘expert’ will appear from somewhere and create a rule to justify it. That said, I suppose any living language is constantly changing with usage, so there is not much point my getting hot under the collar about what was correct in my day. I could probably write a book about my pet peeves or the mistakes I see nowadays and how they evolved.

            • Tom says:

              I was under the impression that in British English the use of notional agreement between singular nouns and pronouns denoting more than one entity and plural verbs has been a natural if not codified feature for a long time (according to ‘Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary of English Usage’ since the Middle Ages) and only recently it has been slowly being replaced by the more general formal subject-verb agreement. I definitely noticed than even within the UK the opinion on the matter is divided, so that the Guardian and the Times follow two different practices. By the way, all the ‘family’ sentences were based on examples of correct English Grammar in Collins Cobuild English Usage.

              So, I don’t think that every sentence that links a plural verb to a collective noun indicates bad grammar or laziness. It may sound clumsy to some ears, it may sound better when rewritten, but I don’t see the sentence – “The class were restless and giggly and at no stage were they prepared to take the discussion seriously.” – as badly constructed from the grammatical point of view.
              My understanding here is that the class here clearly indicates the collection of individual students and not the whole group. Do you disagree with such interpretation?

              Grammar aside, such usage is definitely not uncommon, even if frowned upon by grammar purists who insist that it is wrong to carelessly split infinitives and use prepositions to end sentences with. 😉 (Both rules were imposed on English under the influence of Latin grammar, and now are largely seen as unnatural and alien to the language)

              In any case, I must say that the discussion helped me understand the issue better. I’m just not sure what I should tell my students the next time somebody raises the point.

      • Leah McClellan says:

        PS to everyone: You ALL get the award for Sharpest Eyes in the Blogosphere:

        You’re all positively brilliant! What a fab discussion 🙂

    • I was wondering how to share the actual web badge on Facebook with the score. The code for the clog just links to the actual quiz, not my results. I’m on a Mac desktop, if that helps, running Chrome.

      And I don’t have a website, so I made one up.

      • Leah McClellan says:

        Hi Sharon,

        I’m not sure. Maybe Mary will see this. Wish I could help.

    • Tom says:

      I have to issues regarding the first question about the herd of goats:
      1. The herd is the subject of the main clause “…was led to safety”, but in my opinion not necessarily the subject of the relative clause “…terrified by the pack of snarling dogs”.
      Consider the following situation and rewritten sentence: The *goats were* terrified by the pack of snarling dogs. The herd was led to safety. >> The herd of *goats*, which *were* terrified of the pack of snarling dogs, was led to safety.
      Do you find the sentence above acceptable? If not, what is your opinion about the following sentences:
      A. After watching the movie, the group of children, some of whom were delighted and some of whom were bored, was led out of the cinema.
      B. After watching the movie, the group of children, some of which was delighted and some of which was bored, was led out of the cinema.
      In my opinion, clearly it is the children one by one, and not the the whole group that is the subject of the relative clause, therefore the sentence A is correct, and the sentence B seems wrong.

      2. Did you consider that, unlike in American English, in British English collective nouns often take the plural verb? By the way, Oxford Dictionary defines herd as “a large group of animals, especially hoofed mammals, that *live, feed, or migrate* together or *are* kept together as livestock:”
      Would you still consider answer B as incorrect from the British point of view?

      • Kay says:

        I agree with you 100%.

    • Sue says:

      I’m a grammar warrior with 90%. It was a fun quiz. I would love to have seen a question or two that highlighted the incorrect use of ‘s with plural nouns and the confusion between its and it’s.

      I’m going to challenge question 12. Just because a reader may not see a word used very often, and it seems “overly formal” or “pompous” to that reader, it doesn’t mean that the word itself is either grammatically incorrect or that it’s being used incorrectly in the sentence. The phrase “as per” would not look out of place in a formal business or academic document as they are both examples of formal writing; “as per” probably would seem pompous in a casual email or blog post.

    • Cedric says:

      Shouldn’t it be World-wide Web? It is a complex adjective, clearly. It’s not a wide web modified by “world”.

      Or it is “worldwide”, and the separation of the terms is an artefact of a historical non-understanding of grammar?

      • Leah McClellan says:

        Hi Cedric,

        Great thoughts there. Yes, a hyphen is often used in the way you describe. In this case, though, it’s seen by most authorities (dictionaries, style manuals, etc.) as a place name. Something like New South Brunswick, or something like that. No hyphens.

        • Cedric says:

          Interesting logic. Thanks for the clarification!!

    • Ian says:

      I would question the correctness of ‘it was she’ in question 8 and your explanation, although I have seen and heard this construction used in American writing and speech for many years. As an English-speaking person I would say ‘It was her’, on the grounds that the full sentence is made up of two smaller sentences, each with its own subject, verb and object, merely joined by the word ‘who’. If you remove this word, your first complete sentence would be ‘It was she’. Breaking this down into parts would give you ‘It’ as the subject and ‘was’ as the verb. Any remainder in the sentence would be an object (regardless of whether it is the same as the person doing the action) and would therefore have to take the object pronoun ‘her’. Unless of course you think it is correct to say something like ‘I am I’ instead of ‘I am me’. I do, however, agree with you that that it is best to change the construction to avoid this sometimes perplexing mistake.

    • Peggy says:

      Question 13’s correct answer is NOT “whomever…..” but “whoever….” because “whoever needs it most” functions as a noun clause and in its entirety is the object of “to.” “Whoever” is the subject of the noun clause, making it the correct choice for #13.

      • Leah McClellan says:

        Thanks Peggy! That’s been corrected.

    • Mary says:

      Terrific quiz. I’m late in telling you so, but I enjoyed taking it very much. You covered some of my pet peeves (fewer vs. less, for example) and your explanations were clear and concise. Thanks for all the work that went into it.

      • Leah McClellan says:

        Thanks Mary! Definitely a lot of work for everyone. 🙂

    • I scored 80%. Not bad – a grammar warrior! Thanks for the fun quiz.

      • Leah McClellan says:

        Awesome! As I’ve said to many others, this wasn’t easy! So good for you. And you’re welcome!

    • I completed the test, but where is my score? I didn’t see anything to click to compile my result.

      • Alan, did you use your computer, or did you complete in a tablet (ipad etc)?
        I’ve asked the Viral Quiz Plugin support why some people didn’t get a score.

    • Katie says:

      I got 85%, which means I missed 3, but I can’t figure out what the third one was. Two of them were 1 and 20, both of which I will fight you on, haha.

      “The herd of goats, which was terrified by the pack of snarling dogs, was led to safety.”

      My first thought here was D, but then I started thinking about how a “which” clause defines the word that precedes it, which in this case is “goats.” So I will argue that the sentence can be read as the goats being terrified by the pack of dogs, while the herd is led to safety. So: “The herd of goats, which were terrified by the pack of snarling dogs, was led to safety.” 🙂 (Were I actually editing this sentence I’d just rewrite it to avoid the issue entirely, I think.)

      As for 20, I knew the “right” answer was going to be one with “email,” both because that’s “allowed” now and because it was spelled that way in an earlier question, but I couldn’t bring myself to choose it! “E-mail” looks so much better to me. (I also didn’t notice the spelling/capitalization issues in the rest of the sentences, which probably would have made me pick C just to minimize the errors! 😉 )

      I have no idea what that third incorrect answer was. I went back through the whole quiz and I can’t find anything I would have picked another answer on, so either I wasn’t thinking when I answered one or I clicked on something I didn’t mean to. Anyway, this was fun! And I like the little grammar kitty for the badge 🙂

      • Leah McClellan says:

        Hi Katie,

        Super that you’re doing so much thinking on this. Check it out: “but then I started thinking about how a “which” clause defines the word that precedes it, which in this case is “goats.”

        It’s herd. “Goats” modifies “herd” (clarifies what kind of herd we’re talking about). So the “which” clause isn’t referring to goats; it’s referring to herd. That’s the sort of thing that gets a lot of us, including me sometimes. It’s tricky 🙂

        Glad it was fun! And thank Mary for the awesome graphics and badges 🙂

        • robintokyo says:

          The herd of goats … “the herd of” is an adjectival clause, modifying “goats,” right?

          • robintokyo says:

            (Woops, hit return by mistake)

            plus, the goats were terrified, not the herd, so they “were” led to safety.

            … unless i’m mistaken …

          • Leah McClellan says:

            Hi Robin,

            Good insight there. “Herd” is the subject of the sentence, and “of goats” is a prepositional phrase that modifies the noun “herd.” It could be any kind of herd (of sheep, of elephants, etc.). The important part is that the verb goes with herd, not “of goats.”

    • Karen says:

      I’m pleased with my 95% score, but I can’t for the life of me figure out which one I missed! It’s going to drive me crazy!

      • A writer says:

        Ditto, except I’m disappointed and confused as an original member of GOFU (Grammarian Old F*** Union), that I had only 90% and I don’t know which ones. This has me very nervous and aware!

      • Leah McClellan says:

        95% is great! But I know what you mean. Maybe go through it again, write down your responses, and compare them to the page with the correct responses?

    • Wanda says:

      Okay, I’ve scanned through all your comments and didn’t see anyone mention this, so I will. I thought surely someone would comment about your very first sentence: “Have you got a good handle on grammar…..” “Have you got” always gets me!!! Argh. Shouldn’t it read “Do you have a good handle….”?

      My score was 90% and like others said already, I would like to see which answer I selected when you discuss the correct answers.

      Thanks! I’m always correcting spelling and grammar at work, in books I read, on stores in signs……I’ve often wondered if I missed my calling and should have been an editor. 🙂

      • Leah McClellan says:

        Hi Wanda,

        What’s wrong with “Have you got?” I’ll never use it again if you can find a rule that says it’s not acceptable in American English (I’m American). 🙂

      • Vinita Zutshi says:

        Welcome to the fold, Wanda! 🙂

    • Irwin says:

      This test is awesome. It’s like going back to grammar class in elementary–stuff that many of us tend to forget after graduation. Thanks for sharing this.

      • Leah McClellan says:

        Thanks Irwin!

    • A true wake-up call for all writers. It’s scary how quickly good grammar can get away from you.

      Fun & educational! Well, done Leah!

      • Leah McClellan says:

        Thanks Gary! In an ideal world, we’d all have our own personal editors and proofreaders. But alas, it’s not ideal, and even teams of editors at big publishing houses or newspapers fail to catch errors. Writing is a tough gig 😀

    • Robert says:

      Just finished the quiz, and I got a 65%. I have to say, I’m more than a little disappointed at my results. Looks like I have quite a bit to study up on, but this was a great reminder of how easy it can be let grammar slide.

      • Leah McClellan says:

        Hi Robert! That’s not so bad though I know you want to do better. It’s a tough quiz and tricky. Maybe you can go through the quiz again and look up each situation and make sure you know the rule!

    • Ron says:

      Hi Mary,
      I took the quiz using a iPad 4 and nothing happened after I marked the final response. Great quiz though. Kicks us out of autopilot for a while.

      • OH! So, sorry, Ron

        Did you see the explanations?

        I’ll get back to the Viral Quiz Builder people with your problem and will let you know their answer in a comment here.

    • I’m really excited about this quiz. It was a lot of work for Leah, Vinita, and me [grammar???] to put it together.

      Here’s a an interchange with Leah when I needed five more questions:


      Mary, Mary, frightfully harried
      gave me more work to do.
      So I grabbed a beer
      and cried never fear
      and got it all done in a few.

      MARY :

      Dear, dear Leah,
      caught in some arrears.
      She stood on her head
      and wiggled her leg
      and out popped some new quiz ideas.

      • Leah McClellan says:

        OMG you didn’t post this! lol :::Wipes brow::: You did. haha

        And you guys are worried about typos in comments? HAH I comment to Mary in silly poems 😀

        (And you’d think she’d at least put the missing period in there for me!)

        • He he!

          I’ve put the missing period into your poem, Leah!

    • Julie says:

      I was wondering if 85% is a good score to admit on a site/blog, or should I wait until I’ve studied more and get an evern higher score?

      • Julie says:

        And I tried to correct my typo before submitting my comment. 🙁

        • I think 85% is a great score! Be proud and put that badge up on your site 🙂

          • Julie says:

            Thanks (and this is still me — just made a new Gravatar w/my face instead of my log). I wish I could’ve gotten at least a 90, but oh well. I scored higher on other tests, but we were warned this would be harder. I thought about researching my answers, but then decided…nah! I’ll just see what I’m really made of! <— And yes, one of my bad habits when commenting is end-of-sentence prepositions. Not to mention fragments.

            I requested the free ebook and probably will take the course. I've been thinking about brushing up on my grammar for a while now. I did some work on it within the past year, and it's helped some. However, I need more help.

      • Leah McClellan says:

        That’s a great score! This is a tough quiz. And I don’t think Mary has a rule about typos in comments–it’s just comments, no need to be concerned (that’s my motto, anyway, since I make plenty–I have other stuff to edit as perfectly as possible!).

    • This was fun… shared. Thanks!

    • I scored 85%. I did not know that World Wide Web or Internet are capitalized. I did not know what piqued meant. There wasn’t anything to compare “fewer people in the audience” to, so I chose the other answer. Grammarly used to correct me all the time for leaving off the second half of the comparison. If the second half had been there, I would have chosen that one.
      After my car wreck, I have cognitive issues and am on a lot of medications. I had to go back over a lot of grammar, and that is the only reason I knew the answers to the other questions.

      • A writer says:

        Fewer: Count, many, numbers, e.g. fewer people, fewer bottles of water
        Less: Non-count, much, volume, e.g., less population, less water in each bottle

      • Hey Amish Author,

        85% is great! The bit about Internet and World Wide Web isn’t all that common. And “piqued” isn’t such a common word either, but it’s often used incorrectly. And you’re not the only one who focused on a comparison even though the point of the question was “less vs. fewer.”

    • I love this quiz. The examples remind me of the grammar program my mom and my Latin teacher wrote. Am I the only one who laughs at dangling phrases?

      You missed one of my pet peeves, though: Neither John nor Robert were present. Drives me crazy when people’s subjects and verbs don’t agree!

      • We could always ask Leah to create another quiz … 😉

      • Hi Katherine, Glad you liked it. Something about dangling modifiers or dangling participles makes me chuckle too 🙂

        Subject-verb agreement–yeah, I’m with you. What really drives me insane is :::drum roll::: Split compound predicates! lol (see my recent post on my own blog).

    • Ivan Izo says:

      This was an interesting way to present grammar Leah. I find grammar books sleep inducing. I made a few mistakes and the explanations were very good. Thanks for the post.

      • Glad it didn’t put you to sleep, Ivan! And you’ll have to thank Mary for the quiz format. It was all her idea! I’m just the writer behind the scenes 🙂

    • Kelly Marino says:

      95%! I was sure I had answered them all correctly, but I DID learn from my mistakes. Thanks for posting this great quiz and helping me defeat the two “grammar gremlins” that tripped me up 🙂 (Or is it “grammar gremlins” WHO tripped me up? LOL. Actually, I’ll go with ‘THAT’ because they aren’t human. I hope I’m right…)

      • Great score, Kelly!

        I’d say go with “grammar gremlins who tripped you up.” You don’t want to make them angry by referring to them as a non-sentient being, do you? Eeek 🙂

    • When I completed the quiz, there was no score. Did I do it wrong?

      • Not sure, Annette. I’m just the resident grammarian. 🙂 Maybe you could try again?

    • Valerie says:

      I scored 85%. I agree that it would have been nice to know where you went wrong.

    • Jeremy says:

      Thanks for this, it was a fun quiz! Reading the explanations, I realised how silly I was because those rules are all very familiar to me.. I usually write without thinking too much grammar, so I chose my answers without thinking too much too, heh.

      • Hi Jeremy,

        Glad you had fun! You’re right; it’s easy to write without thinking about grammar rules. I do it too. If we worry about it we won’t be creating something brilliant. So it’s best to go over our work in a separate step to fix pesky little mistakes 🙂

    • FrankH says:

      Great quiz, and I learned a lot. However, it would have been even more useful if I knew which questions were answered incorrectly. 85% is not to shabby, but its frustrating not to know specifically where improvement is needed. Think I’ll take the whole thing again….

      • Thanks for this comment, Frank. I’ll feed back to the Viral Quiz Plugin creators that this is a drawback of this particular quiz software. I too think it would be good to see where the mistakes were.

    • Thank you, Leah McClellan for creating a grammar quiz, and Mary Jacksh, thank you for setting it up. On Questions 18 and 19 I appreciated learning about essential and nonessential clauses, “that” and “which,” and commas or no commas. It was helpful for the sentences in both questions to be about architecture as a field of study.

      I have condensed your information as follows:
      essential = “that” without commas
      nonessential = “which” with commas.

      • Leah McClellan says:

        You’re welcome, Barbara! Love that you really thought about this 🙂

    • Isabelle says:

      Fun quiz! I got 90%. I’m pretty proud:-)

      • Leah McClellan says:

        Yay! You should be proud! I made it difficult on purpose knowing that many WTD readers are pretty advanced. And those who aren’t get a chance to try something tougher than usual 🙂

    • Kay says:

      #16 are all incorrect …. the possessive of Williams is Williams’ … not Williams’s…

      • Kay says:

        I got 95%

        • A writer says:

          I agree that “Williams’s” is correct. Jones’s, Kress’s, Jesus’s are correct too.
          An “s” at the end of a word doesn’t change the rules, but does require an additional syllable

          • The Writer's Midwife says:

            This was a GREAT quiz. Thanks so much. Okay, I admit it . . . I was pleased as punch to get them all correct. After almost 24 years as an editor, I would have been embarrassed if I’d gotten any wrong. But it’s also true that I had some doubts about my answers as I went through the questions. We all are still learning as we go, writers and editors alike. Posts such as these help us all.

            One minor but interesting factoid . . . re: Williams’ vs. Williams’s. For ages, CMS (*The Chicago Manual of Style*) had two exceptions to the apostrophe rule for possessives: Jesus and Moses. These venerable ones were the only individuals who weren’t saddled with the extra *s*–for some arcane reason that evidently came up for reconsideration. The 16th edition of CMS, I believe, which is the most recent, changed the the rule, so now Jesus and Moses are treated like everyone else!
            (Mary, is “minor” in my first sentence incorrect? Does “factoid” imply minor-ness?)

            Also, what do you do re: the treatment of words that would normally appear in italics but cannot be italicized because of limitations in the software on pages such as these? I was taught to use asterisks, as I have above, because using quotation marks could confuse people, leading them to believe that in normal copy, quotes would be used.

            Thanks again.

            • A writer says:

              another option is underscore

            • Leah McClellan says:

              Great thoughts, Midwife. Yes, asterisks would have been better than the quotes. A little tough here with Mary setting up the quiz, Vinita taking care of edits and fitting things into the quiz, and only so much time with no way on my side to look at the quiz in a preview mode.

              The bit about Williams is interesting, but nobody seems to have caught the real mistake: it should be William! lol I use Chicago too; I’ll have to look up Jesus and Moses 🙂

            • A writer says:

              That is hysterical! I just went back to the original questions and, absolutely! None of us saw or heard that error at all!

              If it were a last name, Williams, I would say the Williams’s, or the Jones’s or Jonas’s house. But as I look at these, they look wrong to me. I think it would be be a simple apostrophe after the s (Williams’ or Moses’) but I would pronounce it with an added syllable. And were I to make them plural, I would add an “es” as in “the Joneses came to our house last night” and, obviously, pronounce an additional syllable.

              Apologies for my pontification.

      • Leah McClellan says:

        Thanks Kay! I’m chuckling at this one. It should be “William” not Williams. William as in a boy’s or man’s name. This is a great example of how tough it can be to make everything perfect in a 3000+ word post. And make that post about grammar, throw in two experienced editors on different sides of the globe (Vinita plus me), and have a blog owner on an island somewhere between the two editors and you have a lovely recipe for…a mostly great post! Thanks 🙂

        • Hey friends, I’ve corrected the answers to question 10. They now all start like this:

          ” A. William’s job responsibilities included …”

          Everyone happy now?!

          • A writer says:

            I am!

        • Vinita Zutshi says:

          Hey All!

          Leah, here’s what happened.

          The options suggested the name was Mr. Williams. In my book, the job of Mr. Williams (ouch!) would be Mr. Williams’ job.

          When I checked a couple of resources, I learned that it would be Mr. Williams’s job, so I didn’t bother you.

          And now – we’re all having a great conversation! 🙂 🙂

          Kudos to you, Leah!

          • Leah McClellan says:

            Things get curioser and curioser! That’s from Alice in Wonderland in case anyone wonders 🙂

            Those darned options and auto-correct and all that … Thanks Vinita–this has been so much fun! 🙂

    • Alison says:

      The answer to #13 is whoever, not whomever, because “to whoever needs it most” is a prepositional phrase containing a dependent clause.
      to = preposition
      whoever = subject of dependent clause
      needs = verb of dependent clause
      it = direct object of dependent clause
      When the entire phrase is the object of the preceding clause, you have to look within the phrase to determine whether to use whoever or whomever.

      • Hi Alison,

        That’s a brilliant analysis. I looked at your links; I’m familiar with both. Grammarbook states it quite clearly, but I’m going to stick with whomever for now. (Give it to him/whom/whomever.) I use Grammarbook’s quizzes in my courses, and I’ve found a couple tiny little errors. This might not be one of them, but it could be. Or it could just be a difference of opinion. I’ll look it up in Chicago Manual.

        Meanwhile, I recommend avoiding anything that sounds like whom 🙂 It sounds so stuffy.

        • Prosthetic Foreheads says:

          Alison is right for the reasons that she stated. “Whomever” is just plain wrong. It’s not a matter of taste, and it’s not up for a vote.

    • I missed one, but don’t know which one since I didn’t records my own results. I expected it would show at the end. But probably one that on was on the fence about since I didn’t notice it when I read the explanations. This was one of the best grammar quizzes I’ve seen.

      • Hi Marlene, Maybe an upcoming version of the quiz software will show questions that were missed. And thanks!

    • Sue says:

      Scratch the question above. Read your answer once again and now get it. If the answer option was:

      There were FEWER people in the audience tonight compared to last night. Then the answer would also be correct.

      • Greg says:

        Don’t feel bad, Sue. I made the exact same mistake on the way to my (somewhat embarrassing) 85% score. One of my pet peeves is the use of comparatives without actual … you know, *comparisons*.

        I suppose that’s my reward for taking a grammar and usage quiz when I should be working.


      • Daph says:

        That one got me too. I’m with Greg, how can you use a comparative and not compare it to anything?

      • A writer says:

        Count (numbers) vs non-count (volume)

    • Sue says:

      80% not too bad

      About question number 15. Answer: Fewer people were in the audience tonight,

      MY answer:
      There were less people in the audience tonight compared to last night.

      If you say there are fewer people I want to know compared to what. Which is why answer D (above), should also be correct. Why would I be wrong?

      • Hi Sue,

        It’s a matter of count nouns vs. non-count nouns. Less water, fewer people.

        As for wanting a “compared to what,” I know what you mean. In the context of an article, blog post, or conversation, however, you don’t always need the comparison in the sentence itself. Even so, the focus of #15 is “Less vs. Fewer.” So that’s where the focus needs to be, and it’s part of the challenge of editing our own work (distractions, though a question like this in an aside about a quiz is always great 🙂

    • ngb says:

      I ignored the request to take it slowly because I have a tendency to over think things and I scored 70%. This was a great quiz and I love the fact that you took the time to list the detailed explanations. Makes me love this site even more! Thanks!

      • You’re welcome! Glad you liked it.

        Sometimes it’s good to go with your initial response to quiz questions. But it’s even better to know the rule that covers the situation and know exactly why you’re choosing a particular response. That means taking it slow and maybe looking things up 🙂

    • A writer says:

      Be sure to remember you answers to each question for scoring. I don’t know which ones I got wrong, but I only got 90% and haven’t a clue why. I think I might have checked the wrong internet grammar, but I must have had another one wrong. I would like to learn by correction!

      It was a fun test and gave me a lot of laughs!

      • A writer says:

        Sorry about the typo–remember _your_ answers. I shouldn’t type without my glasses.

      • Glad you had fun and got some laughs! I agree; it would be nice if the designer of the quiz set it up so you can see exactly which one you got wrong. You could go over it again in the explanations 🙂

        And please don’t worry about typos in comments. Don’t we have enough posts and articles and other serious business to fuss over without worrying about perfect comments? 😀

    • Hi,

      I scored 70 percent. The ones I got wrong was because of usage problem, not grammar.

      I think this sentence in your answer to Q. 17 is wrong. Should it not be “None of the other words except for “Atul” is a proper noun like cities…” instead of “None of the other words except for “Atul” are proper nouns like cities…”

      Please do correct me if I am wrong at this…

      • Hi Kushal,

        Not sure what you mean by usage problem vs. grammar, but 70% is pretty good anyway!

        And you’re right about “none.” None is singular and therefore takes a singular verb. Good eyes!

    • Norm Huard says:

      18 on 20. In your correct answer to question 7, is there a verb tense error?

      Neither my friend nor I wanted to eat in that restaurant after we saw a cockroach.

      Should it be: “Neither my friend nor I wanted to eat in that restaurant after we had seen a cockroach.” ?

      • Leah McClellan says:

        Hey Norm,

        The past perfect could work. It depends on the context or time passed. I had an image in my head of two girls sitting at a table with a cockroach climbing up the wall and talking about the incident shortly afterward.

        Compare: We had seen a cockroach in that restaurant, and we never ate there again.

        Would we want to use “saw a cockroach” in that example? It wouldn’t be wrong; it would suggest a different context and timeline.

        We saw a cockroach in that restaurant, and we never ate there again.

        In any case, neither/nor was the focus. But sharp eyes and great question 🙂

    • Jevon says:

      Who and whom always confuses me, and it succeeded here again. I love the explanations, though. I think I got it now.

      • Hi Jevon,

        I think who and whom confuse a lot of people. It helps to think of “whommmmm” like “himmmmmmm.” Could you use “him” in that spot? If yes, then whom is probably correct.

        And there’s always the “if in doubt, throw it out” option. Just reword it differently and skip the whole who-whom thing 🙂

        • A writer says:

          My father always taught me “To Who” is what owls say!

          While that is too simplistic for this quiz, I still find it helpful and teach it to my ESL students.

          • Leah McClellan says:

            Took me a sec to see how the “to who” and owls thing works, but I get it! Sometimes simple is good 🙂

            • A writer says:

              LOL, it is better in-person! I shoulda spelled it “too hoo” but . . .

    • Ginny Simpson says:

      I enjoyed the quiz!

      On Question 11, would “because” be a better choice than “since?” I thought “since” usually referred to the passage of time. (I haven’t seen you since Thursday.)

    • faraz says:

      well, I scored 75% and a Grammar Ninja.

    • I am a grammar warrior! (Or so the Tweet said…)

      Very good quiz. Off to tell more friends!

    • Mary says:

      About Annabelle (Question 14):

      I chose “seemed” upset because I was assuming the voice of the writer was third person, not omniscient. Is “seemed upset” incorrect? On mulling it over, I thought perhaps “seemed to be upset” would be the more grammatically correct. But that’s wordy, isn’t it?

      Could you put your thinking in the discussion of the solution for that question?


      • Vinita Zutshi says:

        Mary, the error is mine. There was a mismatch between the options and the answer I put in.

        Would you like to go back to the question once more and see the explanation for it? You’ll need to click on the post title to take the quiz once again.

        If you’d rather not, let me know and I’ll reveal all via email.

        My apologies, Leah.

      • Sharp eyes, Mary! I made it more complicated for Mary J. and Vinita with the response possibilities, but I’m sure it’s all fixed now. It’s enough to make anyone’s grammar noodle stick! 🙂

    • Bailish says:

      Love this quiz, but I didn’t get to finish. Got about two-thirds through when I accidentally clicked on the picture instead of my answer. Clicked history, but it took me back to the beginning, but this time my answers were already selected and I couldn’t advance.

      Now I’ll never know if I was correct or not!!! BWAAAHHH!!!

      • Vinita Zutshi says:

        Bailish, you can always click on the post title and re-take the entire quiz.

      • Hmmm – maybe I should get rid of the links in the pics? I left them in because it’s easier for them to be picked up by Pinterest.

        • You can also set WordPress images so there is no link attached to images! There’s a “none” toggle 🙂

          • Thanks Gary. I happen to know how to turn the links off images 😉

            The reason I left the links in was because I thought it would be easier to pin the images on Pinterest.
            Is that correct?

            Or does it make no difference on Pinterest whether there are links or not?

    • My score: 80%—Grammar Warrior! Not bad for a non-native speaker who only started learning English at the age of twelve. 🙂

      • Bravo Jeroen! Definitely not bad at all 🙂

        • Jeanie Clemmens says:

          Piqued is not correct! Webster defines pique as a feeling of resentment or irritation. Peak is “to bring to the maximum” and therefore correct.

          • Cindy says:

            past tense: piqued; past participle: piqued
            piqued is correct
            stimulate (interest or curiosity).
            “you have piqued my curiosity about the man”
            synonyms: stimulate, arouse, rouse, provoke, whet, awaken, excite, kindle, stir, galvanize More
            “his curiosity was piqued”
            feel irritated or resentful.
            “she was piqued by his curtness”
            synonyms: irritate, annoy, bother, vex, displease, upset, offend, affront, anger, exasperate, infuriate, gall, irk, nettle; More

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