Quiz: Are You a Grammar Ninja?

    You’ve heard active verbs pack a wallop to your writing.

    Passive verbs, not so much.

    But do you know the difference?

    Take this grammar quiz to test your knowledge.

    Warning: You won’t find any trick questions in this quiz. But it’s tough, and the sample sentences are complicated. Read carefully and give yourself plenty of time.


    This quiz has ten questions.

    Read the directions for each question carefully.

    Choose the sentence that contains either an active or passive main verb (according to the directions for that question). Remember, a complete sentence contains a subject and a verb that goes with it.

    And be sure your selected sentence makes logical sense.

    When you’ve clicked your choice, your browser automatically presents the next question.

    Assume punctuation and other aspects of grammar are correct—don’t get sidetracked. Remember, this quiz focuses only on active and passive verb forms. If you have questions, leave them in the comment section!

    And when you check your score, don’t forget to read the explanations. They’ll appear after you’ve completed all the questions.

    Good luck!

    [vqzb quiz_id=3]


    How did you go? Let us know in the comments!

    If you enjoyed this quiz and want to try your hand at another one,
    take a look at the following one:
    Are You Making These Grammar Mistakes?

    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.

    • sabadshop says:

      It was an interesting article

    • Gigi Day says:

      Thanks for the great post!

    • Pimion says:

      “Well done! You got 100 % of all questions right!

      Congratulations. You have an excellent grasp of grammar.”

      Thank you for the quiz! That was fun:)

    • Amel says:

      I received a score of 100%. It doesn’t surprise me that so many non-native speakers of English did well on this quiz. Overseas curriculums tend to focus heavily on grammar, and the passive is a favorite topic on most exams. Ask me how I know… 🙂 I used to teach EFL (English as a Foreign Language) to students in the Middle East. EFL books can be a great source of basic grammar information…even for native speakers.

    • After completing the quiz, I received a badge that said: “I’m a Grammar Warrior. My score is 100%.

    • Must admit, i didnt get half correctly

    • Very hard grammar.
      I just got 20%

    • I got 20% for this quiz. not good for grammar.
      I will learn more and more

    • Rob-bear says:

      I think I got all ten. But most of the sentences were way too long for good reading.

    • Rob-bear says:

      I got ten of ten.

    • John says:

      thanks for this post, very helpful

    • Agus Putra Dana says:

      Those are great questions. I got 10. Though it took me minutes to answer each question. From the UX point, the image above each question is attractive…

    • Barbi says:

      Thanks Mary! This was great. I scored a 90 percent ~ my editors would be proud. 🙂 I only wish I could see which one(s) I missed, that would be great for future exercises like these.

    • 100%! I am a non-native studying English as the second language. It feels soo good!!

    • Sérgio M says:

      Very good grammar test, I was always good in this regard, being something that never stressed me in school time.

    • Joe Kovacs says:

      Well, I got nine of 10. I think I know which one I got wrong too….I just got lazy and decided not to take another moment to more carefully consider which was the right answer. What crazy phrases there are in the answer choices! Fun quiz. Thanks, Mary, for posting this for your readers!


    • Guess I’m a grammar ninja! After years of teaching this stuff and playing grammar cop that’s no real surprise. This quiz was so tightly focused on active vs passive constructions, though, that the title is a bit misleading. I expected a more varied collection of grammar traps to play with. And it’s important to remember that the passive gets a bad rap sometimes. It has a role to play in effective writing too, though writers are told to avoid it at all costs. And that leads to some really peculiar constructions sometimes. Good quiz though – keeps readers on their toes. Craft really does equal credibility.

    • Steve Lee says:

      9/10 difficult to read with ads covering part of the sentences.

    • Jamila says:

      This was quite some fun. 100%.

    • Wow! I really thought I would do better than 60%!!! Guess I need to brush up on my active and passive verb usage!

    • Beverly says:

      Nice quiz! Keep them coming!

    • I like it’s 🙂

    • Olga says:

      100%! I guess I am a grammar ninja after all and the years of learning English (it is not my native language) and working as a translator definitely have something to do with the result. 😉

    • I got 100%. Cool.

    • sam says:

      haha I tried it and so far so good. Looks good

    • Shimul says:

      There should be a point or something like how many answers of mine was right. BTW this was very very hard.

    • Mary says:

      Thanks for this post, as I love doing grammar quizzes. I got 70%. I mostly knew which sentences were wrong, but some of them had two which seemed right to me. I then invariably picked the wrong one!. Never mind. I’ll just have to keep learning.

    • Ali says:

      Grammer is always a challenge for me too, but I will come back again to try out if I learnt something from my english speaking friends.

      • Grammar is a challenge for a lot of us, Ali. Take the quiz as many times as you like. And good luck–keep on learning!

    • kath says:

      Thank you for this post. I actually did better than I thought I would do. Which means I am slowly learning. Much to learn though and so I will keep at it.

      • You’re welcome, Kath! Learning is a wonderful thing, and all writers have to keep at it 🙂

    • Ali says:

      haha I tried it and so far so good. Looks good

    • Lana says:

      I loved the quiz but totally sucked…..
      Now I know a weakness of mine and will correct that asap.

      Thanks for the quiz.

      • You’re welcome, Lana! You probably went too fast, that’s all. Check the explanations and try again 🙂

    • THanks for the quiz. I got 100% but I still don’t trust my grammar that much since English is only my second language. I enjoyed the quiz though and the result is an inspiration.

      • Congrats, Felisa! I think not trusting your grammar is a good thing because you probably check your writing carefully and look things up. All writers should do that, even native English speakers (unfortunately many don’t take the time). If we don’t, how can we improve? 🙂

      • Congrats, Felisa! I think not trusting your grammar is a good thing because you probably check your writing carefully and look things up. All writers should do that, even native English speakers (unfortunately many don’t take the time). If we don’t, how can we improve? 🙂

PS if this is a double reply, sorry. Something is going wonky on my end!

    • I had to read carefully, but I got 100%.

      Fun test. Thanks for keeping us on our toes. 🙂

    • Stacy says:

      I got a 100%, but I didn’t actually read any of the sentences. I just scanned them looking for the “be” verbs. It’s how I edit my own work. I think it’s a good technique, I don’t get caught up in what’s happening or missing errors because I know what it’s supposed to say.

      • That’s a great trick, Stacy. I do the same thing for final copyediting in general and recommend it.

    • --Deb says:

      Phew! 100% I would have been so angry with myself with anything less (grin).

      Some of those sentence variations were hilarious, by the way.

      • Yay! Another 100%! And I’m so glad you caught the hilarity 🙂 I was cracking myself up as I wrote some of them.

    • Anna says:

      100% for a non-native! Feeling proud!

    • Alyss says:

      Looks like all those years of Latin grammar paid off! 100% 😀

      • Studying Latin grammar really makes you a Ninja, Alyss! It gives you a sharp eye indeed.

    • Cynthia says:

      Got a 90% on your quiz which makes me a ninja, but I noticed that some of the sentences in the quiz were in need of a little grammar tune up themselves! You might want to edit a bit!

      • Cynthia says:

        I have no idea why the post above (and possibly this one, too) says I recently posted that HuffPo piece. I do write for HuffPo, but that’s not one of my blog posts!

      • Congrats on that 90%, Cynthia! As for the grammar tune-up, some of the sentences are convoluted and illogical for a reason; you’re supposed to choose the correct sentence, after all.

        But if you’d like to post an example of a grammatically incorrect sentence (copy/paste) and cite the corresponding rule from the Chicago Manual of Style, I’d really appreciate it!

    • arfa says:

      The test found to be really helpful and I got 80% – Yaaaay

    • Skipper Hammond says:

      Thanks to Miss Craig, my fourth grade teacher who brought order and understanding to the English language , I got all the answers right. Way back then, fourth through sixth grades in school were called “grammar grades.”

      • Hi Skipper, Congrats! Isn’t that wonderful how one teacher can make a difference in our lives and in our writing? I had one of those too 🙂

    • Alan Perkins says:

      Great quiz. Thanks for posting. Passive vs active is something I’ve always struggled with but I am getting better. The important thing for me to remember is actor vs recipient of action. That helps make it much clearer for me.

      • Hi Alan, Knowing the difference between passive and active isn’t easy for anyone. It’s all about practice: As we edit our own writing, we can make a point to check whether we’ve made the best verb choices.

        “The important thing for me to remember is actor vs recipient of action.” Yep. That’s the trick!

    • Miguel says:

      60%. Now, I’m disappointed with myself. 🙁

      • Aw, cheer up, Miguel. :)This isn’t easy even for experienced writers! Why not take the quiz again after you’ve read the explanations? And make sure you have time to read carefully. It’s easy to make a mistake when you’re going too fast 🙂

      • Aw don’t be sad, Miguel. 🙂 This is tough stuff. I’ll bet if you go over the explanations and take it again, you’ll do much better. Be sure to take your time! It’s easy to make a mistake just from rushing.

    • Juliar Nur says:

      Thanks for the quiz Mary, Up to now, i still lack of knowledge of active and passive words.

    • The test was fun.

      I follow a tip I got many years back: Re-read a sentence you have written. If it does not sound right re-write it.

      I believe ESL learners can write grammatically correct English as much as native English speakers if they work long and hard on it.

      • I agree, Narayanadas, that ESL writers master grammar just as well as a native speaker. And sometimes an ESL writer’s grammar is even better than that of a native speaker because of all the study.

        Your tip is a good one: “Re-read a sentence you have written. If it does not sound right re-write it.” I do that all the time with my own writing.

        The trouble with that, though, is that it might sound right, but is it right? Will it sound right to the reader? If a writer is used to hearing poor grammar and often reads poorly written material, what is going to sound “right?” That’s why knowing grammar rules and style conventions is so useful.

    • tom says:

      Great test! I’ve never been good at punctuation. I did well when in high school, but it seems to get away from you in later life.

      Halifax web design, Nova Scotia

      • Hey Tom, Glad you liked it. And as the saying goes “if you don’t use it, you lose it!” It’s all about practice.

    • Elena says:

      100% and non-native speaker

    • Information useful for me

    • Aoife says:

      Non-native English user over here – 100% score!
      Awesome sauce!

    • Betty says:

      I got 90%. Should’ve been 100% but I’ll take it~

      • Hi Better, 90% is great! And you probably got one wrong only because you read too fast 🙂

      • Oops! Sorry to misspell your name, Betty! I saw the auto-correct kick in just as my comment was posting.

    • Ijeoma says:

      90% awesome! I was not sure at first. But i tried it.
      Thanks for the explanation following. It made it easier to define active and passive verbs.
      Lets do this again soon.

    • Qondomon says:

      Well, I really believed that I would have a 2 right questions, because I really suck in grammar, but after all I get a nice 70%
      And guess what? I smell fast an passive verb because I write them a lot! :O

    • Stephen says:

      Nice post!

    • Aranta says:

      I’m a grammar ninja! Yey! And English isn’t my native language. Thanks for test! =]

      • Hi Aranta! 80% is good! And you can take the quiz again if you want to 🙂

    • Bonita Leary says:

      I took the quiz. I was not given the results. What happened?

      • Hi Bonita, Sorry to hear that happened, but I’m not sure what the trouble could be. Maybe you had a split second of an Internet outage or something like that. Try again?

    • 100%! This was fun.

      • That’s great, Sue! Glad you thought it was fun–I love quizzes too. 🙂

    • Rushdi says:

      Thanks Write to done. Mine all were correct. It made me comfortable about grammer

    • Arun says:

      I am a non-English and the test has improved my confidence level. I was a little hesitant to take up English writing. But now I am sure I can try my hand in English writing.

      • Hi Arun, Just based on the few sentences in your comment, I can tell you’re in good shape to write in English. Go for it! Everyone learns as they go along 🙂

    • Thanks for your helpful article 🙂

    • Chan Huu says:

      After completing the quiz, I received a badge that said: “I’m a Grammar Warrior. My score is 100%.” I might not be a Grammar Warrior but the badge inspired me and made me believe that I have a good sense of grammar.

      Thanks, Leah! I’ve learned a lot from this article.

      • You’re welcome, Chan! 100% is great. Passive and active verbs are tough, and I think you’re definitely a Grammar Warrior 🙂

    • Ana says:

      100%! Not bad for a non-native 😀

    • Leocardia says:

      I somehow learnt a lot from this quiz,I got 70%! I guess am somehow a grammar ninja.

      • Bravo, Leocardia! 70% is great. And if you want to be The Master Ninja, go ahead and take the quiz again after reading the explanations!

    • Mike says:

      I’m, afraid I just chose the sentence that made most sense and consequently got most of them wrong!

      • Hi Mike, Sometimes that works, and sometimes it doesn’t. In the case of active and passive verbs, both can make perfect sense:

        I posted a reply to Mike.
        A reply was posted to Mike by me.

        See? One is active, one is passive. Both make sense. Which one works *best* is what we need to be concerned with (but we have to be able to spot them, first 🙂

    • Well i’m always not so good with my grammar, and the number of questions i got right only confirms this. The test was a good one, and got to learn something new to make meaningful and constructive sentence

      • Hi Grace, It’s definitely all about learning! And this stuff isn’t so easy. Glad you took the quiz 🙂

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