kitchen table math, the sequel: Quinni Diagnostic Grammar Test

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Quinni Diagnostic Grammar Test

Professor Susan Daily
Quinnipiac University School of Law

I missed one and learned something I didn't know.


Crimson Wife said...

I got 2 incorrect, but I take issue with the purported answer for one of them. The way I was taught to make compound possessives is Angela's and Mike's house if the house belongs to both of them together. If each of them owns a separate house, it would read "houses" plural rather than "house" singular.

GoogleMaster said...

The way I learned it, which is the way it is in the quiz, is that if it is a thing that Angela and Mike own together, then it is Angela and Mike's house. If each owns his/her own house, then it's Angela's and Mike's houses.

Redkudu said...

I missed 2 as well: the difference between affect and effect; and number and amount.

I found myself doing pretty much what I usually do - feeling confident about spotting punctuation errors that I'd have to check and double-check if I was composing with them. (I'm better at spotting them than feeling as if I've used them properly.)

I thought the inclusion of a specified "American rule" of punctuation was interesting.

J.D. Fisher said...

Yeah, the British style is to leave periods outside of quotation marks (among other things of course).

Catherine Johnson said...

I missed Angela and Mike, too!

I was never taught how to do a plural possessive one way or the other; I just made it up.

So what **is** the rule?

Crimson Wife said...

The quiz was looking for the way GoogleMaster explained it, but I'm pretty sure this is one of those rules that different grammar programs teach differently.

Another one is how to make a name ending in "s" plural. The way I was taught is to add the apostrophe to the end (e.g. Charles' book) but some folks insist on adding apostrophe + s (e.g. Charles's book). That just makes me want to cringe every time I see it...

Crimson Wife said...

I meant "possessive" rather than "plural" in the first sentence, darn typo!

Katharine Beals said...

The interesting thing about the possessive marker in English is that, unlike most other morphological suffixes, it attaches to the ends of whole phrases. Thus we get:

The man in the street's opinion.


The man in the street and the woman in the street's opinion
(if the man and the women in the street are joint holders of the opinion)

Or, if there are two distinct opinions:

The man in the street's opinion and the woman in the street's opinion

Or, if we factor out "opinion":

The man in the street's and the women in the street's opinions.

Ah, yes, there's a certain mathematical elegance to certain aspects of grammar.

Barry Garelick said...

That's where the genitive case comes in handy as in German. Or the preposition "of".

Hainish said...

I got one wrong, and it's a popular one: Angela's and Mike's dratted house.