Two Kinds of People
There are two kinds of people: those who use standard grammar and them what doesn't.
It's a variation on an old joke, but there's some truth to it. We may not all fall squarely into one of those two categories, but most of us lean one way or the other. We either observe a certain standard when we write or speak or we figure that people know what we mean even if we don't follow a set of arbitrary rules.
Regardless of which kind of person you are, this quiz will test your knowledge of standard English grammar and usage. Whether you choose to use it in your speaking and writing is whole different issue.
Let's start with homophones. They drive some people crazy -- both those who can't seem to get a handle on them and those who can't stand seeing them misused.
Homophones are words that are pronounced the same but have different meanings. They may be spelled the same, such as bat (the flying mammal) and bat (the equipment used in baseball or cricket). But the homophones in this quiz are all spelled differently.
The Must-Have Little Book for Writers
Every writer needs a copy of Strunk and White's The Elements of Style. It doesn't matter whether you're writing the great American novel, articles for your local newspaper, or Squidoo lenses, this is the one manual you must have.
At only slighter more than 100 pages, it is concise and easy to easy to use as a reference. But if you have even the slightest interest in language, you'll find yourself reading it from cover to cover.
There is a reason there are more than one million of these in print. It is truly a pleasure.
Judging by the prose some writers produce, you would think they have salt shakers full of periods, commas, and other punctuation marks sitting on their desks. And when they finish writing a piece, they give it a good shake, allowing punctuation to fall haphazardly, landing wherever it might.
We're a little more deliberate in the way we punctuate, right? Let's see how you do.
Grammar Police or Grammar Delinquent
There is a battle waged on the internet every day between those who believe the world would a more pleasant place if people would just follow a few basic rules of grammar and others who believe that as long as they get their point across it just doesn't matter.
Which side are you on?
Confusing and Misused Words
Okay, enough punctuation! Let's get back to some words that are often confused or misused. With the homophones above, it was about which spelling to use (because the words were pronounced identically). These words have similar pronunciations, but they aren't identical. So these can mess you up when you're speaking as well as when you're writing.
The Elements of Grammar
Margaret Shertzer's The Elements of Grammar is intended as a companion for Strunk and White's The Elements of Style (above). It doesn't quite measure up to that important book, but then nothing does. If you have Strunk and White's book, this isn't a bad addition. But if you only buy one language book, get The Elements of Style.
A pronoun is a word that can be used in place of a noun. But you probably wouldn't have lasted to question 21 of a grammar and usage quiz if you didn't know that. Let's see what else you know.