We all learned about grammar in grade school, but some of us retained the knowledge better than others. Test your knowledge of the finer points of English with our quiz.
Question of 10
Which one of these is correct?
the Johnson's house
the Johnsons' house
Two things to keep in mind: It's a house that belongs to several people ("the Johnsons") and the apostrophe would go at the end of that word to show possession of the house by all of them.
the Johnsons house
OK, how about a harder one: Which one of these expressions has correct punctuation?
for goodness sake
for goodness's sake
for goodness' sake
Although it's often written as "for goodness sake," the correct way is "for goodness' sake" because of a rule that says if a word ending in an "s" sound is followed by a word beginning with an "s," you add an apostrophe to the first word. (It's also correct to say "for conscience' sake").
Which of the following is not an article?
The point of an article is to indicate whether a noun is specific or nonspecific. Specific: "She bent to pick up the cat." Nonspecific: "She's going to adopt a cat."
True or False: Ending a sentence with a preposition is a grammatical no-no.
True: It's a major grammar fail.
False: That's old-school thinking.
Your teacher may have made a big deal about not doing this, but ending a sentence with a preposition is just fine, and can even make your writing/speaking sound more natural. Now that's something we can get behind. (Get it? "Behind" is a preposition. Others include "of," "on," and "to.")
What's a preposition?
When do you put a hyphen between two words before a noun to make a compound adjective (e.g., "concealed-weapons permit")?
You always do this.
When it conveys a single idea.
When there could be ambiguity about the sentence without it.
It depends on which dictionary or style guide you consult, but generally the whole point of the hyphen is to avoid ambiguity. "She ate a chocolate chip cookie" doesn't need any hyphen because the meaning is clear. Meanwhile, "She had a concealed-weapons permit" needs a hyphen because without it, it could imply that she has a weapons permit hidden away.
What's the difference between a proper noun and a common noun?
Proper nouns always describe people; common nouns do not.
Proper nouns must always be capitalized; common nouns are not.
No matter where a proper noun falls in a sentence, it must be capitalized. For example, "Queen Elizabeth and her grandson Louis went to London." Common nouns require no such effort, as in, "The little boy and his grandmother went to the park."
There is no difference between the two.
How many forms of a verb are possible?
Every verb can take up to five forms. For example, the verb "sing" has "sing" (root), "sings" (simple present), "singing" (present participle), "sung" (past participle) and "sang" (past simple). Not every verb has the latter distinction. Many just have four forms.
What are "generally," "honestly" and "supposedly" examples of?
These adverbs are pretty powerful, as they modify entire sentences, like, "Honestly, I'm not a big fan of coffee." Generally, regular old adverbs describe the verb they are paired with ("He sings badly.")
Which is not an example of a relative pronoun?
Although "she" is a personal pronoun, it's not a relative pronoun. Instead, relative pronouns like "that," "who" and "which" are used to connect independent and relative clauses. For example, "The man who took our order was rude."
Which of these is not one of the eight parts of speech in the English language?
The eight parts of speech are nouns, verbs, adjectives, pronouns, adverbs, conjunctions, prepositions and interjections.