This short English quiz was designed to test the grammatical knowledge of native English speakers. It’s a little tricky so be sure to take your time when reading the options and pay attention to punctuation.
Give it a try!
1. Which sentence has proper punctuation?
I pressed the elevator button, then I realized my mistake.
I pressed the elevator button; then I realized my mistake.
I pressed the elevator button: then I realized my mistake.
I pressed the elevator button then I realized my mistake.
Correct Answer: b Explanation: Both clauses (I pressed the elevator button) and (then I realized my mistake) are independent clauses that represent a complete thought. The word ‘then’ is an adverb indicating time, not a conjunction. Two independence clauses can be joined with a semi-colon, but not a comma.
2. Which word in the following sentence is incorrect? “A significant amount of people said they were affected by the regulation.”
Correct Answer: b Explanation: ‘amount’ should not describe countable nouns (people). Instead, use ‘number’ (e.g. a number of people…. / a number of studies….) in such cases.
3. Fill in the blank: “Tommy often visits ____. They are friends.”
the house of Charles’
the house of Charles’s
Correct Answer: a Explanation: Regardless of the spelling of a name, when it is used in the possessive form, you should add an apostrophe and an ‘s’ to indicate possession. Also, in a prepositional phrase (with ‘of’), you do not need an apostrophe because ‘of’ already indicates possession.
4. Add the correct clause: “The country’s president ____ is becoming increasingly unpopular.”
who’s been avoiding the media
whose been avoiding the media
, who’s been avoiding the media,
, whose been avoiding the media,
Correct Answer: c Explanation: The information in the clause does not define the president, so it is extra information. Adjective clauses that contain extra information should have a comma before and after. Also, ‘whose’ is a relative pronoun indicating possession. However, the blank here represents a subject (the president, i.e. he or she), not something possessed by the president. See this page for help on defining and non-defining adjective clauses.
5. Fill in the blanks: “The nurse ___ the patient to his room and helped him ___ down.”
lead / lie
led / lie
lead / lay
led / lay
Correct Answer: b Explanation: The past tense of lead is led. ‘Lie’ is an intransitive verb, while ‘lay’ is a transitive verb (a verb that can take an object). In other words, to use ‘lay’ we need an object, e.g. She helped him lay flowers on the grave.
6. Fill in the blanks: “My manager gave ____ a list of ____ tasks to complete.”
my colleague and I / everyday
my colleague and me / every day
my colleague and I / every day
my colleague and me / everyday
Correct Answer: d Explanation: Your colleague and you are the object of the verb ‘gave’, so you should use object pronouns (me), not a subject pronoun (I). Secondly, everyday (with no space) is an adjective that describes the noun tasks.
7. Fill in the blank: “There were many useless items in the alley, ___ a broken stereo.”
Correct Answer: a Explanation: Here, the only word that fits is “for example”. For help on the differences between e.g., and i.e., see this page.
8. Fill in the blanks: If John hadn’t ______ his car to the party, he _____ alcohol there.
drove / could have drank
drove / could of drunk
driven / could have drunk
driven / could have drank
Correct Answer: c Explanation: The relevant past participles here are ‘driven’ and ‘drunk’. “Could of” is often how could have is pronounced when spoken, but the correct words are auxiliary verb (could) + have.
9. Fill in the blanks: She had ____ money than she expected, so she bought ____ items.
fewer / less
fewer / fewer
less / less
less / fewer
Correct Answer: d Explanation: ‘Few‘ or ‘few‘ is used before countable nouns (e.g., people, items), and ‘less‘ (and ‘little‘) are used before uncountable nouns (e.g., soup, time). See this page for more information.
10. Which sentence(s) is/are correct?
While shopping for gifts, Shane’s phone rang.
Hoping to impress the birthday girl, several gifts were brought to the party.
Hoping to impress the birthday girl and make a good impression on the family.
Hoping to impress the birthday girl, Shane bought a rather expensive gift.
Correct Answer: d (only d) Explanation: Options A and C exemplify an error known as a dangling modifier. The problem is the phrases “While shopping for gifts” and “Hoping to impress the birthday girl” are actions that are done by a person. However, the subjects of the main clauses of these sentences are objects (“Shane’s phone” or “a cake and several gifts”), not people. This means the sentences lack a subject that can do the actions of shopping or hoping. The subject of Option B, however, is ‘Shane’, a person, who we can conclude was doing the giving/hoping. Lastly, Option C is a fragment (incomplete sentence).