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.”
- Charles's house
- Charles' house
- 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.”
- that is
- which is
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).
Your Score: 0 out of 0.
Questions? Find a mistake? Leave a comment below.
-- Created by Matthew Barton of Englishcurrent.com
4 out of 10
‘Twas a relaxing brain warm-up!
ur cool arent ya kid ya big dirty sausage how bout u read this kid
6/10. Too low.
6/10 ~ not even native lol
Scored little; but thanks for the comprehensive explanations. (Hope there are no grammatical errors in my coment, haha)
Grammatical errors darling: what you are correcting is a spelling mistake, commonly known as a ‘typo’.
Charles’ house is correct – Jesus’ disciples etc !
Jesus’ disciples is incorrect. See here: https://www.thepunctuationguide.com/apostrophe.html That exact example is given.
Strange, I’ve always thought that it’s okay to form the possessive of singular noun by adding an apostrophe only, albeit I’m a non-native speaker. Is Wikipedia wrong? – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jesus%27_Son_(short_story_collection)
Hello. Yes, that page is incorrect.
the use of apostrophe for possessive is a matter of style, not grammar. Within the US there are 2 conflicting school of thoughts on this matter: the Chicago school use the apostrophe in the manner demonstrated in this quiz, but the AP school, which is prominently used in academic circles, omit the second s when forming possessive. For more see here
As an Instructor, I’m not familiar with the AP school. For academic writing, I’ve only ever used/taught MLA, APA, and the Chicago style. A quick Google shows AP is used in the journalism/PR field. Interesting. Thanks for sharing.
MLA is particularly confusing LOL. Since college I got into the habit of just adding the apostrophe because of MLA’s plural rule. It’s only much later that I found out you were supposed to write “writers’ muse” but “the bus’s color”, and “Jesus’ Cross” but “James’s house”. Personally, as and English teacher myself, I think style is just that, style. Unless your aim is to get published in a linguistic journal where every comma and semicolon and period needs to be in its proper place, I think just writing in a way that’s comfortable and communicable is fine :) Personally I’ve always fine adding an as after an s clunky and, for lack of a better word, in elegant, so it’s gonna be James’ house for me all the way :)
The page is not incorrect. Charles’s house is the correct solution.
Using a semi colon for number one makes it a sentence fragment?
No–a semi-colon can join two independent clauses, so using a semi-colon for number one is a correct way to link the two sentences.
me bad on igless
What’s wrong with 10. a and b ? They’re valid grammatical sentences! ;-)
a) is a comma splice (you cannot combine two independent clauses with a comma) and b) is valid!
B is not valid as you explained it in the answer section.
Yes, my mistake!
The participle in a) is very wrong if we refer it to Sue, of course – but suppose the phone went shopping? You never know what your electronic gadgets are up to these days ;.-)
(Charles’ house) is correct, please!
Incorrrect. All relevant style guides dictate Charles’s. Unless of course there are multiple people of the name Charles reside there.
Charles’s house (an individual)
The Websters’ residence (family name)
Your Score: 9 out of 10. Not too shabby.
I only failed Charles’ house. I think there is no other s at the end of the sentence. Please, provide us with numerous source coz even the Bible never says Jesus’s apostles.
Great score! See comment above from 10-15-2019 for answer to your question about possessives. Another person asked the same question.
I’m a Filipino but I can speak English Fluently
Is the author American or English? I’d wager the former.
Neither (Canadian), but I likely follow most AmE conventions
There are no relevant deviations between British and US English conventions within this quiz.
The farmer or the ladder? Get it?
3, 9 and 10 are stylistic choices, not grammatical mistakes: multiple sources will show that nouns ending in an s can correctly have just an apostrophe (Charles’ house), OR an apostrophe and an s (Charles’s house). Neither is grammatically incorrect. Similarly the less/fewer `rule` is widely regarded as archaic, and the two words interchangeable. Similarly, a dangling modifier, while stylistically undesirable to some, is not a grammatical error.
Thanks for the comment. Naturally if you are going to make a grammar quiz for native speakers, it has to be prescriptivist to some degree. If I took a purely communicative approach, it would be hard to find 10 commonly-used “errors” that weren’t acceptable somewhere. Also, I think it’s okay to include “stylistically undesirable” answers as incorrect based on their style being, as you stated, undesirable.
4 of 10 crap!!
Your Score: 4 out of 10. Oh well.
I got 5/10.
I do like that there is a valid explanation at the end of each of the incorrect answers given.
They seem linguistically valid and I understand that when discussing whether something is considered grammatical or ungrammatical the approach will always have to be a little bit prescriptive.
Perhaps there are more tools I could use to polish my grammar?
Linguistically= referring to fields of linguistics studies
Hello, at this advanced level, I don’t have any more resources. If you find you are having a particular problem, feel free to write it below and I can attempt to diagnose it.
Dangling modifiers are often perfectly acceptable, for example Virginia Woolf used them a lot – and I wouldn’t doubt her sense of style. Actually they may be seen as a particular case of ellipsis : “(Because she was) Under the stress of thinking about Isabella, her room became more shadowy and symbolic; the corners seemed dark…”
Hello! Yes, I do not doubt your example and I agree that a dangling modifier can be acceptable in literature or other writing where style may be more important that prescriptive grammar. Still, the majority of the people who access this website are trying to write accurately for school, university, or business. In such cases I still think it’s worthwhile to advise against using a dangling modifier.
I think this test is designed to be rude.
Ha ha …….
I was surprised to get a 3/10. I’ve been speaking English my entire life, who knew it was of the incorrect variety..
Most of the free materials on the internet have no explanation for the correct choice, let alone for the incorrect one. Thank you for being generous to the people who can’t afford paid learning materials.
I am a native speaker,and gotta 7/10, I am 14 tho lol. But the answer ‘Charles’ house’s is correct. I was thought like that by my teachers who are from America. So yeah….. You gotta change that.
2/10 oh well, I’m not a native English speaker but im learning and the explanations are very helpful.
it happens to me similar 3/10, but you are right, even that advice that appears with the wrong answers are so useful than thats is exactly what I was looking for!
You’re better than me and I’m a native speaker!
I most definitely learned at school in the United Kingdom that when writing about a book that belongs to James, we write “James’ book” with no extra “s” after the apostrophe. I must ask my fellow Brits what they think about this. Perhaps it is an American / English difference (although I see some other Americans on this page also agree with me).
I do think that there are lots of excellent and testing examples of how to use the English language here. I love to see our language being used correctly. I live in Switzerland and my children are growing up bilingually. I am not sure how they would fare in this little test. Perhaps I should try it out!
Thanks for the comment. This test was designed to be a pain in the arse. :) Let us know what your Brit friends have to say about James'(s) book!
It is not uncommon for the incorrect form of James’ book to be taught in UK schools; James’s is however correct in UK English.
I’m afraid citing individuals with a high school diploma above peer-review style guides is inadequate. Translation: don’t believe everything you read on the internet kid.
I wish it would give you a percentile score.
Hi good game have a good day how I get. Goodmarkp..
10/10, I am the best.
I guess I am a native speaker LOL
I’m a native english speaker and I got 1/10