Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Grammar Quest #1 - Answers

This is the second half of Grammar Quest #1. If you didn't visit that post, you may want to do so before reading any farther. The answers are below.





Quest #1 passage with mistakes marked:

     Nash paused next to his 72 El Camino and dug in his pocket for his keys.
     “What are you doing?” Vivian screeched from an open second floor window. “Oh, heck no. Your not going anywhere.” She ducked back in.
     Nash cursed and scrambled into the driver’s seat. He had less than a minute to make his escape. Vivian Shacklebolt was a vengeful winch, she’d tear him apart if she got her claws near him.
     He revved the motor and burned rubber out of the drive. His backend fishtailed when it hit the road. He floored the gas as soon as he’d gained control. “Bye.”
     Vivian’s livid, stomping form appeared in his rearview as the smoke cleared. “I hate you!”

Errors:
1. The abbreviated year of the car make should have an apostrophe before it, in place of the first two numerals of the year. Be careful not to confuse a single opening quotation mark for an apostrophe. They curve opposite ways. (CMoS 16th edition, 9.31, pg. 475)

2. The words ‘second floor’ should be hyphenated because they come before the noun they modify, and ordinal numbers follow the hyphenate-before, open-after rule. (CMoS hyphenation chart)

3. In the line “Your not going anywhere,” your is a usage error. It should be the contraction you’re, which means you are. Your is a possessive pronoun.

4. & 5. The last highlighted portion contains two errors. The first is the word winch. This is another usage error. A winch is a device for lifting or pulling heavy items. A wench is a young woman. Nash meant wench.

The second error is a comma splice. The comma after winch joins two independent clauses. Since there is no coordinating conjunction after the comma, this is incorrect. There is more than one fix for this. The writer can add the word and after the comma, trade the comma for a semicolon, put an em dash in place of the comma, or put a period after winch and start a new sentence with she’d. Because these sentences are so closely connected and the pacing of the scene is fast, I chose an em dash.

Grammar Police posts for further study:
(commonly confused words, including possessive pronouns)
(a lesson on hyphens)
(atypical marks of punctuation)
(comma rules)

Corrected version of the passage:

     Nash paused next to his ’72 El Camino and dug in his pocket for his keys.
     “What are you doing?” Vivian screeched from an open second-floor window. “Oh, heck no. You’re not going anywhere.” She ducked back in.
     Nash cursed and scrambled into the driver’s seat. He had less than a minute to make his escape. Vivian Shacklebolt was a vengeful wench—she’d tear him apart if she got her claws near him.
     He revved the motor and burned rubber out of the drive. His backend fishtailed when it hit the road. He floored the gas as soon as he’d gained control. “Bye.”
     Vivian’s livid, stomping form appeared in his rearview as the smoke cleared. “I hate you!”

###

So... How many did you guess?
Did you find them all?


Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Can you spot them? Grammar Quest #1

The Grammar Goddess is baaaack!

Remember looking through the funny papers on Sundays?

One of my favorite sections was the part where two almost-identical pictures were placed right next to each other. The goal was to find the subtle differences between the two. I loved that game, and I sometimes won. But I frequently had to peek (drat it!) at the answers listed upside down at the bottom.

I thought it would be fun to post a similar game.

The passage below contains several errors. These errors can be anything from misspellings to improper grammar to missing or incorrect punctuation, etc. I'm not going to tell you what, and I'm not going to tell you how many. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to find as many errors as you can.

You can take all the time you wish, but no cheating--no helping each other in the comments.

Tomorrow, I'll post the passage again with all the errors marked.

Read, set, go.


     Nash paused next to his 72 El Camino and dug in his pocket for his keys.
     “What are you doing?” Vivian screeched from an open second floor window. “Oh, heck no. Your not going anywhere.” She ducked back in.
     Nash cursed and scrambled into the driver’s seat. He had less than a minute to make his escape. Vivian Shacklebolt was a vengeful winch, she’d tear him apart if she got her claws near him.
     He revved the motor and burned rubber out of the drive. His backend fishtailed when it hit the road. He floored the gas as soon as he’d gained control. “Bye.”
     Vivian’s livid, stomping form appeared in his rearview as the smoke cleared. “I hate you!”