Here are the corrections and explanations for last week’s entries.
I have extended National Grammar Day, which will be observed on Friday, March 4, to a full week and I have highlighted some of the most common errors cited in this blog over the last few years.
“Lend” is a verb.
“Lend me your ears,” said Caesar.
“Loan” is a noun.
“I will make a loan of cash to you that will be interest free for two years.”
The most common error is using “lend” and “loan” interchangeably which cannot be done.
1st PUBLISHED PET PEEVE – APRIL 28, 2007
What is wrong with the sentence below?
“The little girl went missing last night and the police are seeking the public’s help in finding her.”
It is impossible for people and things to go missing. “Went missing” sounds, and is, unacceptable and ignorant.
“The little girl disappeared last night and the police are seeking the public’s help in finding her.”
WAY TOO COMMON
There are really two errors in the following piece. Find both and correct them.
“About one in 11 people in Canada live in poverty, the Salvation Army says, and that figure has remained largely unchanged over the last decade.”
The subject of the sentence is the singular “one”, not the plural “ 11 people”, so the verb must be singular.
Consistency is missing; the number 11 should be written as a word.
“About one in eleven people in Canada lives in poverty, the Salvation Army says, and that figure has remained largely unchanged over the last decade.”
FROM THE ARCHIVES
Identify and correct the error.
“Staff Sgt. Ed McNorton said earlier this month that the number of robberies so far this year have far outpaced the number up to this point last year.”
This is similar to the previous example. The subject, “number” is singular and needs a singular verb.
“Staff Sgt. Ed McNorton said earlier this month that the number of robberies so far this year has far outpaced the number up to this point last year.”
MORE OF THE SAME
There are two type of errors in the examples below. Identify and correct them.
BONUS: identify the deliberate error in the explanation and directions above and win a GOLD STAR.
All of the errors in the examples below deal with subject-verb agreement.
“He is concerned with the amount of workers needed for work [on both sides of the border].”
The word “amount” is not being used correctly. Anything that can be counted must use “number”.
“He is concerned with the number of workers needed for work [on both sides of the border].”
“He was the second driver Wednesday who face more serious charges because Lambton OPP believe the use of cellphones while driving contributed to the driver committing the traffic violation.”
“Second driver” is singular and needs a singular verb.
“He was the second driver Wednesday who faces more serious charges because Lambton OPP believe the use of cellphones while driving contributed to the driver committing the traffic violation.”
“In short, I can’t tell which side is telling the truth, if either of them are – which is unlikely given the track records of the players involved.”
“Either”is singular and needs a singular verb.
“In short, I can’t tell which side is telling the truth, if either of them is – which is unlikely given the track records of the players involved.”
BONUS: Win your GOLD STAR if you noted that the word “type” in the instructions above should be plural to coincide withe the obviously plural adjective “two”.
“There are two types of errors in the examples below.”
Cite and correct the errors.
BONUS: explain the cogency of the title of this section and receive a GOLD STAR.
“You can grow your business from FedEx.”
“Grow” is misused. You cannot “grow your business” any more than you can “grow a crop”. Things grow by themselves.
“FedEx can help your business grow.”
“These type of girls are to be avoided.”
Didn’t I just correct this error in a previous example? “These” is plural and demands that “type” be plural.
“These types of girls are to be avoided.”
“A little reminder to everyone, especially the Leamington Flyers”.
There is no verb in this group of words, so it is an incomplete thought which is not acceptable.
“I have a little reminder to everyone, especially the Leamington Flyers”.
“Here a truck heads toward the bridge off of Patricia Road.”
“Off of” is unacceptable.
“Here a truck heads toward the bridge off Patricia Road.”
BONUS: “Chasing windmills” is a metaphor applied to Don Quixote who always dreamed of a perfect and idyllic world but could never achieve it. I feel like Don Quixote when I keep reading the same errors from professional writers year after year. I will not give up because my crusade is just.
NATIONAL GRAMMAR DAY – MARCH 4 -TEST
Find and correct all the errors that occur in the following examples.
There are twenty-four errors.
I have inserted the correct version beneath the incorrect version for comparison.
Do the math to determine your grammar skill and score.
Any more than two mistakes is considered a failure.
1. Him and myself are going to the casino and win some money. (3)
He and I are going to the casino to win some money.
2. I never could see (its, it’s) use. (1)
I never could see its use.
3. Not one of them answers (is, are) correct. (2)
Not one of those answers is correct.
4. It wasn’t (I, me) that broke that window. (2)
It wasn’t I who broke that window.
5. Everybody must pay (their, his) taxes. (1)
Everybody must pay his taxes.
6. All of the stores (close, closes) in the evening. (1)
All of the stores close in the evening.
7. These books are (theirs, their’s). (1)
These books are theirs.
8. She sings (beautifully, beautiful). (1)
She sings beautifully.
9. He swims and dives (good, well). (1)
He swims and dives well.
10. The child does not feel (good, well). (1)
The child does not feel well. (Health)
11. John and me will help you. (1)
John and I will help you.
12. (Who, whom) are you waiting for? (1)
Whom are you waiting for?
13. I have never (drove, driven) over this road before. (1)
I have never driven over this road before.
14. The mat was (lying, laying) at the front door. (1)
The mat was lying at the front door.
15. His clock don’t keep good time. (1)
His clock doesn’t keep good time.
16. I seen many strange birds at the zoo. (1)
I saw many strange birds at the zoo.
17. You should of seen the circus when it was in town. (1)
You should have seen the circus when it was in town.
18. The children have went to school. (1)
The children have gone to school.
19. Neither of the windows shut tight. (1)
Neither of the windows shuts tight.
20. I bought this car for she and her mother. (1)
I bought this car for her and her mother.
THIS SHOULD BE A CONSTANT
“The secret of joy in work is contained in one word – excellence. To know how to do something well is to enjoy it.”
Pearl Buck, an American novelist in China, who lived from 1892 to 1973, wrote this in The Joy of Children in 1964.
LAST WEEK’S WORDS
“Flagrant” (adj.) mean conspicuously bad, offensive or reprehensible, egregious, rank or abhorrent.
“Flagrantly” is the adverb form.
“Flagrancy” is the noun form.
“The gossip columnist’s flagrant and malicious remarks about the actress bordered on libel.”
“Sacrosanct” (adj.) means sacred, inviolable, inviolate or beatific.
“The altar of a church is sacrosanct and should never be defiled.”
“Primordial” (adj.) means in an original or earlier state, primal or primitive.
“Many of men’s sports are considered to be primordial mayhem to the gentle set.”
“Innocuous” (adj.) means harmless, non-toxic, inoffensive or without intent to injure.
The child’s description of the ugly toad was considered innocuous because of her young age.
“Haggard” (adj.) means careworn, wasted, dead tired, wild looking as from prolonged anxiety or suffering or untamed.
“The face of the drunken old marshall in True Grit was gnarled and haggard from years of alcoholic abuse.”