Answer to yesterday’s short grammar quiz

Yesterday was National Grammar Day, and Glossophilia published a short grammar quiz. We asked how many of these eleven images depicted a grammatical mistake. The answer is:

None.

Here’s why:

1.

infer

This is not a question of grammar, but rather of vocabulary or word choice. The use of the word infer here is correct: the pumpkin (and the audience) infers from what it sees that it will soon be made into a pie.

 

2.

oreos

This is not a grammatical mistake, but one of spelling. The plural of Oreo is “Oreos” — without the apostrophe.

3.

slowly

This sign originally contained a grammatical mistake: the verb “drive” needs an adverb (“slowly”) rather than an adjective (“slow”) to modify it. But thankfully someone corrected it. So there’s no error here, grammatical or otherwise.

 

4.

toreallybe

Although an infinitive (“to be”) has been split with the adverb “really”, placing the adverb anywhere else in this particular title would be convoluted and might possibly change its meaning. This is a good example of when it’s OK to split an infinitive, even though it’s desirable to avoid doing so whenever possible. (See Glosso’s recent post on split infinitives.)

 

5.

 

ifyou're

This sentence is awash with spelling and punctuation errors, but not grammatical mistakes. You’re needs an apostrophe; it’s needs an apostrophe; a comma would be nice after the word this; and the sentence could probably do with a period at the end. And does it really have to be spelled in all caps?

 

6.

youandme

“Between you and me” is grammatically correct. The objective pronouns you and me are appropriate for the objects governed by the conjunction between.

 

7.

natproofday

“Clam” is a typo: a simple spelling mistake. It is not a grammatical error.

 

8.

over100

Using over instead of more than to indicate greater numerical value was a no-no for a while.   It used to be that if you were discussing countable quantities, you would use “more than” to describe a greater amount, and if you were talking about spatial dimensions, you used over to indicate greater dimensions. However, last year the Associated Press announced a change to the AP Stylebook, joining most other usage guides in determining that more than and over are both acceptable in all uses to indicate a greater numerical value. And anyway, isn’t this a case of word choice rather than grammatical standards?

 

9.

literally

The use of the word literally in this advertisement is questionable. But this is a matter of vocabulary or word choice, and not a grammatical faux pas. You might argue that the one-word sentence, “Literally.”, is a grammatical error, but you’d be wrong. Totally.

 

10.

missingcommas

Assuming that Rachael Ray doesn’t enjoy cooking her family or her pet canine, there is a comma missing after the word cooking. This is a punctuation error, not one of grammar.

 

11.

apostrophe

How can a company named “apostrophe” insert a rogue apostrophe in it(‘)s advertising? Well, this one did. It made a common spelling error, but not a grammatical mistake.

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