Category Archives: Quizzes

Answer to yesterday’s Glosso quiz: what do these authors have in common?

Lewis Carroll / Wikimedia Commons

Here’s a rare Glossophilia quiz for you.

What do these seven authors have in common? If you know, or want to take a guess, please mark in the comments section below. The answer will be posted tomorrow.

Hans Christian Andersen
James Baldwin
Bill Bryson
Lewis Carroll
Franz Kafka
Mark Twain
H.G. Wells

Good luck!
***

The answer is that they were all left-handed. Yesterday was International Left-Handed Day.

*****

Answers to yesterday’s quiz about country names

Here are the answers to yesterday’s quiz about country names. (There are 195 countries in the world, if you include the 193 members of the UN and two observer states. Of these 195 nations, there are 41 with more vowels* than consonants in their names. Here are four questions about those names.)

1. What is the longest country name of this type?

The longest country name with more vowels than consonants is Equatorial Guinea, with 16 letters. Coming a close second is Papua New Guinea, with 14.

2. What is the shortest country name of this type? (hint: there’s more than one)

There are five countries with five letters in their names, of which three are vowels. They are
Haiti, India, Nauru, Palau, and Samoa.

3. Which continent houses most of the countries with this name type?

Africa wins in this category, hands down, with 15 countries having vowel-dominated names. They are: Ageria, Cote d’Ivoire, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Mauritania, Mauritius, Namibia, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Somalia, and Tunisia.

Europe comes second, with seven — or eight if you include Georgia in Europe.

4. Which letter of the alphabet starts most of these country names?

“A” and “E” tie here, with five country names each.

A starts Albania, Algeria, Armenia, Australia and Austria.
E starts Equador, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Estonia and Ethiopia.

* y is not counted as a vowel for the purposes of this quiz

A country names quiz

There are 195 countries in the world, if you include the 193 members of the UN and two observer states. Of these 195 nations, there are 41 with more vowels* than consonants in their names. Here’s a short quiz about those 41 names:

  1. What is the longest country name of this type?
  2. What is the shortest country name of this type? (hint: there’s more than one)
  3. Which continent houses most of the countries with this name type?
  4. Which letter of the alphabet starts most of these country names?

Feel free to take some guesses in the comments section below. Answers will be posted tomorrow …

* y is not counted as a vowel for the purposes of this quiz

***

Answer to yesterday’s quiz: the most meaningful word in the English language?

Yesterday Glosso asked the following: “Oxford English Dictionary editors have just revealed the English word with the most meanings: it has 645 different usage cases for its verb form alone. And that’s just when it’s a verb. Can you guess what the word is?”

The answer is “run”. As in, to run a mile. To run out of ideas. A play runs on Broadway; he has the runs. To run for a bus, or to run for President. A run for your money, or a run on the bank. Running an idea up the flagpole, running with this suggestion. And the list runs on …

“The copious definitions of “run” featured in the OED’s upcoming third edition begin with the obvious, “to go with quick steps on alternate feet,” then proceed to run on for 75 columns of type. This entry, in all its girth, took one professional lexicographer nine months of research to complete. How could three little letters be responsible for so much meaning?” Read the full story about this new Guinness World Record-Holder in Reader’s Digest.

*   *   *

 

Quiz: The most meaningful word in the English language?

Oxford English Dictionary editors have recently revealed the English word with the most meanings. This word has 645 different usage cases for its verb form alone. And that’s just when it’s a verb. Can you guess what the word is?

Clue: it has three letters.

The answer will be posted tomorrow …

*   *   *

A short proofreading quiz on National Proofreading Day

From Wikimedia Commons

Fancy trying your hand at a bit of proofreading, on National Proofreading Day? See if you can catch all the spelling, punctuation and grammatical errors in the five sentences below. A clean copy will be posted tomorrow. (Clue: you should be able to spot at least 10 errors, and a few more.) Good luck! Continue reading

An unpresidented spelling quiz on World Spelling Day

On World Spelling Day, Glossophilia hear by presents an unpresidented spelling quiz on the subject of America’s 45th precident of the United States of America — “one of the dummer people on television” (Donald Trump — not about himself — in a June 2015 pre-presidenshal tweet). How many spelling errors can you count in the President’s tweets illustrated below? Continue reading

Writers trivia quiz

Alcott   F.ScottFitzgerald   Tolstoy   wilde

A writers trivia quiz for a Sunday afternoon. A couple of the questions are fairly easy; a couple not so easy. (I’ll be interested to see if anyone gets the bonus one; my daughter reckons no-one will.) Answers will be posted here next Sunday, along with the names of anyone who guesses all four (or five) correctly. If you’ve worked any of them out, please write the first letter(s) of the key word(s) summarizing the answer in the comments section below: i.e. be cryptic — no spoilers. Good luck! Continue reading

In the news … March 25

nypl

TGIF: That Gerund Is Funky. In this month’s language usage news, we have a high-profile hold-out on the use of the singular “their”; the word okay and its origins; a list of horrid words; a vulgar word finds its way into the OED; a spelling mistake that thwarted a bank heist; bad spelling used for effect in an ad campaign; Donald Trump’s 6th-grade linguistic skills; and a spelling quiz from a fine New York institution. (Warning: explicit vocabulary ahead.) Continue reading