Test Answers 3

rogersgeorge on September 10th, 2017

Remember, the original test is here. go take it if you haven’t already. What’s the fun of free answers?

  1. So, the Rangers are based out of Igloolik.
  2. So what does a potential new state of matter for the rest of us?
  3.  Indiana law explicitly forbids government employees such as the Governor to conduct politics on state accounts, so it’s credible to argue Pence had no other options.
  4. “The Church and State owes them all an apology,” she said.
  5. It stands in stark contrast with a pair of current cartoons by fairly mainstream conservative cartoonists that mock Democrats for being obsessed with the Russian connections.

And the answers:

  1. They are based in that place. Even based at works, but not out of! Maybe they venture out of Igloolik occasionally…
  2. Okay, I usually don’t bother with simple carelessness, but these are professionals! What does a potential new state of matter mean for the rest of us?
  3. The reference to the governor is an aside (aka non-restrictive) so it should have commas before and after it. “…employees, such as the governor, to conduct…” but that’s not the main goof! Do you forbid someone to do something, or forbid them from doing it? You could also throw a “that” in front of Pence.
  4. Ah, good old subject-verb agreement. You should all have gotten this one. “Church and state” is a plural, so you want the plural verb, “owe.”
  5. Cartoonists are people, people. So it’s cartoonists who mock Democrats. “Who” is for people, “that” is for non-people.

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S-V agreement

rogersgeorge on September 15th, 2012

I have mentioned subject-verb agreement before, but I found a comic that gives a good example of doing it wrong, so I’ll bring it up again.

The rule is that a singular subject gets a singular verb, and a plural subject gets a plural verb.

The problem is that sometimes you can lose track of the subject. Forgetting that you have a singular subject is fairly easy when the subject is part of a group. For example, if you say, “One of the students…” you might be tempted to use a plural verb because “students” is plural. Now maybe not, because the subject, “one,” is still pretty close, especially if you’re thinking carefully about your writing. But when the stuff between the subject and verb gets more voluminous, you can lose track fairly easily. The name for this is “attraction,” and I understand it’s okay in Latin, but it’s not in English.

So here’s the comic:

Jerry Van Amerongen’s Ballard Street is an excellent off-the-wall single panel cartoon

Now the caption to this comic is tricky. The main subject and verb are “Gary is.” Then we have five words between the subject and verb of the subordinate clause. If you said, “One of those guys has a problem,” you might get it right, but throw in the “who never” and you have a pretty good distraction from the actual subject, “one,” not “guys.”

You can find Ballard Street on gocomics.com, and I recommend it for a nice break from the conventional. And thanks for the good goof, Jerry.

Here’s what might be an exception to this rule. You would say that “many” is a plural, right? So it should get a plural verb, right? Even with a singular-feeling prepositional phrase between “many” and the verb, right? Then what about this:

Many a man likes to get his grammar correct.

Yes, the singular verb, “likes,” is correct! Sigh. That there English language, it just ain’t always gonna make sense.