Let’s Do A Grammar Quiz

The Globe and Mail has put out a grammar quiz. Apparently it’s the third annual, but this is the first time I can recall having seen it.

I did ok. I scored 12 out of 16 which according to them is a well done, but I’m going to go ahead and be mad at myself anyway because it should have been a little higher. There were a couple that straight up caught me, but at least once I hit the button and immediately yelled “dammit!” I can’t be too disappointed though, because at least it means that our country’s best known national newspaper doesn’t consider me a complete idiot.

You can try your hand at it here, and then make fun of me because you scored better than I did even though I’m the one with the website and god I suck below.

Welcome to the third annual Globe and Mail grammar quiz. This list of 16 questions includes spelling, usage and grammatical errors published in The Globe and Mail and noted by our clever readers. It’s a sampling of both common and not-so-common mistakes.
The test is multiple choice. If you score 12 to 14, well done. Higher than that makes you a charter member of The Globe’s good-grammar fan club. Good luck!

If English Were Phonetically Consistent

I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve said that English is a frustrating, nonsensical language where rules matter until they don’t and that it could seriously due with some consistency. But what if we actually had some of that consistency?

English would sound like it, German and Swedish had a drunken, baby makin’ 3-way, apparently.

Maybe we should just leave things as they are.

The English Language Used To Be Even More Complicated

Did you know that the alphabet used to contain at least ten more letters than it does now? Me neither.

I knew about the long S although my brain started to short circuit a bit when he got into explaining its usage rules, but the rest of these were new to me. And try as I might, I doubt I’ll ever be able to stop pronouncing it “yee” just because it sounds so neat.

Oh, and if we ever start dropping letters again, let me be the first to say C ya later. I’ve never been able to think of a thing that C does that can’t be accomplished with either S or K.

Lost In Translation

Gill is really firing out the posts this week!

It’s kind of funny. I’ve been on both sides of this scenario. There’s my old post about people who don’t speak the language but say “yes” anyway. I had a more recent experience with that. I was in Nashville a few years ago for my awesome job, and at one of the events, a woman was walking around with a tray of sushi. One of my coworkers asked, “What kind of sushi is this?” The woman responded with “Sushi.”
“coworker: What kind?
server: Fish!
Coworker: What kind of fish?
Server: Yes!
At this point, we stopped asking questions and avoided the sushi.

On the other hand, I’ve been the probably stupid-looking person who can’t speak the language. I don’t know how many times I mentioned this, but I spent five weeks in Northern Quebec in an attempt to improve my ability to speak French about 16 years ago, wow do I feel old. While I was there, I painfully learned the lesson that there are multiple words for the same thing. I have only heard the French word for “steps” as “escalier.” But apparently, people say “marches” as well. So one day, when I was really new and particularly tired, I was walking with someone. I may not have been using my cane very well, I don’t remember. At one point, the person I was with said “marches.” I thought they were telling me to keep walking, which perplexed me because I *was* walking, was I not walking fast enough…and at this point I learned with my shins the other meaning of the word “marches.” I tripped over the steps, thankfully they were going up, and looked like a dork.

And don’t get me started on the whole formal and informal “you” when French isn’t your first language. Why can’t they at least start with the same letter so I can bluff a little bit? That first night with my host-mother, I was desperately trying to avoid using you at all, but figured I’d better get on with it, and used the formal, but I was scared of offending her with a single word.

But I should stop talking about my own life. Take it away, Gill!

I have been places where people have yelled at immigrants for messing up orders and directions.  I have often wondered what it would be like not to understand the language or turns of phraise that we as English speakers use freely.

       Slangin It

A few years back my sister worked as a bank manager in Toronto.  She worked with people of all races and backgrounds, some had been born here, but others, like one of her colleagues had left a war torn country.  One day my sister said “could you bring this to me?` he obliged, and asked, “what do I do with this?` to which she responded “oh just plop it on my desk.` the colleague must have been bewildered because his reply was “tell me of this word plop?`

       Not always Universal

Like in the instance above some words or phraises may not make the trip over from English, but this makes for an opportunity to relate and bridge gaps.

       Pass The Compassion

The next time someone mistakes your chicken and spinach salad for something else, don’t resort to uncivilized behavior like racial slurs or telling them to “go back to their country!` just remember that could have just as easily been you.

Ms. Gillie hoping we can work together for a better world

We Sure Do Have A Lot Of Words Because We Can’t Hear Properly. What? I SAID WE SURE DO HAVE A LOT OF WORDS BECAUSE WE CAN’T HEAR PROPERLY!


I know there are all kinds of ways that language has evolved, but I had no idea how much of English resulted from so many of us needing hearing aids.

Next I want to see one of these detailing single words that came from the accidental mashing together of two different ones, like the time I meant to say either horrendous or atrocious and wound up inventing horotious, which Carin and I still use to this day.

11 Old New Ways To Call Someone An Idiot

Sometimes I’m pretty sure the internet is reading my mind. Not NSA style, but rather in a good way that causes helpful things to appear not long after I have a thought. For instance, I was thinking yesterday about how with all of the master criminals stories we publish I could really use a few more words to take some of the pressure off of ones like moron, imbecile and idiot. Then, while looking for things to write about just now (possibly even more morons, imbeciles or idiots), I found this most useful list of 11 old-fashioned words for idiot.

If I can’t find a way to increase my use of words such as dunderwhelp and ninnyhammer, I might as well just quit right now.

People Actually Say Some Of These Wrong?

Here is a video about 79 words everyone gets wrong. I was feeling pretty good…but then along came officially, mauve and crepe, and maybe lava and pasta. I knew about forte but if I said it like “fort”, everyone would look at me funny. And there’s no friggin way I would say Wikipedia like wee-kee-pedia.

At any rate, the video was entertaining. And hey, at the end, if y is sometimes a consonant if you touch the roof of your mouth, why isn’t u sometimes a consonant? “Uniform.” I touched the roof of my mouth. “Under.” I didn’t. Now you have to watch the video to figure out what the hell I’m talking about.

I Know He Said I Had The Right To Remain Silent, But You’re Just So Good!

I could have sworn I posted this one, but a decent enough look around tells me otherwise. So yeah, let’s be fixing that because this takes some serious balls…and wieners…and baby makers…and beer…and possibly drugs but we’re not really sure…and…absolutely no damn sense whatsoever. I mean, holy shit!

Husnik, who was on probation, was handcuffed and placed in the rear of a police cruiser. He was soon joined there by Basten, who was driving without a license and had a used syringe in her purse. Basten reportedly said that she “used to shoot up meth with it.”
While subsequently transporting the suspects, Deputy Adam Zahn “observed Travis lay onto of Heather in the backseat.” The cop then saw “Heather’s legs go up touching the ceiling and heard her begin to moan loudly.”
Zahn stopped the cruiser, opened the rear door, and saw “Travis onto of Heather having sexual intercourse.” The complaint does not indicate whether the lovebirds were handcuffed (though it seems likely).
Husnik’s pants and underwear were around his ankles and Basten’s shorts were “hiked up.” Which allowed Zahn to “see both of their privates,” the complaint notes.

Somebody really needs to tell officer Zahn that the word he’s going for has a P in it and that it’s actually not one word, it’s two. I get being in a hurry, but before a person is given the power to profoundly impact people’s lives in the way a police officer can, that person should have at least the most rudimentary understanding of the construction and utilization of words such as on and top.

But back to the matter at hand. Wow guys, wow. I just…I don’t even…A lot of people have ended up taking the long ride downtown with a buddy after a night that got a little out of control, but most of them, stupid as they may appear at the time, just leave it at that and come out the next morning perhaps as better people and with a story they can tell when next they hit the bar. Rare is the person (I hope at least) who can find himself sitting in the police car and think it a good idea to look at his companion and say you know, now would be a good time to get started on the next generation of jail buddies. And even more rare (please let it be more rare) is the person who, instead of punching that other rare fool and saying shut up, dude, says yeah, have at it, cowboy!

Travis Husnik was found guilty of lewd and lascivious conduct and was sentenced to 90 days in jail. Heather Basten pleaded guilty to charges of drunk driving and disorderly conduct. She was sentenced to just 48 days, but also ordered to pay fines and costs in the amount of $1236, because the sort of person who gets pulled over while drinking Busch Light and driving like an idiot and then lets some guy plant her in a cop car is well known for having that kind of money.