This is my final post on the Triangle Grammar Guide. I was among the copy editors and designers at The News & Observer whose jobs were eliminated in Raleigh.
A new Grammar Guide quiz is up. Here is the disclaimer for all you sticklers: No, it's not really about grammar; it's about usage and word choice. The sentences all come from real life this time -- from copy I have read or have edited. Of course, we copy editors don't catch everything -- as readers remind us often. We try, though, even in these trying times.
Click here or on the question mark icon to begin the 10-sentence quiz. Be sure to click through to read the explanations (which, by the way, are the same whether you answered correctly or incorrectly). Leave a comment here if you would like or send me a message.
I am on Twitter, too -- #grammarguide.
I made this edit one night last week:
The company adopted new accounting standards after the acquisition that significantly
impacted affected its results, so comparisons with year-ago results are skewed.
I admit that it was an almost automatic action on my part.
Here is a new Grammar Guide quiz. Almost all of the 10 sentences involve word usage challenges. I have one timely sentence at the end that is more of a copy editing or proofreading challenge.
Click here or on the question mark icon to begin.
Click here to find other Grammar Guide quizzes.
The latest Grammar Guide quiz involves commonly confused words -- as you might have guessed, one of my favorite copy editing challenges. Some of the sentences on the quiz lend themselves to varied interpretation, so if you happen to choose the "incorrect" answer, you could argue that you read the writer's meaning differently. This quiz has 10 sentences, rather than the standard five. I've been saving up examples. As an enticement, I promise a little humor in some explanations.
I've run across two sentences recently that confused affect and effect in a similar way:
- While the university doesn’t yet know what schools, programs and departments might be effected [by budget cuts], leaders there are moving quickly.
- BSH plans to phase out sales of its 27-inch, front-load washers and dryers by the end of the year, and effected employees will stop working this spring.
Both of the underlined words should have been affected, as in "to have an effect on." The writers could have puzzled this out by turning the sentences around, perhaps. The budget cuts will affect schools, programs and departments. Closing down the production line will affect employees. That's how I would figure out the right spelling.
Some people like to use the mnemonic RAVEN: Remember Affect Verb Effect Noun. Of course, effect can be a verb also, meaning "to bring about." But most of the time, if the word you want is a verb (or a verb form used as a modifier, as in the second sentence), use affect.
This sentence from a blog post illustrates a pair of commonly confused words. Read the sentence and see whether you can figure out what I am referring to. Then hit the Read More button.
Although Rep. Renee Ellmers campaigned last fall as an ardent opponent of the new health care law passed by Congress, she was not reticent about taking advantage the health plan offered to members of Congress.
The latest Grammar Guide quiz has more parts than usual. I have 11 sentences that offer you a choice of the preferred word. Some are tricky homonyms; a couple of sentences involve words that differ in connotation.
Click here or on the question mark icon to begin. Note that the results of the quiz will come to me via e-mail, but I won't see any identifying information.
This is a sentence I saved from a piece I edited a while ago:
Folds, along with Steve Willard and Eddie Walker, comprise the three-piece band who sing songs with titles like, “Really Gross Kid” and “King of the Bugs.”
The sentence has problems. Can you spot them before you read further or hit the More button?
Even though most of us don't use horses or buggies as our main transportation these days, our language still has horse-related idioms, which writers sometimes mix up.