Do you know more grammar than a 5th grader?


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About This Quiz

Throughout history, language has always changed. Way back in Anglo-Saxon times, there weren't really any rules, and regional differences in spelling and grammar were common. However, as the English language spread across the world and literacy finally expanded beyond the clerical and upper classes, it became increasingly important to standardize at least somewhat. 

Enter Doctor Johnson and his dictionary, which finally popularized the idea of a "wrong" spelling or "bad" grammar. From there, it was a short hop and a skip to elementary schools across the world insisting that kids learn how best to structure their sentences.

At its best, grammar is not about excluding anyone on the grounds of their education, and it is certainly not about making anyone feel stupid. It's about conveying meaning in a way that is clear, thoughtful, and accessible. Good grammar is about using the right words in the right way to get an idea across. It varies between cultures and even subcultures, meaning that the best grammarian will know how to code switch rather than slavishly sticking to whatever is considered "proper."

Proper grammar means speaking to the intended audience on their level and giving your thoughts the best chance at truly being heard and understood. It is elegant and inclusive, willing to change with time or yield before common usage. Indeed, the best grammar often lies in knowing exactly when to break the rules, for example, Star Trek's famous split infinitive, "To boldly go where no man has gone before." As Churchill said, speaking to a grammar prude, "This the sort of pettifogging nitpicking up with which I will not put!" So let's make sure you know all the rules because then you'll know when to use them - and when to break the heck out of them!

Which pronoun best completes this sentence: ____ was the first African American president

"Was" or "Were" are the past tenses of the verb "To Be" and it's important to be careful when choosing the correct verb for the subject of a sentence. He/She/It was, You/We/They were.

Fill in the correct word, "I" or "me": Dr. Baker thinks ____ should see a specialist about this sore knee.

"I" is used as a subject of a sentence, meaning the person performing the verb action referred to.

What is the action verb in this sentence: The bluebird in the tree sings beautifully.

An action verb is a word that shows what someone or something is doing.

What is the correct form of the irregular verb "sleep" in this sentence: I haven't _______ very well lately.

A regular verb is any verb whose conjugation follows the typical pattern, or one of the typical patterns, of the language to which it belongs. A verb whose conjugation follows a different pattern is called an irregular verb.

Which is the correct word to use in this sentence: During the storm, _____ tree blew over.

"Their" is a word used to show something owns or has something.

Which of the following sentences is written correctly?

"I" and "me" are both pronouns that we use to refer to ourselves. Use "I" when it is the subject of the verb, and use "me" when it is the object of the verb

What is the correct punctuation mark to use at the end of this phrase: What time is lunch__

A question mark goes at the end of a question, which a period is at the end of a declarative sentence.

Which is the proper noun out of the options below?

A proper noun is a name used for an individual person, place, or organization, spelled with initial capital letters.

Which of the following is a noun?

A noun is a word (other than a pronoun) used to identify any of a class of people, places, or things

Which of the following contractions is incorrect?

A contraction is a shortened version of the written and spoken forms of a word, syllable, or word group, created by omission of internal letters.

What is the adjective in this sentence: The happy cheerleader yelled and jumped.

An adjective is a word or phrase naming an attribute, added to or grammatically related to a noun to modify or describe it.

Which of the following is not a complete sentence?

Sentences always begin with a capital letter and end in either a full stop, exclamation or question mark. A complete sentence always contains a verb, expresses a complete idea and makes sense standing alone.

A noun that shows ownership is called a:

In this example, 'cat's' is the possessive noun: The cat’s fur is a matted mess.

Which is the correct word to use in this sentence: I think that _____ leaving on Friday.

"They're" is a contraction meaning "they are."

Fill in the correct word, "I" or "me": Can you put away those boxes for ____ please?

"Me" is used as an object.

Which of the following is a run-on sentence?

A run-on sentence contains two or more complete sentences that run together.

The punctuation mark indicating a pause between parts of a sentence is called a:

Commas are also used to separate items in a list and to mark the place of thousands in a large numeral.

Which of the following contractions is incorrect?

That is a contract of "is not" and should be correctly spelled "isn't."

Which is the common noun in this sentence: "Barry will go to the park on Sunday."

A common noun is a noun that's not the name of any particular person, place, or thing.

A word that modifies a verb, adjective, another adverb, determiner, noun phrase, clause, or sentence is called a:

Adverbs typically express manner, place, time, frequency, degree, level of certainty, etc., answering questions such as how?, in what way?, when?, where?, and to what extent?.

Which is the correct word to use in this sentence: Josh's family went ______ last summer.

"There" tells where.

Which is the conjunction in this sentence: The heater was on, and he was sweating like a baked ham.

A conjunction is a part of speech that connects words, sentences, phrases, or clauses.

Which is the preposition that best completes each sentence: I can't wait ______ the next show.

A preposition is a word that shows the relationship between a pronoun or a noun and another word in the sentence.

Which sentence properly uses a compound predicate?

A compound predicate contains two or more simple predicates that have the same subject.

Which of the following is the antecedent in this sentence: Mrs. Scott was happy because she bought a new dog.

An antecedent is the noun or nouns that a pronoun replaces.

Which of the words in this sentence is a preposition: Audrey and Norah played together nicely in the living room.

A preposition is a word governing, and usually preceding, a noun or pronoun and expressing a relation to another word or element in the clause

Which sentence properly uses a compound subject?

The compound subject is two or more simple subjects that have the same predicate.

Which is the correct word to use in this sentence: I went _____ the store for some milk.

"To" is a preposition.

What is the proper noun in the following sentence: This train goes to Paris.

A proper noun is a noun that in its primary application refers to a unique entity.

Which of the following is an example of a compound complex sentence?

A compound complex sentence is made from two independent clauses and one or more dependent clauses.

Which of the following sentences is written correctly?

"I" is always capitalized.

Which is the correct word to use in this sentence: We _____ the soccer game!

"One" is a number, while "won" is a verb.

Which of the following words is not a noun?

Nouns = people, place, or thing!

Which of the following is an example of an interjection?

An interjection or exclamation is a word used to express a particular emotion or sentiment on the part of the speaker (although most interjections have clear definitions).

The word "fall" in this sentence is an example of which part of speech? In the fall, the leaves look so colorful and pretty.

Depending on the context, the word "fall" can be a verb or a noun.

Which of the following is an example of a gerund?

A gerund is a verb form that is derived from a verb but that functions as a noun, in English ending in -ing

The opening sequence of the Star Trek tv series contains this phrase "to boldly go where no man has gone before" which violates which grammatical construction:

In the English language, a split infinitive or cleft infinitive is a grammatical construction in which a word or phrase divides the to and the bare infinitive of the to form of the infinitive verb. Usually, it is the interrupting adverb or adverbial phrase which comes between to and the verb.

Which of the following is not a complete sentence?

Remember: a complete sentence tells a complete thought, begins with a capital letter, and ends with an end mark.

Which of the following sentences contains a participle phrase?

A participle phrase users a word formed from a verb (e.g., going, gone, being, been) and used as an adjective (e.g., working woman, burned toast) or a noun (e.g., good breeding) such as "glazed" in the correct answer above.

Which is the correct word to use in this sentence: There are _____ games in the closet.

"Four" is a number, while "for" is a preposition.

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