|How Well-Spoken Are You?|
The Internet is a wonderful tool, featuring a wealth of useful information
available to anyone who is willing to hunt for it. Many highly qualified
professionals post lectures, commentaries, and other materials. Many
readers access these postings in the course of their own
whether they involve the stock market, the opera, mathematical recreations,
There also are thousands of web pages with useful insights on English grammar, and I have no desire to duplicate them. My focus is strictly on the unfortunate and frustrating fact that I must endure a plethora of misspelled words, faulty punctuation, and rotten grammar in a quest for knowledge. Doubtless, those aforementioned professionals feel that they are reasonably well-spoken (a term I will use as including 'well-written', because spelling does count); otherwise, they surely would ask someone qualified to proofread their stuff. Well, they mostly are wrong! With few exceptions, these individuals commit silly errors in a variety of everyday situations. Equally unfortunate is the fact that they get away with their folly, because most mistakes tend to go unrecognized by their equally unknowledgeable readership.
Television commentators are no better. Most of them lack a good
grade-school grammar; yet they are paid the big
bucks to speak to others. Go figure. Sportscasters collectively
either have forgotten that sentences contain verbs, or they feel that it is
cute to suppress them; either way, they are incorrect. At least
speakers don't have to worry about spelling. Writers, however, have
even less excuse for making most errors, because they are not required to
I present examples of idiocies frequently encountered in modern speech and
writing, in the form of a quiz. Do you consider yourself a
well-spoken person? See how well you fare on the following
questions. There is nothing fancy here, just common words and sentence
structures — sixth-grade stuff.
With just one exception, each of the following sentences contains at least one error in spelling, punctuation, or grammar. Can you identify the mistakes?
When you have finished, turn the page for the answers.
(hint: there are 30 errors; so go back and find some more)