The Grammar Police Entrance Exam Results

We had more than 650 applicants wanting to join the Grammar Police; fewer than a hundred met our exacting standards.

The lucky few will receive their certificates this week.

Here is Mr Solly – one of our successful applicants – with his gold certificate.

If you didn’t achieve 10/10, don’t be deterred; applications will open again later in the year.

You can see the results for the exam below. (Click on the image to enlarge it.)

For explanations of the more tricky questions, scroll down.

Questions 6, 7 and 9 tripped up many of our applicants.

For Q6, you were required to place the apostrophe between the n and the s in children’s. Apostrophes of ownership/possession can cause much confusion. You might find this helpful.

A simple rule: find the owner(s), add the apostrophe, and add an s if there isn’t one there already.

In this case, the owner(s) = the children – and so the apostrophe follows the n. We have to add an s as ‘children’ doesn’t end with one.

(If it were a ladies’ section in a clothing shop, the apostrophe would follow the s, as the owner(s) = the ladies.)

For Q7, you needed to identify the subordinate clause. Don’t forget that a subordinate clause cannot be a sentence on its own, whereas a main clause can.

For Q9, the answer was a comma, as you need a punctuation mark that could separate a subordinate clause from a main one. A semicolon would not be appropriate here, as they are used to separate main clauses. More information on semicolons can be found here.

The only question more students got wrong than right was Q10. When thinking about whether to use I or me in a sentence, a quick and easy rule is this: use the word you’d pick if the other person were removed from the sentence.

Take our example, Would you like to come and see a film with Jenny and ___. If we remove Jenny from the sentence, our options are:

Would you like to come and see a film with I?

and

Would you like to come and see a film with me?

Clearly, the second one is the one that sounds ‘right’.

This video, from Oxford Dictionaries, helps to explain why this is.

Thanks again to all of our applicants.

Chief Superintendent Shovlin

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