Category: Grammar Police

Grammar Police Promotions: The Results


The results are in!

651 of you attempted our Grammar Police Promotions Test; only 78 of you achieved the pass mark of 10/10 – and of that 78, only 30 managed it on their first attempt!

We will be issuing certificates over the next week to all students who achieved the pass mark on their first attempt. These students are now official Grammar Police Sergeants.

If you weren’t successful this time, do not be disheartened. Below, we’ll discuss the answers to the trickiest questions in the test.

The Tricky Questions


Here, the correct answer was the semicolon – as you shouldn’t use a comma to separate two main clauses.

If you’d like to know more about semicolons, look no further.


Almost 2/3 of our applicants got this question wrong. The correct answer is ‘bear’.

‘Bare’ can mean not covered or unsupported or basic.

The meaning we needed was tolerate – and for that, we needed the word bear.


This was a rather difficult question, and the correct answer was There is a comma splice, which 57.3% of you worked out. Comma splicing is when we join two separate sentences with a comma, when we should be using a full stop or a semicolon.

If you got this one wrong, have a look here for guidance on how to avoid comma splicing.


Almost a third of you got this one wrong. We needed the verb affect, and not the noun effect. (Effect can be a verb, but it has a very specific meaning that most people don’t use.) You can find more information on this here.


More people got this one wrong than right. We needed the spelling fazed, as to faze means to disturb or unsettleTo phase is to carry out in gradual stages.

Thank you to all of our applicants – regardless of whether or not you’ve been successful this time – and don’t forget to keep an eye out for your next opportunity to join the privileged ranks of the Lutterworth Grammar Police!



Chief Superintendent Shovlin







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?


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