Sunday, August 3, 2008


Here are the corrections and explanations for last week's postings.



Gorilla” identifies the largest of the anthropoid apes of western equatorial Africa.

Guerilla” refers to a member of a small independent of soldiers that harasses its enemies with surprise raids and unconventional warfare.


This was the closing line of a story I heard on the news.

“No word on charges.”

This is an incomplete thought because there is no verb.

“No word on charges has been released.”


Identify and correct the errors in the following examples?

“One in four Canadians are considered overweight or obese.”

The subject is “one” and it is singular. A singular verb is needed.

“One in four Canadians is considered overweight or obese”.

"However, a large majority of responders were on side with it."

The subject is “majority” and, in this context, is a collective singular noun, so a singular verb is needed.

"However, a large majority of responders was on side with it."


Find and correct the error(s)in the following sentence.

"Pauline Cookson, like Affleck and others, were concerned a giant solar farm near her house would drive down property values and affect her quality of life."

The subject of the sentence, Paula Cookson, is singular and needs a singular verb.
“Like Affleck and others” is not the subject and does not pluralize the subject.

"Pauline Cookson, like Affleck and others, was concerned a giant solar farm near her house would drive down property values and affect her quality of life."



Perverse” means stubborn or wrong-headed and makes no hint of anything erotic. It means going counter to what is desired or expected.

Perverted” is often used in relation to abnormal sexual desires. It really means wicked, evil, distorted or turned from what is right


Identify the American author who used the concept of "perverse" to great advantage in the writing of his short stories.
You get a gold star if you can name his story that epitomizes "perverseness".

Edgar Allan Poe used the concept of perverseness in his short story, “The Black Cat”. In the story, the author despairs of his perverseness by which he does exactly what he knows he should not do when he maims and walls up his black cat for accidentally tripping him. The perfect perverseness and irony, of course, is that his cruelty eventually results in his admission of guilt to the police.


"Sierra and Cody told us that their grades were better than ours but we didn't believe them."

This was taken from the TV show, Are You Smarter than a 5th Grader?
The problem is the number of plural pronouns in the sentence.

So, read the sentence and identify how many plural pronouns there are?

There are five plural pronouns in the sentence: "us", "their", "ours", "we" and "them".
"Their" is a plural, possessive pronoun, used as an adjective to modify the noun "grades" and is called a pronominal adjective.
"Their" is a pronoun. Its function is as an adjective which is a word that modifies or describes a noun, hence the term “pronominal adjective”.


“Ignorance is not innocence but sin.”
Robert Browning wrote this.


Unctuous” (adj.) means pertaining to something oily, greasy, excessively smooth or soapy.

Vestigial” (adj.) means pertaining to a mark, a trace, a vestige or some visible evidence.

Puerile” (adj.) means childish, silly, immature or infantile.

Confluence” (n.) means a union, a flowing together, a coming together or a meeting.

Encomium” (n.) means a eulogy or a formal expression of praise.

1 comment:

John P said...

Thank you for your help with the "5th Grader" query. The retired French teacher in our group still has reservations about the "their," but the rest of us are content with your explanation. We were all surprised and elated that you responded so quickly, and we appreciate the fact that you posted the solution prior to Sunday.

I have been visiting your site regularly since my mom sent me an article from the Windsor Star in which you and your blog were mentioned (as you may know, I am a Massey graduate). I think it is important to tell you that your site has helped me fine tune the grammar in my Masters thesis paper.

I hope that you will visit my blog, as well. Please feel free to include my grammatical mistakes in your daily exams.