The following quiz is a test of your knowledge of grammar, word usage, punctuation, capitalization, and spelling, and of your proofreading abilities. Select the best answer for each of the questions. After the quiz, you'll find brief explanations of the correct answers. The next chapter goes into more detail and provides you with additional opportunities to practice.
1. The disinterested/uninterested student neglected to report that the vending machine continually/continuously ran out of juice.
a. disinterested/continually b. disinterested/continuously c. uninterested/continually d. uninterested/continuously
2. The telecommunications manager investigated the complaint, he had questioned the explanation he'd heard.
a. fragment—add conjunction b. comma splice—replace comma with a semicolon c. correct as is
3. Each of the supervisors_seven or more years of experience in the field.
4. Tammy knew_before she left the orchestra two years ago as a much-respected pianist whom most of the musicians adored.
5. Qualifying for the team last thursday meant she would leave school next winter and move to the west in order to compete.
a. Qualifying for the team last Thursday meant she would leave school next winter and move to the west in order to compete.
b. Qualifying for the team last Thursday meant she would leave school next Winter and move to the west in order to compete.
c. Qualifying for the team last Thursday meant she would leave school next winter and move to the West in order to compete.
d. Qualifying for the team last Thursday meant she would leave school next Winter and move to the West in order to compete.
6. Mae, a lawyer, wrote the E-mail and it was distributed to the officers.
a. E-mail and, it b. E-mail, and it c. E-mail, and, it d. correct as is
7. The company had_busiest week of the year.
8. Along with our colleagus, we will deciede about the warrenty and all pyament terms regarding the sail of business envelops.
a. five words are misspelled b. six words are misspelled c. three words are misspelled d. four words are misspelled
9. Billy went dancing with Jo-Ann and_.
10. Shouldn't this be labeled confidential?
a. labeled "Confidential"?
b. labeled "Confidential?"
c. correct as is
Compare how you did with the correct answers below.
1. (c) The student's lack of concern is indicated by the word neglected. The vending machine emptied frequently and quickly, not nonstop.
2. (b) Given the options, this is the only answer. When two independent clauses are connected in this way, there are three punctuation alternatives:
• Add a conjunction; in this example, the word for: The telecommunications manager investigated the complaint, for he had questioned the explanation he'd heard.
• Use a semicolon: The telecommunications manager investigated the complaint; he had questioned the explanation he'd heard.
• Separate into two sentences: The telecommunications manager investigated the complaint. He had questioned the explanation he'd heard.
3. (a) "Each" is the subject (the "doer") of the sentence, it is always singular, and it always takes a singular verb.
4. (a) Tammy is the subject (the "doer") of the sentence. "Knew" is the verb. The "musician" is the object of the sentence and thus takes the pronoun "her."
5. (c) Days of the week are always capitalized; seasons are capitalized only if used in a title (e.g., Summer Sale) or if personified (e.g., Old Man Winter). Regions of the country, like all geographic references, are capitalized.
6. (b) The comma goes before the coordinating conjunction when two independent clauses are connected.
7. (c) The word it's is a contraction of "it is." "Its" without an apostrophe is the possessive form of the word "it." "Its" is the only exception to the rule of how to punctuate possessives with apostrophes.
8. (b) There are six errors. The six errors are in italics: Along with our colleagus (should be colleagues), we will deciede (should be decide) about the warrenty (should be warranty) and all pyament (should be payment) terms regarding the sail (should be sale) of business envelops (should be envelopes). Note that your computer's spell checker would not have caught the misuse of sail; that's a usage error, not a spelling mistake.
9. (c) Prepositions (with) take the objective form of the pronoun ( me).
10. (a) The word confidential should be capitalized. Question marks go outside the quotation marks unless what is within the quotation marks is a sentence. (In British English, punctuation always goes outside the quotation marks.)
How did you do? Whether you answered all ten questions correctly, or whether you made several errors, it's important that you understand that these are the most common errors made in business writing. Identify what you don't know and learn to do it correctly. Only by recognizing the limits of your knowledge can you identify what you need to learn. When your business writing is clear, correct, grammatical, and well organized, your professional image is enhanced. When your business writing is not clear, correct, grammatical, and well organized, your professional image suffers.
The next chapter updates your grammar and punctuation knowledge, alerting you to some recent changes. You'll learn some easy-to-remem-ber tips to help you use the new rules, and you'll participate in several fun exercises to help you put the rules to work.
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