Business Writing

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Syntax Training | Lynn Gaertner-Johnston

January 19, 2017

Can You Find The Errors? Try These Error Quests

Each of the three short passages below has one error. Can you find all three? Test your skills. 

Passage 1: 

I just saw the schedule for the conference, and I am frustrated because Caren and Priya's presentations take place at the same time. If I attend Caren's, would you attend Priya's session? That way we could support both team members. 


Passage 2:

Jerrod and his team are making good progress on the project. They have met all the project milestones, and beta testing has begun. Jerrod's leadership and expertise has continued to motivate everyone. 


Passage 3:

Syracuse, Rochester, and Albany, New York are listed among the best cities to live in the United States. One of the strengths of all three cities is the short commute time--less than 25 minutes each way. 




How did you do? Before scrolling down to compare your corrections with mine, check to see whether you found the same type of error I found. Passage 1 has an error in the use of the possessive form. Passage 2 contains an error in subject-verb agreement. And Passage 3 has a punctuation problem. 











The incorrect possessive form appears in the first sentence in Passage 1. The correct possessive would be "Caren's and Priya's presentations" because each woman has her own presentation. If they shared the presentations, they would share the apostrophe ("Caren and Priya's presentations"). However, since they don't share the presentations, they should not share an apostrophe.


The subject-verb agreement error in Passage 2 is the word has in the last sentence. The sentence needs the verb have to match the compound subject "leadership and expertise." 


A comma is missing from Passage 3. The opening sentence needs a comma after New York. When you use a city-state unit in a sentence, you need commas before and after the state, not just before it. 


Would you like more practice finding errors? Try five more Error Quests. Then get my entire booklet (printed or interactive PDF) of 50 Error Quests.

Syntax Training



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