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Syntax Training | Lynn Gaertner-Johnston

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June 30, 2009



I love proofreading quizzes. This was a great one!

Val S.

Doh! I missed discreetly - which didn't quite look right - then counted two in foreword to get to ten. Good lesson to double-check when things don't look quite right (obviously can't depend on spellcheck!).

Val S.

Just looked up discrete vs. discreet and realized I hadn't ever thought about those two words being spelled differently. I have a lot to learn!


Rita, glad you liked it!

Val, don't you love it when you learn something new? I'm pleased that you did.


In British English (or is it just me?) we'd say "... to Britta or myself". How "wrong" is "myself" here?


Oh dear - I missed "compliment" and "number". The 'number vs. amount' rule trips me up every time.

Thanks for posting this! I think I'll grab your guide.


Hi, Clare and Khat. I apologize for the delay in responding.

Clare, "myself" is wrong in the U.S., although you see it often. The only correct use of it in a similar construction would be "I divided the work between Britta and myself" or "I gave Britta and myself a treat." It's reflexive--it has to reflect back to the word "I."

Khat, I cover 60 confusing word pairs and trios in my "60 Quick Word Fixes." (Click the box in the right column to learn about it.) For only US$7, it offers a lot of information. Good luck!



Ah - I see now! Many thanks for the clear explanation.


Sometimes using 'myself' can be the lesser of two evils. A former boss used to use 'I' where he should have used 'me', but he was a very smart man. To discreetly change it without questioning his intelligence, I would reconstruct the sentence as you did above and use 'myself' as it wasn't as direct as changing it to 'me'. He always accepted my change. Cowards way out, but it worked.


I stopped reading when I caught the mistake you made on your very first "correction." The word "principal" refers to a "person," and the word "principle" refers to a "law" or "primary" position of an issue. Therefore, you changed a correctly used word in the first passage to one used incorrectly in the second passage. Personally, I think you could use a good proofreader.

Lynn Gaertner-Johnston

J.B., "principle" does not mean "primary. The correct word in the opening phrase is "principal."

Please check your reference books, and you will recognize the error.



That was enjoyable: 7/10 and then made 3 unnecessary changes :\

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