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Three More “Error Quests” for You

Test your error-finding skills in each of the three short passages below. Each passage has just one error. 

Passage 1:

The purpose of the conversation is to recognize the common ground between members of the Republican Party and the Democrat Party in our state. We hope to come away with a sense of common purpose and shared values. (The full description of the event appears on the back cover.)

 

Passage 2:

You met with Duane and Elise yesterday, right? I was wondering whether there were time for the three of you to work through all the issues. For instance, did you have time to decide whether we should use an attachment or a link for the detailed itinerary? Please let me know.   

 

Passage 3:

We can't publish the newsletter till we hear from Renee, who has the scholarship figures. By the way, Renee said she will be happy with whomever appears on the cover. She feels that all the recipients are strong, highly deserving candidates.  

 

Did you find just one error in each passage? A hint appears below. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Each passage includes an incorrect word. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Compare these corrected passages with your versions. 

Passage 1:

The purpose of the conversation is to recognize the common ground between members of the Republican Party and the Democratic Party in our state. We hope to come away with a sense of common purpose and shared values. (The full description of the event appears on the back cover.)

The correct name of the party is Democratic, not Democrat

 

Passage 2:

You met with Duane and Elise yesterday, right? I was wondering whether there was time for the three of you to work through all the issues. For instance, did you have time to decide whether we should use an attachment or a link for the detailed itinerary? Please let me know. 

"I was wondering whether there was time" is correct. The subjunctive form, were, is wrong because the sentence is not a wish, a conjecture, or a statement that is contrary to fact. 

 

Passage 3:

We can't publish the newsletter till we hear from Renee, who has the scholarship figures. By the way, Renee said she will be happy with whoever appears on the cover. She feels that all the recipients are strong, highly deserving candidates.  

"Appears on the cover" needs the subject form whoever–not the object whomever. Don't let the preposition with fool you. 

 

Do you want more practice finding errors? Try these five Error Quests. Then get the booklet (printed or interactive PDF) of 50 Error Quests.

Consider taking a course: Punctuation for Professionals and Proofread Like a Pro are available as online self-study courses.  

Did you find other errors in the three passages or in this blog post? I hope not! But if you did, please share them, and feel free to raise questions. 

Note: I'm on vacation through June 3, but I will respond to your comments as soon as I get a chance. 

Lynn
Syntax Training

Posted by Lynn Gaertner Johnson
By Lynn Gaertner-Johnston

Lynn Gaertner-Johnston has helped thousands of employees and managers improve their business writing skills and confidence through her company, Syntax Training. In her corporate training career of more than 20 years, she has worked with executives, engineers, scientists, sales staff, and many other professionals, helping them get their messages across with clarity and tact.

A gifted teacher, Lynn has led writing classes at more than 100 companies and organizations such as MasterCard, Microsoft, Boeing, Nintendo, REI, AARP, Ledcor, and Kaiser Permanente. Near her home in Seattle, Washington, she has taught managerial communications in the MBA programs of the University of Washington and UW Bothell. She has created a communications course, Business Writing That Builds Relationships, and provides the curriculum at no cost to college instructors.

A recognized expert in business writing etiquette, Lynn has been quoted in "The Wall Street Journal," "The Atlantic," "Vanity Fair," and other media.

Lynn sharpened her business writing skills at the University of Notre Dame, where she earned a master's degree in communication, and at Bradley University, with a bachelor's degree in English. She grew up in suburban Chicago, Illinois.

6 comments on “Three More “Error Quests” for You”

  • These are fun, Lynn, and I’m glad you shared one that reminds us to use the Democratic Party (not Democrat Party) since misuse is common.

    In Passage 3, I wanted to change “till” to “until.” Would it be correct either way?

    Thanks!

  • I’d be interested in seeing a larger post about “till.” I’ve always been taught that the shortening of “until” should be written as “’til,” and that “till” is incorrect (unless you’re using it in the sense of tilling the earth).

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