Three Quick Error Quests for You

How good are you at finding errors? The three short error quests below will test your proofreading skills and your knowledge of grammar, punctuation, and structure. Each quest contains just one error—no more, no less. Can you find it? You may be surprised at the solutions. Good luck!

 

Error Quest 1: Find the Error

Because Pedro is one of the community’s most important leaders, his advice and wisdom are sought on all major decisions. He is a keen farmer, a voracious reader, and is intimately involved with local political organizations. We should definitely try to meet with him.

 

Error Quest 2: Find the Error

I would describe Eva as a socially-connected, dedicated development officer. Her family has a long history in the community. Her father taught at a local high school, and her mother played in the city’s symphony orchestra. Eva attended local schools and the state university before starting her fundraising career at the museum.

 

Error Quest 3: Find the Error

Adrian Talbot (S&I), Ginette Shellman (IT), Ombretta Evans (CT), and myself make up the core technical team. We have met weekly since November and have made good progress. When we are ready to present our plan, we will invite you and the other directors to a meeting at the plant.

 

Did you succeed in your quests? Feel free to share your corrections in the comments. I will post the solutions tomorrow, after people have had a chance to think about these quests without peeking at the answers.

 

 

 

 

 

Solutions Added on February 20

 

Error Quest 1: Because Pedro is one of the community’s most important leaders, his advice and wisdom are sought on all major decisions. He is a keen farmer, a voracious reader, and is intimately involved with local political organizations. We should definitely try to meet with him.

Solution: The error is the lack of parallelism in the second sentence. Although punctuated like a series, it is not a series—only two elements are alike. The structure changes in the third item:

He is:

  • A keen farmer
  • A voracious reader
  • Is intimately involved with local political organizations.

One solution is to make two independent clauses: “He is a keen farmer and a voracious reader, and he is intimately involved with local political organizations.”

Another solution is to make a parallel series: “He is a keen farmer, a voracious reader, and an active participant in local political organizations.” “Active participant” is not the same as “intimately involved,” but the phrase illustrates parallel structure. A writer who knows Pedro would be able to think of a perfect noun.

 

Error Quest 2: I would describe Eva as a socially-connected, dedicated development officer. Her family has a long history in the community. Her father taught at a local high school, and her mother played in the city’s symphony orchestra. Eva attended local schools and the state university before starting her fundraising career at the museum.

Solution: The only error involves the phrase “socially-connected,” which should not be hyphenated. When –ly adverbs modify adjectives before a noun, the resulting phrases do not need hyphens. Examples: beautifully designed furniture, newly appointed director, widely accepted rules.

 

Error Quest 3: Adrian Talbot (S&I), Ginette Shellman (IT), Ombretta Evans (CT), and myself make up the core technical team. We have met weekly since November and have made good progress. When we are ready to present our plan, we will invite you and the other directors to a meeting at the plant.

Solution: The word myself in the first sentence is incorrect. The correct subject pronoun is I: “Adrian, Ginette, Ombretta, and I make up the core technical team.”

Non-errors:

  • The comma before and in the first sentence is optional but widely accepted as standard.
  • The second sentence does not need a comma before and because the words after and do not form an independent clause.

 

Try 50 more challenges in Error Quests. Take Punctuation for Professionals and Proofread Like a Pro, two of my online self-study courses.

Lynn
Syntax Training

10 COMMENTS

  1. Error Quest 1: Do not start the sentence with “Because”.

    Error Quest 2: Her family has a long history in the community; her father taught at a local high school, and her mother played in the city’s symphony orchestra. Semicolon after community.

    Error Quest 3: Adrian Talbot (S&I), Ginette Shellman (IT), Ombretta Evans (CT), and I make up the core technical team. I, not myself

  2. 1. Parallelism in second sentence (remove second “is”)
    2. No hyphen after adjectives ending in “ly” (“socially”)
    3. Pronoun usage (myself > I)

  3. Should #2 have a comma after “dedicated” or maybe the word and?

    “I would describe Eva as a socially-connected, dedicated, development officer.” Or, “I would describe Eva as a socially-connected and dedicated development officer.”

  4. 1) Delete “Because”

    2) Her family has a long history in the community: her father taught at a local high school; her mother played in the city’s symphony orchestra.

    3) Delete “myself” and replace with “I”.

  5. 1. Faulty parallelism. “He is a keen farmer, a voracious reader, and intimately involved with local political organizations.” Even better could be, “He is a keen farmer, a voracious reader and an avid supporter of local political organizations.”

    2. No hyphen needed in “socially-connected” because the adverb ends in ‘ly’ and the hyphen is not required for clarification.

    3. Pronoun issue. “Myself” should say “I” instead. A good test of this one is to remove the first part of the sentence and read it like this: “myself make up the core technical team.” It doesn’t make sense, but “I make up the core technical team” does.

  6. Thank you, Jan, KL, Ben, Laura, SM, Joy, Melissa, and Patty, for sharing your corrections. Please review my solutions in the main blog post. I have clarified a few points below.

    In Error Quest 1:
    It is not an error to start a sentence with “Because.” Teachers have led many people into thinking it’s wrong to start a sentence with that word, but you can start a sentence with any word you choose.

    Eliminating the word “is” does not complete the correction. It leads to a series of two nouns and one adjective, which is not parallel.

    KL, I love your suggestion of using “who is intimately involved.”
    Melissa, I like your correction with “avid supporter.”

    In Error Quest 2:
    The passage does not need any semicolons.

    “Socially connected, dedicated development officer” would be wrong with a comma or an “and” after “dedicated.” That’s because “development” is an integral part of the phrase “development officer.” The phrase “development officer” is modified by “socially connected” and “dedicated”–requiring just one comma.

    In Error Quest 3:
    Everyone was correct. Congratulations!

    Lynn

  7. Thanks, Lynn! I was on the right track, but didn’t quite understand the nuances of the rules. Your explanations were clear and concise – exactly the kind of teaching that I can put to good use in my work as a translator and editor. I love your quizzes and look forward to the next one!

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