Skip to main content

Common Mistakes.

This exercise tests your understanding of a number of different areas of grammar. In each question you will be presented with a sentence containing various mistakes. You will need to identify which mistakes apply.

1

This is a lovely cake, she exclaimed, where did you get the recipe?

a) No speech marks.
b) Incorrect use of the question mark after direct speech.
c) The sentence contains a comma splice.
d) You do not need a comma after cake as it is not the end of the direct speech.
a) Well done. Speech marks are definitely needed. a) Speech marks are definitely needed. b) Well done. The question mark is needed. b) The question mark is needed. c) Well done. You cannot join two independent clauses with a comma.c) You cannot join two independent clauses with a comma.d) Well done. You need the comma after cake to separate the direct speech from the rest of the sentence. d) You need the comma after cake to separate the direct speech from the rest of the sentence.
Check your answer

2

I love going to greece, the people are friendly, the beaches are beautiful and the food is fantastic.

a) As a proper noun, Greece needs a capital letter.
b) The dreaded comma splice is in evidence here.
c) As the beaches belong to Greece, they need an apostrophe.
d) There is no need for the comma after 'friendly'.
a) Well done. Greece needs a capital letter. a) Greece needs a capital letter. b) Well done. You cannot separate two independent clauses with a comma. A semicolon would do nicely here. b) You cannot separate two independent clauses with a comma. A semicolon would do nicely here. c) Well done. 'Beaches' is plural and an apostrophe would be plain wrong. c) 'Beaches' is plural and an apostrophe would be plain wrong. d) Well done. You need the comma after 'friendly' to separate the elements in the list. d) You need the comma after 'friendly' to separate the elements in the list.
Check your answer

3

I really cant stand our throw-away, self-obsessed society.

a) You should not use hyphens in adjectives.
b) You should use an apostrophe in 'cant' to indicate a missing letter.
c) You cannot use a comma in this sentence to separate adjectives.
d) You cannot put 'really' between the subject and the verb.
a) Well done. You should use a hyphen in compound adjectives. a) You should use a hyphen in compound adjectives. b) Well done. 'Can't' needs an apostrophe to indicate the missint letter. b) 'Can't' needs an apostrophe to indicate the missint letter. c) Well done. You should use a comma in this sentence to separate adjectives. c) You should use a comma in this sentence to separate adjectives.d) Well done. It is fine to put 'really' between the subject and verb. d) It is fine to put 'really' between the subject and verb.
Check your answer

4

Pamela hates getting wet; she always take's her mothers' umbrella with her .

a) The semicolon is incorrect here and should be replaced with a comma.
b) There should not be an apostrophe in 'takes'.
c) The position of the apostrophe in mothers' is incorrect.
d) There should be an apostrophe in 'hates' to echo the apostrophe in 'takes'.
a) Great. The semicolon is perfect here. A comma would be a hideous crime against grammar. a) Wrong. A comma would be a hideous crime against grammar. b) Great. There should not be an apostrophe in 'takes'.b) Wrong. There should not be an apostrophe in 'takes'.c) Great. The position of the apostrophe in mothers' is incorrect. c) Wrong. The position of the apostrophe in mothers' is incorrect. d) Great. It would be a nonsense to put an apostrophe in 'hates' to echo the apostrophe in 'takes'. d) Wrong. It would be a nonsense to put an apostrophe in 'hates' to echo the apostrophe in 'takes'.
Check your answer

5

I decided to never visit the old ramshakle houses again, they are just to scary.

a) Incorrect spelling of 'to'.
b) 'Houses' needs an apostrophe.
c) The sentence contains a split infinitive.
d) The sentence contains a comma splice.
a) Well done. It should be 'too'. a) It should be 'too'. b) Well done. No need for an apostrophe here. b) Nope! An apostrophe would be a travesty here. c) Well done. You should not split the 'to visit'. c) There is a split infinitive you know. d) Well done. You are getting good at identifying these comma splices. d) There is a comma splice here.
Check your answer

6

Running to catch the bus; the conductor saw me slip on some old mouldy and rather unpleasant pizza remains.

a) The sentence contains a split infinitive.
b) The sentence contains a comma splice.
c) The sentence contains a dangling participle.
d) The semicolon is incorrect here.
a) Well done. No fooling you. There is no split infinitive here. a) There is no split infinitive here. b) Well done. No fooling you. There is no comma splice here. b) There is no comma splice here. c) Well done. There is a dangling participle here. Think about who is running. c) There is a dangling participle here. Think about who is running. d) Well done. A comma is needed here. d) A comma is needed here.
Check your answer

7

There were less people in the palace this year than there are at last year's festival.

a) The sentence contains a comma splice.
b) There is no need for the apostrophe in 'years'.
c) The sentence contains an inconsistency of tense.
d) The 'less' is wrong and should be replaced by 'fewer'.
a) Great. No sign of a comma splice here. a) No sign of a comma splice here. b) Well done. You need the apostrophe in year's. b) You do need the apostrophe in year's. c) Great. The sentence changes from past to present. c) The sentence changes from past to present. d) Fantastic. People cannot be divided, so you need 'fewer'. d) People cannot be divided, so you need 'fewer'.
Check your answer

8

'Your going to be able to see there work this evening,' the teachers told the parent's.

a) The sentence contains a dangling participle.
b) The spelling of 'there' is incorrect.
c) The apostrophe in 'parents' is incorrect.
d) The spelling of 'your' is incorrect.
a) Spot on! No sign of a dangling participle here. a) No sign of a dangling participle here. b) Fantastic. You need the possessive form 'their' in this sentence. b) This sentence needs 'they're' meaning 'they are'. c) Well done. There is no need for an apostrophe in 'parents'.c) There is no need for an apostrophe in 'parents'.d) Great. You need 'you're' meaning 'you are'. d) You need 'you're' meaning 'you are'.
Check your answer

See a list of other grammar exercises.