Of the following twelve sentences, only three are correct. Can you spot the errors?
- Cats often pester Bruno’s dog, so he always carries pepper spray.
- Reading often improves concentration.
- Mildred, along with the other members of the Ti Chi club, were invited to attend the annual Ti Chi hot dog eating competition.
- My three brothers-in-law’s ex-wives have become good friends.
- Neither of the solutions offered were acceptable.
- Samantha wondered why her husband was not wearing his seat belt?
- Having tried and failed hundreds of times, Don’s hopes of teaching the cat to talk began to wane.
- Bruno had lain on the sofa for hours before he realized he was in the wrong house.
- Of the top two students in Dr. Quack’s carrot therapy class, Crystal was the best.
- In the winter Edmonton is to cold for people to have picnics.
- The burglars divided up the loot among themselves.
- Earl is one of the workers who are always on time.
- This sentence is wrong because the pronoun “he” has no antecedent (a noun it can refer to). The antecedent can’t be a possessive—Bruno’s. The unnamed dog should be referred to as “it,” but in any case, it’s unlikely that the dog is carrying the pepper spray. A possible revision is “Bruno always carries pepper spray because cats often pester his dog.”
- The adverb “often” can modify either “reading” or “improving,” so the sentence is ambiguous. Possible revisions: By reading often, one can improve concentration. Often concentration can be improved by reading.
- Mildred was invited. The phrase “along with other members of the tai Chi club” is not part of the subject.
- Neither of the solutions offered was acceptable. “Neither” is always a singular subject. 6. The sentence is a statement, not a question, so it should be punctuated with a period.
- No question mark because the sentence is a statement
- “Having tried and failed hundreds of times” is a dangling modifier. It wasn’t Don’s hopes that tried. The sentence has to be revised: “Having tried and failed hundreds of times, Don began to lose hope in the teaching the cat to talk.”
- Crystal was the better. “Best” can be used only when comparing more than two.
10 “People” is a redundancy. In the winter Edmonton is too cold for picnics.
- The burglars divided the loot among themselves. “Up” is redundant.