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Part II: Some Basics of Style > Exercise #8—Usage

Chapter 11. Exercise #8—Usage

And now for some of the finer points. Even advanced students may find this usage quiz challenging. Good luck!

1: Which is correct? (a) scholar-athlete, (b) wildly-successful debut.


A: (a) is correct. Hyphenate pairs of coequal nouns. Adverbs ending in ly do not form hyphenated compounds.
2: Which is correct? (a) 19 BC, (b) AD 565. _____________________________________________________
A: Both are correct.
3: Do you underline, or place in quotation marks, the names of: films, TV programs, paintings, ships, song titles, episodes of a TV program? _____________________________________________________
A: Underline the first four; use quotes for the last two.
4: Which of the following should be underlined, which put in quotes? Bible, Genesis, Koran. _____________________________________________________
A: None. The rule for marking book titles and chapters does not apply to sacred writing.
5: When you are absolutely certain, do you say “doubtless,” “no doubt,” or “undoubtedly”? _____________________________________________________
A: Undoubtedly.
6: Find the error in the following statement (from a speech by Sen. Edward Kennedy): “If I was to make a political decision, it would be a different announcement today.” _____________________________________________________
A: “If I were…” Was becomes were in the subjunctive mood. The subjunctive mood expresses doubt, uncertainty, wish, or supposition or signals a condition contrary to fact.
7: Which of these advertising slogans is incorrect grammatically? (a) “Us Tareyton smokers would rather fight than switch.” (b) “For we full-figured gals.” _____________________________________________________
A: Both are incorrect. It should be “We Tareyton smokers…” and “For us full-figured gals.”
8: Which is correct? (a) high school teacher, (b) earners hair brush, (c) small businessman. _____________________________________________________
A: All could be correct, but not unless you mean “teacher on drugs,” “well-groomed camel,” or “short businessman.” Write (a) high-school teacher, (b) camel’s-hair brush, (c) small-business man if you have another meaning in mind.
9: Which is correct? (a) in regards to, (b) as regards, (c) in regard to. _____________________________________________________
A: (b) and (c) are correct.
10: Which spelling is correct in each of the following word pairs? (a) all ready/already, (b) all right/alright, (c) a lot/alot. _____________________________________________________
A: (a) Both are correct, (b) All right, (c) A lot.



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