Final Exam


High school and college students are graduating, summer is approaching, and I have now shared close to 150 posts since September 2014. This seems the right time to end my weekly blog. Nevertheless, I hope to continue helping you sharpen your writing, as follows:

  • You can email me orders for my book, 100+ Instant Writing Tips. It complements the blog posts – with fuller explanations when warranted – and contains a helpful index. I cover the mailing cost for friends (yes, that’s you) and any sales tax, so each book costs just $12.95.
  • You can go to to learn more about my workshops on writing in the workplace, individual coaching, and related services.
  • You can go to the blog page of my website to browse the full “library” of posts since September 3, 2014.
  • You will probably see occasional posts in the future when I spot a juicy writing issue.

Final exam

So to wrap up, here is a sampling of the scores of common errors and commonly missed opportunities to write more gracefully that we have addressed over the past 33 months. Spot the mistakes or “issues” in the following sentences.

1. There’s five bikes parked inside of the Parkers’ garage.
2. Lead by Paula, we are collaborating together in an effort to revamp our interviewing process.
3. Patsy and Pete both attended the same seminar, they said it was “just alright”.

Answers and references

1. A) “There’s” is wrong because we’re talking about more than one bike. Moreover, whenever we start a sentence with “There’s,” “There is,” or “There are,” we are settling for the unexciting verb “to be.” (See the 9-3-14 post.) B) We don’t need “of” after “inside.” (See 12-16-14.) C) The apostrophe after “Parkers” is correct. (See 10-3-16.)

2. A) “Lead” should be “Led.” (See 10-31-16.) B) “Collaborating together” is redundant. (See 2-14-17.) C) Instead of “in an effort to,” all we need is “to.” (See 10-22-15.)

3. A) Using “both” with “same” is redundant. (See 5-23-16.) B) The comma should be a period or semicolon. (See 4-22-15.) C) “Alright” is not standard English; we want “all right.” (See 10-15-15.) D) The period should go inside the quotation marks. (See 11-25-14.)

Here are possible revisions:
1. Five bikes are parked inside the Parkers’ garage.
2. Led by Paula, we are collaborating to revamp our interviewing process.
3. Patsy and Pete both attended the seminar; they said it was “just all right.”

Thank you!

I appreciate your interest in my blog. Please let me know if I can ever help you further.

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