It’s funny, but I never really appreciated grammar until I started writing for a living. Then all of these questions started to pop-up: Is it which or
is it that? Should I have used a comma there? “Who" could I ask about using whom? The point is, those tricky bits of English can confuse
us all, and so I figured a bi-weekly refresher could help everyone. Today, I present my first grammar quiz. Feel free to print this out and mark your
choices down; the answers will follow later.
This is a personal quiz, so please do not “reply” or “reply all” with your answers. Answers will be emailed after 3 p.m.
Choose the better personal pronoun.
Mom asked Jane and (I, me) to help with the groceries.
- Joe and (I, myself) are competing for the award.
- Nobody likes ice cream as much as (I, me).
- Does the sound of (him, his) snoring bother you?
- No one but (I, me) offered to help set up the tents.
- This is pretty straightforward if you take away Jane.
Mom asked Jane and me to help with the groceries.
- Reflexive (–self) pronouns need to refer back to someone or something within the sentence, so I is the right choice here.
Joe and I are competing for the award.
- This is an example of an elliptical phrase. That means that part of the sentence is not present but is still understood. The full sentence would read, “Nobody likes ice cream as much as I like ice cream.” Using me would imply that “nobody likes ice cream as much as they like me.” We all know that nothing beats ice cream! Sometimes adding in a verb makes it sound more natural: Nobody likes ice cream as much as I do.
Two words, than and as, will often give you a hint that you’re dealing with an elliptical phrase.
Nobody likes ice cream as much as I.
- A pronoun before a gerund, or verbs turned into nouns through –ing, should be possessive. Replace the pronoun with a regular noun and it becomes clearer: Does the sound of Robert’s snoring bother you?
Does the sound of his snoring bother you?
- When but is being used to mean “except” or “apart from,” it is considered a preposition, and a personal pronoun that follows a preposition should be in the object case.
No one but me offered to help set up the tents.