Good Grammar Test: The Results Fewer than one per cent of readers scored full marks

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by Andrew Marszal Daily Telegraph

     

INTERACTIVE: Can you pass the good grammar test?

This morning we published a fiendishly tricky grammar test devised by crusading grammarian Nevile Gwynne.

While the vast majority of readers knew the difference between "less" and "fewer", more than half did not know when to use "whom" instead of "who", or how to identify a preposition.

The toughest question of all proved to be number 11, which asked readers to identify the gender of "Evelyn" based on the difference between restrictive and non-restrictive clauses.

Here’s how you did:

Q. 1 Who or whom? (43 per cent answered correctly)

An age-old head-scratcher. The sentence should technically be “Do you see whom I see?” – Nevile Gwynne explains why here. Of course, as Telegraph Blogs’ Tom Chivers argues, “no English-speaking human being in the last five decades has said ‘do you see whom I see?’”

Even so, 57 per cent got it “wrong”.

Q. 2 “That was a near miss.” What part of speech is “near”? (73 per cent answered correctly)

Relatively few problems caused by this one. “Near” is of course an adjective describing the noun “miss”, as 73 per cent identified.

Q. 3 Fewer vs. less (96 per cent answered correctly)

Another doddle. A whopping 96 per cent knew that “fewer” applies to quantity, while less refers to size.

Q. 4-6 “This is nowhere near good enough.” What parts of speech are “near”, “enough” and “nowhere”?

• 65 per cent identified “near” as an adverb qualifying “good enough”

• 43 per cent noted that “enough” is an adverb qualifying “good”

• Only 34 per cent corrected identified “nowhere” as an adverb qualifying an adverb.

Q. 7 “Come and sit near me.” What part of speech is “near”? (48 per cent answered correctly)

Being able to identify a preposition might seem a pedantic talent these days, but many of the most frequently used words in the English language – of, to, in – fall into this category. So too does “near” in this context, as correctly identified by 48 per cent of you.

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