Assorted Grammatical Problems Exercise (578)

For each sentence, identify and correct a grammatical error.

Answers and Explanations

1.
Original: Despite being one of the most famous songs of the 20th century, Ely’s incoherent singing made the 1963 hit version of "Louie Louie" also one of the most misunderstood.
Correct : Despite the fact that the 1963 hit version of "Louie Louie" was one of the most famous songs of the twentieth century, it was also, because of Ely’s incoherent singing, one of the most misunderstood.

"Eli’s incoherent singing" is incorrectly equated with "one of the most famous songs of the twentieth century." The nature of his singing is removed from the head of the main clause to eliminate this confusing connection.

2.
Original: One of the people who benefited from the idea of the infomercial is Ron Popeil, an inventor and TV personality that seems to be pitching a new product each week.
Correct : One of the people who benefited from the idea of the infomercial is Ron Popeil, an inventor and TV personality who seems to be pitching a new product each week.

"That" is technically correct as a pronoun referring to a person, but it is awkward and distracting, and "who" is more appropriate.

3.
Original: She is still confused about carrying from the one’s place to the ten’s place.
Correct : She is still confused about carrying from the ones place to the tens place.

"Ones and tens" refers to more than one of something, so apostrophes are wrong in this case; the simple addition of an "s" to indicate plurality is correct.

4.
Original: Who said the 1950s wasn’t sexy?
Correct : Who said the 1950s weren’t sexy?

The phrase "the 1950s" refers to a decade, but decades are generally treated grammatically as a range of ten years, not as a single unit of time consisting of ten years, so the phrase takes a plural verb. (An exception is phrasing such as "The 1950s was a decade in which . . . .")

5.
Original: By then, his social and emotional problems took a marked turn for the worse.
Correct : By then, his social and emotional problems had taken a marked turn for the worse.

The original sentence demonstrates a confusion between simple past, which expresses an action or situation that was started and finished in the past, and past perfect, which describes an action that took place in the past before another past action. This statement requires use of the past perfect.

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