Assorted Grammatical Problems Exercise (680)

In each sentence, identify and correct the grammatical error.

Answers and Explanations

1.
Original: Extravagantly deranged, ear-splittingly cacophonous, and entirely over the top, George Miller has revived his Mad Max punk-western franchise with a bizarre convoy-chase action thriller set in the postapocalyptic desert.
Correct : With the extravagantly deranged, ear-splittingly cacophonous, and entirely over-the-top film, George Miller has revived his Mad Max punk-western franchise with a bizarre convoy-chase action thriller set in the postapocalyptic desert.

This sentence mistakenly describes film director George Miller, not his film, as extravagantly deranged, ear-splittingly cacophonous, and entirely over the top. The revision explicitly mentions the film in the subordinate clause.

2.
Original: As an adult, and possibly even as a young man, the greatest influence on Robespierre’s political ideas was Jean-Jacques Rousseau.
Correct : As an adult, and possibly even as a young man, Robespierre was perhaps most influenced by the political ideas of Jean-Jacques Rousseau.

In this sentence, "the greatest influence on Robespierre’s political ideas," rather than Robespierre himself, is incorrectly associated with references to someone as an adult and a young man.

3.
Original: Police were looking at online postings they believed Jones wrote to learn more about him and try to figure out his motive.
Correct : In order to learn more about Jones and try to figure out his motive, police were looking at online postings they believe he wrote.

The sentence takes a confusing turn, implying that Jones wrote online postings to learn more about someone else previously mentioned and here identified as "him." In the revision, the police are clearly identified as the party trying to learn more about Jones, here also identified as "he."

4.
Original: They agreed that in most cases, the result will be frustrating: Asking the child about it too often prompts shrugs.
Correct : They agreed that in most cases, the result will be frustrating: Too often, asking the child about it prompts shrugs.

This sentence is confusingly structured to suggest that overly frequent querying of a child about something results in the child’s shrugs. The true meaning, however, is that in too many situations, asking a child about something (presumably, only once) results in the child’s shrugging response. For clarity, the modifying phrase "too often" should be placed at the head of the clause that follows the colon.

5.
Original: Also, producer of the 1983 version, John Smith, will join the production.
Correct : Also, John Smith, producer of the 1983 version, will join the production.

An epithet (a phrase that describes a person) and a person’s name are not grammatically interchangeable. Here, the name must come first unless the epithet is preceded by "the," which is optional in the revision.

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