Assorted Grammatical Problems Exercise (716)

In each sentence, identify and correct the grammatical error.

Answers and Explanations

1.
Original: Previously, Jones worked seven years at the Centerville Police Department, another small city in Hill County.
Correct : Previously, Jones worked seven years at the police department in Centerville, another small city in Hill County.

The sentence must be revised to state that Centerville, not the Centerville Police Department, is another small city in the same county.

2.
Original: He estimates that Russia will only be able to field a maximum of 330 Armata tanks by 2020.
Correct : He estimates that Russia will be able to field only a maximum of 330 Armata tanks by 2020.

The common misplacement of "only" is not egregious—the meaning of a sentence is almost always still clear—but technically, this sentence implies that Russia will be able to field the tanks but not do anything else with them. The point, however, is the quantity of tanks, not the extent of their usage, so "only" should be positioned to clearly indicate that point.

3.
Original: The hashtag appears to have been launched by Twitter users—commonly referred to as trolls—who are simply trying to get a rise out of people.
Correct : The hashtag appears to have been launched by Twitter users who are simply trying to get a rise out of people; such commenters are commonly referred to as trolls.

This sentence erroneously states that all Twitter users are trolls—that is, commenters who are simply trying to get a rise out of people. However, the statement should clearly refer to a category of Twitter users who have that objective.

4.
Original: Tickets for the latest entry in the space-fantasy franchise, which has grossed roughly $4.5 billion at international box offices to date, went on sale today.
Correct : Tickets for the latest entry in the space-fantasy franchise went on sale today; the series has grossed roughly $4.5 billion at international box offices to date.

This effort to shoehorn additional information into a sentence as a parenthetical phrase fails because the subject is vague; it’s not clear whether the entire space-fantasy franchise or just the latest entry in the series has earned roughly $4.5 billion at international box offices to date. The revision eliminates the ambiguity but isn’t satisfactory, either, however, because it tacks onto the main clause what is an only tangentially related statement.

5.
Original: The daily cost of her commute didn’t leave much money for her to buy lunch in her office building nor at local restaurants and food trucks in the area.
Correct : The daily cost of her commute didn’t leave much money for her to buy lunch in her office building or at local restaurants and food trucks in the area.

"Nor" is employed only in counterpoint with "neither"; here, a simple "or" suffices for contrast.

Related Articles

Subscribe to our articles and exercises