Assorted Grammatical Problems Exercise (762)

In each sentence, identify and correct the grammatical error.

Answers and Explanations

1.
Original: The team has been looking for a powerful type of explosion that occurs when a massive star dies, called a supernova.
Correct : The team has been looking for a supernova, a powerful type of explosion that occurs when a massive star dies.

The syntax in this sentence is merely awkward rather than wrong; the sentence flows much better if the term "supernova" precedes rather than follows its definition.

2.
Original: From drug addict to intern to powerful executive at age thirty, John Smith’s life is already the stuff of legend.
Correct : From drug addict to intern to powerful executive at age thirty, John Smith is already the stuff of legend.

The subordinate clause refers to John Smith, not to his life, so the subject of the sentence (what follows the comma after the subordinate clause) should be "John Smith," not "John Smith’s life."

3.
Original: Ensure the actions you need to take to achieve the goal are things you can do and control.
Correct : Ensure that the actions you need to take to achieve the goal are things you can do and control.

In this case, omitting "that," which is often optional, incorrectly implies that the sentence one has just begun to read will refer to ensuring actions rather than ensuring something about them.

4.
Original: For the past few years, he’s been advertising the Ronco Six Star 25 Piece Knife Set, that you can get on the company’s website for about sixty dollars.
Correct : For the past few years, he’s been advertising the Ronco Six Star 25 Piece Knife Set, which you can get on the company’s website for about sixty dollars.

Using "that" after the name of the product incorrectly implies that two or more products by that name exist; using "which" indicates that the subordinate clause (the part of the sentence that follows the product name) is merely a modifying phrase that provides more information about the product, not an essential part of the sentence.

5.
Original: Last week, another, fight waged between his supporters and protesters.
Correct : Last week, another, fight was waged between his supporters and protesters.

The verb "waged" requires a preceding helping verb.

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