Quiz: What are the errors in these sentences?

Communicators must stay sharp on their grammar and AP style to avoid irking journalist partners. Can you spot all the mistakes?

Writing quiz

Make your editor proud. Identify the grammar and style errors in the sentences below. Check your answers by scrolling to the bottom.


  1. We play all the hits from the 70’s and 80’s.
  2. I’ll need to get cash from the ATM machine before we go out.
  3. We need to reign in the efforts by HR to require all staff to read Corporate Magick.
  4. They met face-to-face for the first time in 15 years.
  5. Let’s learn about Medicare!
  6. As you may or may not be aware, performance reviews start next week.
  7. The information on the website is meant to compliment class lectures.
  8. Irregardless of what you say, I’m going to continue using exclamation points.
  9. Reply back to this email to receive your free gift.
  10. Writing is clearly not one of your core competencies.
  11. Diane always has an alterior motive.
  12. None of the books she referenced is in the library.
  13. Please innoculate me with every vaccine available.
  14. Norbert is my pet coyote, I’m hoping he’ll stop chasing the cat soon.
  15. I’ll stay late to Powerpoint those FAQs.


  1. Don’t use an apostrophe to make a number plural, per AP Style. Instead, write “70s and 80s.”
  2. “ATM machine” is redundant. ATM means “automated teller machine.”
  3. “Rein” should be used instead of “reign.” Rein means to control, direct or restrain.
  4. “Face to face” does not need to be hyphenated in this sentence.
  5. An exclamation point is not necessary. (No one is excited about learning Medicare.)
  6. “As you may or may not be aware” adds nothing to the sentence and can be deleted.
  7. “Complement” should be used instead of “compliment.” Complement means to add to or complete.
  8. “Irregardless” is not a word.
  9. “Reply back” and “free gift” are redundant. Better: “Reply to this email to receive your gift.”
  10. Avoid corporate speak and jargon such as “core competencies,” “leverage,”
    “deliverables,” “bandwidth,” etc. Better: “Writing is clearly not one of your skills.”
  11. “Alterior” is incorrect. It should be “ulterior.”
  12. It should read: “None of the books she referenced are in the library.” In this sentence, “None” refers to “books,” which take the plural verb.
  13. Inoculate is the correct spelling.
  14. Use semicolons to join short, related independent clauses. “Norbert is my pet coyote; I’m hoping he’ll stop chasing the cat soon.”
  15. “Powerpoint” is not a verb.

How did you do, readers? Do you have any quiz questions to add?

Laura Hale Brockway is the author of the writing, editing, and random thoughts blog impertinentremarks.com.


3 Responses to “Quiz: What are the errors in these sentences?”

    Sarah Hoban says:

    Actually, my copy editor’s eye caught another error; the answers to statements 9 and 10 appear to be transposed.

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