If You Get 29/35 on This Quiz, You Might Be a Bonafide Grammar Nerd!

Monica Lee

Image: cipella/E+/Getty Images

About This Quiz

If you like to feel smart, if you want to feel superior to the common man, then this quiz is for you. Whether you had grammar rules inscribed on your brain when you were in grade school or have the AP Stylebook memorized for your job in media or education you know the correct way to express yourself both verbally and in print.

However, to win the award for most knowledgeable grammar guru, you will have to pass this challenging quiz with 29 out of 35 questions answered correctly. We're not talking about easy questions like when to use a mere apostrophe or comma; we want to know if you're knowledgeable about subject and pronoun agreement and the correct usage of similar-sounding words. Sure, we'll throw in some easy ones, like the classic questions of when to use "affect" versus "effect" and "regardless" versus "irregardless." But this quiz should still be a brain teaser for you.

As always, The Associated Press Stylebook and Briefing on Media Law, usually called the AP Stylebook, is our guide, so you'll need to recall those particular rules. But that should be a breeze for a grammar enthusiast like you. Go on, challenge your friends, and see who can "out-nerd" who.

"First-come, first-serve." What's wrong with this common phrase?

Just add one letter, and the phrase is correct. This is a common phrase, so you don't need to change it, even if you do know how to state it properly. Without the "d" it sounds like the first person who comes will have to serve the others.

Another common phrase. "I could care less." How do you correct it?

"I couldn't care less" is correct because it communicates that "I have no more care to give." If you COULD care less," you might change your mind and care about it a bit.

This stumps a lot of people, is it "irregardless" or "regardless"?

According to Webster's Dictionary, since the prefix, "ir" and the suffx, "less" both mean "not or with" they cancel each other out, so what you end up with is 'regard.' So use regardless if you want to convey your thought correctly.

How would you correct this sentence? "Charles talked with Jane and me."

The trick to knowing if it's correct, is to take out the other person's name and see if your personal pronoun choice still sounds right.

Should you use "me" as the first word in a sentence?

"Me" as the first word in a sentence never works. Please don't do it, you will sound uneducated.

What's wrong with this phrase? "Shoe-in."

If you're saying "shoe-in" no one will know you are thinking of the incorrect usage. But if you're writing it, use "shoo-in," which is the a sure winner and the correct way to use the phrase.

This phrase, "Emigrated to" is in the media a lot. What should it be?

"Emigrate" and "from" always go together, as do "immigrate" and "to." To emigrate is to come from somewhere, and to immigrate is to go to somewhere.

Which of these three are correct? "Alot, a lot and allot."

The word alot does not exist. The correct answer is "a lot" and "allot". As a reminder, allot means give or apportion (something) to someone as a share or task.

How would you pluralize "FAQ"?

Apostrophes indicate one of two things: possession or letters missing; it does not indicate a plural. So you would never use an apostrophe to pluralize this word.

"Prostrate." What does this term mean?

Many people get this wrong. "Prostrate" actually means to lie face down. The "prostate" gland is a part of the male reproductive anatomy.

If you describe a magician's card trick, which of these phrases would you use?

"Sleight" indicates dexterity or cunning. It's why "sleight of hand" is commonly used in the world of magic and illusion.

If you're texting and you write, "I'm waiting for your answer with baited breath." Will you be embarrassed?

Do you want people to think your breath smells like a worm? Because a worm is a type of bait, so you might be embarrassed to let people know about your breath. The correct phrase is "bated breath," which comes from the verb "abate," meaning to stop or lessen.

If you're emailing someone about how once a decision is made it will calm you down, should you use "piece of mind," "peace of mind" or "peach of mind"?

Although we use the phrase, "I'll give you a piece of my mind," that is not correct when describing a relaxed or relieved feeling. It's "peace of mind".

Is "wet your appetite" the correct phase to use when describing an activity that might stimulate your appetite?

The correct way to use that phrase is "whet your appetite," when you want to sharpen or stimulate someone's appetite.

Per say, persay, or per se. Which one is correct?

The other two are incorrect. The Latin phrase which means "in itself" or "intrinsically" is spelled "per se."

Which phrase is correct?

Whether you say "all of a sudden" or "all of the sudden," the preposition "of" must be included.

What is the correct way to say this phrase: "Must of, should of, would of, and could of"?

The proper phrase replaces the "of" with "have". The incorrect wording may have come about once people shortened the phrase to Should've, would've, etc.

Which phrase is the correct usage?

To pique means to arouse, so the correct phrase is "piqued my interest," meaning that the person's interest was stimulated.

Which one is the proper legal term?

"Due diligence" is the proper business and legal term. It means you will take reasonable steps in order to satisfy a legal requirement, especially in buying or selling something.

Which phrase is correct?

This comparison indicates that something has degraded from one negative situation to the lowest possible situation.

You want to defrost a steak. Which of these terms correctly describes this action?

The steak needs to thaw. If you use the word "unthaw" then you need to put the steak back in the freezer.

Which phrase is the correct usage of telling someone they are fibbing?

"Bald-face" means shameless or showing no guilt. When a person tells a bald-faced lie, they are openly lying. It's a bold thing to do, but you would never use the word "Bold" in place of "bald".

If you want to say your friend has gone though a lot of bad times. Which of these phrases is correct?

A wringer is an old-fashioned mechanism which presses water out of clothes being washed by hand, a process indicative of putting someone through a hard time.

"A person who is happy always has a smile on their lips." What's wrong with this sentence?

In this phrase "A person" is singular and one needs to use him or her when referencing lips. So the correct sentence is "A person who is happy always has a smile on his or her lips." It could also be "People who are happy always have a smile on their lips."

When inviting people to parties, you want to do it right. Which of these phrases are correct?

"Who" refers to a clause’s subject, while "whom" refers to its object. The easiest way to remember this is by checking if the words “him” or “her” are compatible with your sentence, then use "whom."

Which phrase is correct?

The word "Because" is preferred over "since" when the reason is the most important part of the sentence. The action of losing something is "lose" something, not "loose." Add "s "to pluralizes the number of times she loses it.

Here's a rainy day question; which phrase is correct?

This is a very common grammar mistake because the difference when using each word is subtle. The word "affect" means “to produce an effect,” and the word "effect" means “a change that occurs as a result of something.”

What about this playful phrase, which one is correct?

They sound similar but have totally different meanings. To accept is to agree, whereas except means to exclude.

Take a break. Here's an easy one. Which is correct?

It's amazing, but some people get this wrong. Maybe it's auto correct. Just remember that" then" is an indication of time, while "than" is an indication of comparison.

Don't lie if you don't know this. Which phrase is correct?

When someone lies down it means to recline. However, to lay is the action of placing something down.

Ah, but what is the past tense of lie?

Since "lie" is used to indicate position, "lay" is the past tense. "After the anniversary party, the "Congratulations" banner lay on the banquet floor."

Just a few more questions and you're done! Which phrase is correct?

While "its" is the possessive form of it, the word it’s is a contraction of it is or it has.

Which statement is correct?

Generally, "people" is the plural of "persons." Here is a sentence with the correct usage: There are fifteen persons on this committee but three hundred million people in the United States.

Which abbreviation is correct in the sentence?

The i.e. generally is used to introduce information that is explanatory as opposed to e.g. which can be the name of an example or list of examples.

It's the last question! Which phrase is correct?

Remember to use the adjective form after verbs that have to do with human feelings. You felt bad. If you said you felt badly, it would mean that something was wrong with your faculties for feeling.

About HowStuffWorks Play

How much do you know about dinosaurs? What is an octane rating? And how do you use a proper noun? Lucky for you, HowStuffWorks Play is here to help. Our award-winning website offers reliable, easy-to-understand explanations about how the world works. From fun quizzes that bring joy to your day, to compelling photography and fascinating lists, HowStuffWorks Play offers something for everyone. Sometimes we explain how stuff works, other times, we ask you, but we’re always exploring in the name of fun! Because learning is fun, so stick with us!

Explore More Quizzes