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The BBC Online Grammar Quiz- anyone done it?

(40 Posts)
bella65 Tue 14-May-13 13:39:50

See their home page.

I am miffed- I don't agree with the answer to Q3- I think the correct answer is it's impossible to tell. I doubt that the comma they mention would add clarity.

I also object to the question about Churchill because it's general knowledge, not grammar.

And I was taught that 'that' and ''which' are interchangeable most of the time.

Quenelle Tue 14-May-13 13:44:27


I got 9 out of 10. Damn those pesky semicolons grin

Quenelle Tue 14-May-13 13:45:58

They do say before it begins that there are no official rules and it's all debatable.

culturemulcher Tue 14-May-13 13:49:06

10/10 grin <faints>

But only because MN linked to another one a few weeks ago which had one question which was exactly the same.

lainiekazan Tue 14-May-13 14:07:18

It doesn't matter if you don't know about Churchill - the preposition is still at the end even if said by Harry Styles!

bella65 Tue 14-May-13 14:07:24

But Churchill isn't grammar.
And the comma in Q3 is not correct IMHO!

bella65 Tue 14-May-13 14:09:20

Personally, I'd write' My sister Clara who lives in Madrid,....'
there are far too many commas in the original example.

ShatnersBassoon Tue 14-May-13 14:10:37

I got 8/10. I didn't kick myself over the ones I got wrong. I was none the wiser when the answer was explained!

Farewelltoarms Tue 14-May-13 14:21:25

I got 7 out of 10.
(Professional writer, first from Oxford. Crap school though).

LindyHemming Tue 14-May-13 19:05:01

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Biscuitsneeded Tue 14-May-13 19:11:26

No, the comma is crucial. 'My brother who lives in Madrid', without a comma, implies there is another brother, ie Hilary, who does not live in Madrid. 'My brother, who lives in Madrid' implies nothing about any siblings and just explains where he lives.

Startail Tue 14-May-13 19:58:22

8 never did strange terms and Q3 is convoluted beyond my two brain cells.

sjd1 Wed 15-May-13 00:43:29

"I'd like to introduce you to my sister Clara, who lives in Madrid, to Benedict, my brother who doesn't, and to my only other sibling, Hilary."

I agree entirely with what both Biscuitsneeded and the BBC question-setter are saying about the comma. However, the possibility that has not been taken account of is that Hilary is not necessarily the other sibling. Depending on the stress given to the sentence when spoken, Hilary could equally well be "you", i.e., the person to whom the introduction was addressed. This sentence could thus be the equivalent of "Hilary, I'd like to introduce you to ..." Although such usage would be unusual and convoluted, it would still be correct grammatically.

Therefore the correct answer to the question is that it is impossible to know from the context whether Hilary is male or female.

Clary Wed 15-May-13 00:51:56

Oooh me me, I got 10/10, tho I did make an educated guess at the last one, like you Euphemia I had never heard of the phrase.

The comma, my brother, Benedict, means he is my only brother. Otherwise there not only could be others, but in fact really must be!

(I used to do grammar for a living - newspaper sub editor grin)

Stupid name Hilary, anyway.

Clary Wed 15-May-13 00:52:37

I mean it's stupid cause it could be a boy or girl and therefore gives rise to questions like this one grin

ThisIsNotAFlyingToy Wed 15-May-13 00:58:59

You'd never write that sentence down as you'd be saying that in person - unless the person being introduced was blind or it's the opening line of a dull novel not bitter at all because I got that one wrong

Clary Wed 15-May-13 01:00:52

Yes but if you said it you would say (or not say) the comma!

ThisIsNotAFlyingToy Wed 15-May-13 01:08:08

I refuse to believe anyone would ever say such an awkward sentence grin

I read it, get it, then read it again and I'm confused again

garlicyoni Wed 15-May-13 01:09:50

8/10. I got the Hilary question wrong - as did all my friends - through not paying attention. It would have been a bit easier if they'd used a positive instead of "who doesn't" - I was too busy working out what that meant, and whether there was a trick in the "doesn't", to observe the commas!

Seven speakers of English as a second language got 9/10 on my wall; only one English person did!

Was very surprised to find I knew which was the gerund smile

amazingmumof6 Wed 15-May-13 01:47:46

ok, so the people I'm being introduced to are:

1, sister Clara, who lives in Madrid

2, Benedict (could be anyone, boy or girl, or a dog, living anywhere, who knows?)

3, my brother, who doesn't [live in Madrid]

now it gets tricky ...and my only other sibling

I don't get it.
if "only other" means there is a sister and a brother, why would I say " my brother and my only other sibling?" to mean my brother IS my only other sibling? sounds weird to me (I'm not English, so I'm bound to be wrong)

I'd say "my brother, who is my only other sibling"

sister, brother AND only other sibling - it feels like there are 3 siblings, and the person talking is drunk....

and I could be Hilary by all we know!

and who calls their son Hilary anyway? no wonder we don't know where he lives! I think he hides in a cave so people don't laugh at him.

BTW I scored 8/10. got Q3 and gerund one wrong, rest was no problem.

CloudsAway Wed 15-May-13 07:10:14

your numbers 2 and 3 must be the same person - if they were different people you were being introduced to (Benedict, and another brother from Madrid), you'd have needed another 'to' in there, to keep parallel construction.

MirandaWest Wed 15-May-13 07:14:37

I got 9/10. Also did a similar one recently but still got caught out by the brother blush

TheHerringScreams Wed 15-May-13 07:20:46

10/10. I'm very pleased, I've lived in the UK for the last five years only. Although I think that actually we pay more attention to grammar when studying English as a second or third language, than in English schools nowadays?

senua Wed 15-May-13 08:19:31

I got 10/10 [smug]

ignores the fact that one answer was a lucky guess and that I only knew the answer to 'Hilary' because the same question was in Pedants' Corner just the other day.

Suzieismyname Wed 15-May-13 08:34:10

Snap, senua ! About the Hilary question. I worked out all the others!

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