Featured image by Kyle Taylor.
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There’s at least three wrong questions in this. Try again.
9 is incorrect. If you add in the omitted but assumed noun, “house” it becomes obvious: We are going to the Johnson’s house for dinner. 13 is correct from a hyper-technical grammarian point of view, but both are acceptable in modern usage.
The person who created this should study up on their English a bit more. Several of the “correct” answers are incorrect.
It would be nice if the questions in the image were in the same order as the answer buttons. I got #3 wrong because it was the bottom question, but the top answer button.
If you’re going to bother making an English quiz, at least consult some people with knowledge on the subject. You’ve got several questions that have incorrect/false answers.
Ex) “their” is a perfectly acceptable and gender neutral substitution for “his or her”.
There are many others.
I suggest firing whoever was supposed to fact check. Competent English experts are a dime-a-dozen, yet you’ve employed a lazy dud.
The problem with the example you use, “Their” being gender neutral, is that gender neutrality is not the relevant issue. It is incorrect because “their” is a plural pronoun, implying two or more people, while “his or her” is singular. The pronoun must match “everybody”, which is a singular collective noun.
However, either is acceptable in modern/common English, because language is ever evolving and as long as you are understood and no one is confused it really doesn’t matter all that much.
“They” and “their” have been acceptable for singular pronoun use for centuries. It was only when the Victorian grammar reformists decided that English needed to conform to same rules other European languages used that “they” became plural-only. It didn’t stick – even at the height of the grammar reform movement, people still used “they” to indicate gender-nonspecific singular entities, and they still do today. It’s a useful and familiar gender-nonspecific pronoun in a language that lacks one, so stop fighting its use. It’s simply part of the English language. English doesn’t have to conform.
The problem with your explanation of why JohnnyJohnJohnJim77 is wrong, is that it doesn’t take into account two obvious facts.
1) JohnnyJohnJohnJim77 said the word was both perfectly acceptable, AND gender neutral. JohnnyJohnJohnJim77 did not infer that its gender neutral standing was the reason the answer should be correct.
2) The question was, in actuality, gender neutral, as it mentioned neither male nor female members of “everybody”. Because of this, there is no way to tell if the question involved men, or women. Therefore, gender neutrality is a relevant issue in this instance, making use of the word ‘their’ both correct, and much more convenient than writing “his or her’. As such, ‘their’ is a perfectly acceptable answer, regardless of anyone’s understanding of the English language . . . or lack thereof, as the case may be.
If by “modern English” you mean it’s been used for at least 300 years, then we agree. It has been common for centuries to use “they/them/their” with a singular antecedent when trying to maintain gender neutrality. Does that make it proper? Debatable, since one of the fun things about English grammar is that rules can flex based on the evolution of society, while other rules remain static despite the opposite being more prevalent. The gender neutral “they/their” is not a modern construct to deal with the gender revolution, but whereas it was simply a gray zone in the past, in the past decade society would deem the usage of “him/her” to be completely inappropriate and even offensive, as it enforces gender binarism.
Yeah, I think Johnny is right. It may not be “official” yet, I’m not sure, but SO many people use “their” to be a gender neutral person, even singular, that it’s definitely grammatical now. English changes as speakers change. And gender fluid/trans people often prefer or encourage “they” and “their” to refer to them, because they don’t identify as strictly male or female. “They” is very rapidly becoming acceptable.
Yes, once again one of these supposed expert quizzes fails… twice. “Continual dripping” and “continuous dripping” are both correct, but differ slightly in nuance. Even the American Heritage Dictionary defines “continual” as “recurring regularly or frequently”, as does Collins, Random House and Oxford. Also, the word “they” (and its equivalent “their”) has been accepted as Standard English for “he or she” ever since it was used in the English House of Lords of all places, in the 1700s. If the House of Lords is not “proper English”, what is?
These were exactly the two questions I got “wrong”. Thanks for the thorough explanation why!
I carried on with further research. ‘Continuous’ really means carrying on without stopping, while “continual”, by implying a repetition, means carrying on without ending, but not necessarily without stopping. Thus “AAAAA…” is continuous, but “A A A A A…” is continual.
In addition, whereas I had identified a usage of “they” as meaning “he or she” or “one” in the House of Lords (John Stanhope, 4th Earl of Chesterfield, in the 1770s), Oxford had been able to go back as early as 1526. And the ambivalent interchange between “them” and “him” existed in Old English in the 9th century.
Um how is Johnsons correct and not Johnson’s??? You’re going to the Johnson’s HOUSE. The word house is left out but still implied so it should still be possessive. I don’t get that one at all.
I know right? Shouldn’t it at least be Johnsons’ ?
We’re not given enough information.
If the family’s name is Johnson, than it could be Johnson’s (possessive to the Johnson family), Johnsons (more than one Johnson), or Johnsons’ (possessive to more than one Johnson).
If the family’s name is Johnsons, than only Johnsons or Johnsons’ would be correct.
Ah yes, good call. I assumed it was “Johnsons.” Not sure why I did. So the question needs one of those multiple choice options: “Not enough information.”
5. It should be with whom. Not just whom. That’s wrong.
9. Also wrong. It should be We’re going to the Johnsons’ for dinner. There is more than one of them, so they’re the Johnsons. And as much as popular grammar seems to be okay with it. Plural possesive should be at the end of the S not before the S…
Oh, yes, and 13 is transphobic.
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