Don’t, whatever you do, scroll down. We’re going to play a little game. Now, how good would you say you are at spotting written mistakes? Jeepers, you’ve scrolled down already? Disqualify yourself and spend your time doing something more interesting like watching television.
For those that are left, do you fancy yourselves as proofreaders? If so, you may enjoy correcting the following paragraph. To all grammatical sleuths – yes, you beastly lot who trawl the broadsheets for split infinitives – I think you’ll have fun; to everybody else, good luck. Make a note of the mistakes – we’re using British English, needless to say – and then scroll down for the answers in bold underlined type.
“Whom is on the phone,’ I asked my freind Simon, with a plum in my mouth. ‘Your not going to beleive this, but its him,’ simon replied, ‘the fantom heavy breather sellling holiday again.’ I groaned inwardley and the boiled ketttle. I dont actually know who simon talks to on the phone; Simon, who do I not trust, is scetchy about teh Conservations with the holiday salesman. Simon is slipppery adn duplictous; in fact, I’d say that noone is more dihsonest than him. Also, my neighbor is as suspicous as me when it comes to simons virtues – we think him is different than us
Keep scrolling. I don’t trust you not to cheat.
‘Who is on the phone?‘ I asked my friend Simon, with a plum in my mouth. ‘You‘re not going to believe this, but it‘s he,’ Simon replied, ‘the phantom heavy breather selling holidays again.’ I groaned inwardly and boiled the kettle. I don‘t actually know whom Simon talks to on the phone; Simon, whom I do not trust, is sketchy about the conversations with the holiday salesman. Simon is slippery and duplicitous; in fact I’d say that no one is more dishonest than he. Also, my neighbour is as suspicious as I when it comes to Simon‘s virtues – we think he is different from us.
How did you get on? Did you honestly spot all 33 mistakes? Yes, I know – proper English is simply fiendish. Still, if you’re under forty, you can justifiably blame the failing educational system; if you’re closer to fifty and were schooled properly, you can say you’ve become inured to poor grammar as a result of the next generation. Happy now? Jolly good. See you next week for more travel-related nonsense, quite possibly with subject and object pronouns all to cock..