Grammar Practice Questions
1. The word boycott derives from the name of Charles C. Boycott, an English land agent in Ireland that was ostracized for refusing to reduce rent.
A. that was ostracized for refusing
B. who was ostracized for refusing
C. which was ostracized for refusing
D. that had been ostracized for refusing
E. who had been ostracized for refusing
2. As a result of his method for early music education, Shinichi Suzuki has been known as one of the world's great violin teachers.
A. has been known as one
B. had been known as one
C. is seen as one
D. is being seen as one
E. has been one
3. Last night the weather forecaster announced that this is the most rainy season the area has had in the past decade.
A. this is the most rainy season the
B. this has been the most rainy season the
C. this was the most rainy season the
D. this is noted as the most rainy season the
E. this is the rainiest season the
4. Although Mandy is younger than her sister, Mandy is the tallest of the two.
A. is the tallest of the
B. is the taller of the
C. has been the taller of the
D. is the most tall of the
E. is the more taller of the
5. When Katherine Hepburn's play came to town, all the tickets had sold out far in advance.
A. had sold out far
B. have sold out far
C. were sold out far
D. had been sold out far
E. had been sold out for
6. The origins of most sports is unknown.
A. sports is unknown
B. sports have been unknown
C. sports are unknown
D. sports has been unknown
E. sports are now unknown
7. Neither of the Smith brothers expect to be drafted by a major league team this year.
A. expect to be drafted
B. expects to be drafted
C. has expected to be drafted
D. is expecting to be drafted
E. was expecting to be drafted
8. Has any of the witnesses been sworn in yet?
A. Has any of the
B. Is any of the
C. Will any of the
D. Are any of the
E. Have any of the
9. TheLusitania sunk on May 7, 1915.
B. did sink
C. was sunk
D. did sank
10. Whos in the office now?
A. Whos in
B. Whose in
C. Who is in
D. Who's in
E. Whose' in
11. There are now many kinds of dictionaries, such as a dictionary of synonyms and antonyms, a biographical dictionary, and a geographical dictionary with pronunciations given.
A. with pronunciations given
B. that has pronunciations given
C. with pronunciations' given
D. that have pronunciations given
E. that do have pronunciations given
12. Towering 700 feet above the valley floor, Mount Rushmore National Memorial was an impressive site.
A. was an impressive site
B. is a impressive sight
C. is an impressive sight
D. was an impressive sight
E. is an impressive site
13. San Francisco lays southwest of Sacramento.
A. lays southwest
B. has laid southwest
C. is lying southwest
D. lain southwest
E. lies southwest
14. Did they know that Labor Day always came on the first Monday in September?
A. came on
B. comes on
C. has come on
D. had come on
E. has came on
15. Eating, drinking, and to stay up late at night were among her pleasures.
A. to stay up late
B. to remain up late
C. staying up late
D. she liked staying up late
E. trying to stay up late
16. Each night when night came and the temperature fell, my parents lit the fire in the bedroom.
A. and the temperature fell,
B. and that the temperature did fall
C. and that the temperature fell
D. and because the temperature fell
E. and when the temperature fell
17. Frances promised to bring the Papago basket that she bought in Arizona.
A. bought in
B. had bought in
C. has bought in
D. did buy in
E. purchased in
18. He has lain his racquetball glove on the beach.
A. has lain
B. has laid
C. have lain
D. have laid
E. is lying
19. I would have lent you my notes if you would have asked me.
A. would have asked me
B. could of asked
C. could ask
D. had asked
E. had of asked
20. Many scientists are still hoping to have found life on another planet.
A. to have found
B. to find
C. two find
D. to have been found
E. too have found
21. Because she had an astounding memory, Sue has never forgotten an important equation.
A. had an
B. could have had
D. did have
E. has had
Answers and Explanations
1. B: When referring to a person, use "who," not "that" [(A), (D)] or "which" (C). The past perfect "had been" [(D), (E)] is inappropriate in this context: simple past "was ostracized" refers to the historical event itself. Past perfect would only be used with something identified as leading up to the past event, e.g. "...who had been refusing to reduce rent for years and finally was ostracized."
2. C: Present perfect (A) implies Suzuki is not still known thusly. Past perfect (B) implies he stopped being known thusly in the past. Also, "known" is less accurate than "seen": the former suggests fact; the latter connotes perception/view/opinion, the case here. Present progressive (D) is awkward and suggests the opinion is only current and short-term. "Has been" without "seen" (E) changes the meaning from public opinion to fact-and past, not present, fact.
3. E: "Rainiest" is the superlative form of the adjective "rainy." ("Rainier" is the comparative.) Using "most"/"more" plus the original adjective instead of its superlative/comparative form when it has one is incorrect with one-syllable adjectives and usually awkward with two-syllable adjectives.
4. B: When comparing two things/people, use the comparative (-er/more), not the superlative (-est/most), only used when comparing three or more. "Has been" (C) is only correct when sentence context warrants, e.g. "...has been the taller of the two for three years." Here it is extraneous. "Most tall" (D) is doubly incorrect: once for using superlative, not comparative; and again for using "most"(/"more") instead of "-est"(/"-er") with a one-syllable adjective. "More taller" (E) is an incorrect double/redundant comparative.
5. D: Though common, using "sold out" in active voice with "tickets" as the subject is undesirable since tickets cannot literally sell themselves, so passive voice is more appropriate. Also, past perfect "had been sold out" is more correct than simple past tense "were sold out" (C) since the selling out preceded when the play came to town (past tense). "For" (E) instead of "far" in advance is the wrong preposition/word choice for the meaning and makes no sense.
6. C: Subject-verb agreement: The subject "origins" is plural, so the verb must agree with "are." The singular "is" (A) or "has been" (D) is incorrect. Present perfect "have been" (B) only applies if the context dictates it, e.g. "have been unknown until recently." Adding "now" (E) changes the meaning, implying they were previously known.
7. B: "Neither" is singular, so "expects" is correct. "Expect" (A) is plural. Present perfect "has expected" (C) is superfluous and awkward, as are present progressive "is expecting" (D) and past progressive "was expecting" (E). These would only apply if followed by (e.g.) "...until now" for (C) and (E) or "...until next year" (D).
8. E: "Any" can be singular or plural; in this context, plural is more appropriate. When asking questions with plural count nouns, use "any" as plural. For singular, "Has any one of the witnesses...?" is better. "Is" (B), "will" (C), and "are" (D) are not correct auxiliary verbs in past perfect with "been."
9. E: The past tense of "sink" is "sank." "Sunk" (A) is part of the present perfect ("has sunk"/"is sunk"/"has been sunk"- passive voice) and past perfect (had sunk"/"was sunk" (C)]/"had been sunk"- passive voice) tenses. "Did sink" (B) is awkward and unnecessary. "Did sank" (D) is incorrect: past-tense auxiliary verbs are never used together with past-tense main verbs (doubling).
10. D: An apostrophe is required in "who's," a contraction of "who is." No apostrophe (A) is incorrect. "Whose" (B) is the possessive (i.e. belonging to whom). Its irregular spelling differentiates it from the contraction "who's" (like "its" vs. "it's"). "Whose" is never spelled with a final apostrophe (E). "Who is" (C) is not incorrect, but expanding the contraction to full form avoids correctly identifying the contraction's correct spelling.
11. A: This is the most economical wording of the modifying prepositional phrase. "That has" (B) is unwieldy and superfluous. The plural "pronunciations" is not possessive and thus should not have an apostrophe (C). "Have" [(D), (E)] is plural, disagreeing with the singular subject.
12. C: Present tense is more correct when describing something that currently still exists. Also, from the sentence context, "sight," i.e. something to see, is the desired meaning whereas "site" [(A), (E)] means a location. Past tense [(A), (D)] would only be correct in context, e.g. "...was an impressive sight when we visited it last year." The article "a" (B) is incorrect before a vowel ("an" is correct).
13. E: The present tense of "to lie" is "lies." "Lays" is the present tense of the transitive (taking a direct object) verb "to lay," e.g. "We lay books on this table." "Has laid" (B) should be "has lain," but present perfect makes no sense here: San Francisco's location has not moved. Present progressive "is lying" (C) is similarly misleading regarding a non-temporary location. "Lain" (D) is present perfect/past perfect, not present-and moreover lacks its auxiliary verb (has/had).
14. B: Although the predicate is past-tense ("Did they know...?"), something that is still true, like a national holiday, "always comes on" the same day in present tense. "Always came on" (A) implies it no longer does, as does "has come" (C) and "had come" (D). "Has came" (E) is never used: the present perfect (has) and past perfect (had) both take the form "come."
15. C: The series of gerunds ("-ing"-participial verbals used as nouns) require parallel structure. To agree with "eating" and "drinking," "staying up late" is correct. The infinitive "to stay/remain" [(A)/(B)] disagrees with the gerunds "eating, drinking." Adding "She liked..." (D) incorrectly places the third verbal into an independent clause with another subject and verb, contradicting the sentence structure-and redundant with "were among her pleasures." "Trying to stay up late" (E) changes the meaning.
16. A: A comma between a modifying phrase/clause and the clause it modifies is correct. Inserting "that" [(B), (C)] is incorrect: "the temperature fell," along with "night darkness came," is introduced by the adverb "when." It is not a restrictive relative clause introduced by "that." Past tense "fell" is preferred over the awkward "did fall" (B). "Because" (D) is incorrect: the clause was already introduced by "when." Past-perfect "had fallen" (E) disagrees with past-tense "darkness came" and "my parents lit..."
17. B: Past perfect is correct because Frances promised (past tense) to bring what she had bought before she promised. Present perfect "has bought" (C) disagrees with the past-tense predicate "promised." "Did buy" (D) is just an awkward or archaic version of past tense "bought" (A); "purchased" (E) is simply a past-tense synonym for "bought"-all incorrect here. (Frances did not buy the basket at the same time that she promised to bring it.)
18. B: The correct present-perfect of transitive verb (i.e. it always takes a direct object) "to lay" is "has laid." "Has lain" (A) is intransitive, e.g. "He has lain on this bed before." "Have lain" (C) uses not only the wrong verb/tense, but also a plural auxiliary verb with a singular subject, like "have laid" (D). "Is lying" (E) should be "is laying" with the object "racquetball glove;" but even corrected, changing the tense changes the meaning here.
19. D: In conditional-subjunctive constructions, "if..." introduces the conditional clause/phrase, and the corresponding "then..." subjunctive uses "would have." Using "would have" in the conditional is incorrect. There is no such construction as "could of" (B) or "had of" (E); these incorrectly substitute the preposition "of" for the auxiliary verb "have." "Could ask" (C) is wrong in both tense and meaning.
20. B: "Hoping," like "planning"/"dreaming"/"expecting," etc., is future-oriented and in the present participle ("-ing"), requires the infinitive in modifying verbs, i.e. "hoping to find." Scientists cannot hope "to have found" [(A), (E)] something already that they are "still hoping" to find. "Two" (C) is the spelling of the number 2, and "too" (E) is the adverb meaning "also," not the preposition "to." "To have been found" errs doubly, using both present-perfect tense and passive voice incorrectly here.
21. C: With present-perfect "has never forgotten," present-tense "has an astounding memory" is correct. "Had" (A) and "did have" (D) are past-tense; and "has had" (E) is present-perfect tense, all implying Sue no longer has an astounding memory, contradicting the statement that she still "has never forgotten." "Could have had" (B) completely changes the meaning and also contradicts "has never forgotten."
by Enoch Morrison
Last Updated: 09/30/2016