Identify errors in the following as you read the passage:
- count vs. non-count nouns
- common vs. proper nouns
- compound nouns
Explain why each error is incorrect, and explain how to correct the error. The sentences have been numbered to help you organize your comments.
(1) Marie Curie, who conducted pioneering research on radio-activity, was the first woman to win a nobel prize, the first person to win twice, and the only person to win twice in multiple sciencees (she won in physics and chemistries). (2) She was also the first woman to become a professor at the University of Paris.
(3) Curie was born in Warsaw, and she began her practical scientific training there. (4) She studied at Warsaw’s clandestine Floating University—a Polish patriotic institution of higher learning that admitted womans. (5) In 1891, aged 24, she began her studys in Paris, where she earned her higher degrees and conducted her subsequent scientific researches.
(6) In 1910—four years after the death of her husband—Curie succeeded in isolating radium; she also defined an international standard for radioactive emissions that was eventually named for her and Pierre: the curie. (7) Her achievementes included the development of the theory of radioactivity (a term that she coined), the creation of techniques to isolate radioactive isotopes, and the discovery of two elements: a polonium and a radium.
- The compound noun “radio-activity” should not have a hyphen; it is a closed compound: radioactivity. It has been treated correctly as a non-count noun, however. Nobel Prize should be capitalized because it is a proper noun. “Sciencees” has been pluralized incorrectly; the correct spelling is sciences since the word science takes regular pluralization. “Chemistries” is a non-count noun, so it does not have a plural form; the correct word is chemistry.
- There are no errors in this sentence.
- There are no errors in this sentence.
- “Womans” has been pluralized incorrectly. The correct spelling is women since this word is a mutant plural.
- “Studys” has been pluralized incorrectly. Since the word study ends with a y (and there is no vowel before the y), the correct plural should end in –ies: studies. “Researches” is a non-count noun, so it does not have a plural form; the correct word is research. (The word researches is a real word, but it is a verb, as in “She researches elements.”)
- There are no errors in this sentence. You may want to capitalize the word curie in this sentence, since it is named after a person. However, this is not a literal use of the name. As a unit, the word has become a common noun instead of a proper noun.
- “Achievementes” has been pluralized incorrectly; the correct spelling is achievements since the word achievement takes regular pluralization. The non-count noun radioactivity has been treated correctly; however, the non-count nouns polonium and radium have not. They should not have articles before them; thus, “the discovery of two new elements: polonium and radium” is correct.
Read the following passage. Identify any errors in pronoun usage, including agreement and clarity. The sentences in the passage have been numbered to help you organize your comments.
(1) Louis Charles Joseph Blériot (1872–1936) was a French aviator, inventor, and engineer. (2) In 1909, he became world famous for making the first flight across the English Channel in a heavier than air aircraft, winning the prize of £1,000 offered by the Daily Mail newspaper. (3) When the prize was announced by the paper, it was widely seen as nothing more than a way to gain cheap publicity—no one at the time thought that the feat could actually be accomplished. (4) The Paris newspaper Le Matin commented that there was no chance of the prize being won. (5) Blériot would prove them wrong.
(6) At 4:15 am on July 25, 1909, watched by an excited crowd, Blériot made a short trial flight in his’s Type XI. (7) On a signal that the sun had risen, he took off at 4:41 for the attempted crossing. (8) Flying at approximately 45 mph and at an altitude of about 250 ft, he set off across the Channel. (9) Not having a compass, Blériot took his course from his escort ship, the Escopette, that was heading for Dover, but himself soon overtook the ship. (10) The visibility had deteriorated and he later said, “for more than 10 minutes I was alone, isolated, lost in the midst of the immense sea, and I did not see anything on the horizon or a single ship.”
(11) After he landed on a patch of gently sloping land called Northfall Meadow, close to Dover Castle, he was escorted back to the harbor by a Daily Mail correspondent, where he was reunited with his wife. (12) The couple, surrounded by cheering people and photographers, was then taken to the Lord Warden Hotel at the foot of the Admiralty Pier: Blériot had become a celebrity.
In sentence 5 the pronoun them has a vague antecedent. Does it refer back to the writers at Le Matin? Or does it refer back to the pronoun no body (in which case it should be singular). The best solution it to remove the pronoun entirely: “Blériot would prove everyone wrong.”
In sentence 6, the apostrophe on “his’s” is incorrect. The pronoun his is inherently possessive—you don’t need to add anything. The sentence should say “. . . a short trial flight in his type XI.”
There are four pronouns used in sentence 9: his, his, that, and himself. Both instances of his are correct. The relative pronoun, that, is set off by commas: this means we should use which not that. Himself is also used incorrectly. This is the start of a new idea, so the subject case should be used here.
- Not having a compass, Blériot took his course from his escort ship, the Escopette, which was heading for Dover, but he soon overtook the ship.
Sentence 11 is the beginning of a new paragraph. Blériot’s name has not been mentioned in this paragraph yet, and it isn’t mentioned until the end of the last sentence. While it’s assumed that we’re still talking about Blériot, it might be good to say his name again.
- After Blériot landed on a patch of gently sloping land called Northfall Meadow, close to Dover Castle, he was escorted back to the harbor by a Daily Mail correspondent, where he was reunited with his wife.
- After he landed on a patch of gently sloping land called Northfall Meadow, close to Dover Castle, Blériot was escorted back to the harbor by a Daily Mail correspondent, where he was reunited with his wife.