How Good is Your English?

Thursday, January 06, 2011 - 03:48 PM

Ben Yagoda is the author of nine books, including: "Memoir: A History" and "When You Catch an Adjective Kill It: The Parts of Speech, for Better and/or Worse." You can read more about him at


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Comments [8]

rinor from kosovo

i woul like to know the correct spelling of chauffeur

Jan. 08 2011 10:30 AM
Michelle from Florida

Interesting topic and presentation of it, but it was so annoying this morning on the show when one of the hosts read a tongue-in-cheek revision of the sentence submitted by a listener and didn't seem to get it.

Jan. 07 2011 04:25 PM
Laura from Brooklyn, NY

Agree that two-year anniversary seems grammatically acceptable. Also, if we're being picky, would vote for "for our second anniversary" changing to "in honor of"....

Jan. 07 2011 01:52 PM
JRElliott from Massachusetts

"Grey" and "gray" are equally valid.

"Two-year anniversary", while redundant, could have been used to distinguish it from their "two-month anniversary" or their "second mensiversary". (Yes, I know "anniversary" and "annual" are yearly at their root.)

I think the hyphen in "two-year anniversary" is needed since "two-year" is being used as a single word qualifier.

This redundancy doesn't trouble me nearly as much as one that I hear used by speakers of British English: "I'll see you in ten minutes time." As opposed to what? Ten minutes of arc?

Modulo those differences, the "correctly written sentence" (shouldn't that be "correctly-written sentence") is correct.

Jan. 07 2011 09:52 AM
simona from coral gables, fl

It's awful that I came to live in this country a couple of years ago, thinking my English would improve and instead I'm taking bad habits such as answering "I'm good" when someone asks me how I am... (By the way, I was able to identify most of the mistakes in the phrase and hope to keep beeing able to do so)..

Jan. 07 2011 09:37 AM
Carrie from arvada, co

Although the correction provided is correct, there are several ways to correct the sentence. Also, gray or grey are both acceptable forms when referring to the color, so that is a preferential change.

Jan. 07 2011 09:30 AM
Paola Solis from Miami

Sorry, English is my second language. I forgot that grey is spelled with an 'a'. My bad....

Jan. 07 2011 09:28 AM
Torii Hamilton from Michigan

I love the Takeaway! Love NPR in general, esp Morning Edition and the Takeaway.

Jan. 06 2011 05:33 PM

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