Test Yourself

There are errors studded throughout these few paragraphs. See how many you can find and you’ll soon discover if you need WriteProper. You can ignore stylistic things that you might disagree with; just see how many actual errors you can find. Then scroll down to see the answers and to reckon your score.

The one real regret of my life is that I have spent so little time in Italy. I know and envy people who have spent months and years there. Most went for the weather and were disinterested in the art and architecture, which were the things that I was attracted to. But once I had taken a civil service job, this was out of the question. It was too far to go and too expensive. From London its easier to go to France. My colleagues were amused that I used up half my annual leave to take the children to some awful place in Spain, but children are complete tyrants in these matters and the only thing you can do is to appease the brats.

In fact, some colleagues were quite catty on the subject of my Spanish holidays. They tried to be discrete about their gossiping but you can’t keep these things quiet for long in a small office. Inevitably, the word got back to me. One man, senior to me, inferred that my principle reason for going to Spain was not to please the children but to please myself – that I actually liked the place. I hated it, or at least I hated the resorts to which we resorted. I knew that there were all sorts of wonders elsewhere in Spain – the Prado, the Alhambra, beautiful cities like Barcelona and Seville – but there was nothing for me on the beach.

I was adverse to beach holidays. The only things to do were eating and drinking. Even then, there were less options than you might think. The menus were arranged with the Brits in mind, so their were no Spanish options. It was mostly pie and chips. Likewise, the choices at the bar were limited and dull, mainly English bitters and some San Miguel, the local brew. It looked all right, but it’s taste confirmed that Spain was wine country, not beer country. There was a nasty metallic aftertaste from it.

So I spent most of my time on the beach under an umbrella, bored, pouring over a book. The children were never more than a few meters away and it was easy to reign them in if they got unruly. Still, I felt as if I were in a kind of straight jacket. I got silently annoyed at times, an anger borne of frustration. One of them fell one day and got a minor injury. I felt that he had got his just desserts and said so. My wife was not amused: “some father you are”, she said.

So, there were 15 errors. Let’s examine the patient. Here is a diagnosis of your condition, depending on the number you found:

  • 12 – 15. In rude good grammatical health
  • 8 – 12. Cause for concern. You need a course of grammar medicine
  • 4 – 8. Nee-naw, nee-naw, nee-naw: it’s A&E for you
  • 0 – 4. Intensive care.
Click here to see the correct version

The one real regret of my life is that I have spent so little time in Italy. I know and envy people who have spent months and years there. Most went for the weather and were disinterested in the art and architecture, which were the things that I was attracted to. But once I had taken a civil service job, this was out of the question. It was too far to go and too expensive. From London its easier to go to France. My colleagues were amused that I used up half my annual leave to take the children to some awful place in Spain, but children are complete tyrants in these matters and the only thing you can do is to appease the brats.

In fact, some colleagues were quite catty on the subject of my Spanish holidays. They tried to be discrete about their gossiping but you can’t keep these things quiet for long in a small office. Inevitably, the word got back to me. One man, senior to me, inferred that my principle reason for going to Spain was not to please the children but to please myself – that I actually liked the place. I hated it, or at least I hated the resorts to which we resorted. I knew that there were all sorts of wonders elsewhere in Spain – the Prado, the Alhambra, beautiful cities like Barcelona and Seville – but there was nothing for me on the beach.

I was adverse to beach holidays. The only things to do were eating and drinking. Even then, there were less options than you might think. The menus were arranged with the Brits in mind, so their were no Spanish options. It was mostly pie and chips. Likewise, the choices at the bar were limited and dull, mainly English bitters and some San Miguel, the local brew. It looked all right, but it’s taste confirmed that Spain was wine country, not beer country. There was a nasty metallic aftertaste from it.

So I spent most of my time on the beach under an umbrella, bored, pouring over a book. The children were never more than a few meters away and it was easy to reign them in if they got unruly. Still, I felt as if I were in a kind of straight jacket. I got silently annoyed at times, an anger borne of frustration. One of them fell one day and got a minor injury. I felt that he had got his just desserts and said so. My wife was not amused: “some father you are”, she said.

WRITEPROPER will improve everyone’s written English, no matter where you start from. The more you know about usage, grammar and style, the fewer mistakes you’ll make. The fewer mistakes, the better you’ll write. Why? Because knowledge is power: when you understand how language works, you become more sensitive to its possibilities. The result is that you’ll express yourself more simply and more clearly. You’ll get your message across. It’s all about effective communication.