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Word Police by Barbara Wallraff
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Confused? Take a peek at a sample exam before you try your hand at the real thing.

Read about the new Word Police training manual, Word Court, by Word Police Commissioner Barbara Wallraff.

Join a conversation on Word Police and Word Court in Atlantic Unbound's reader forum, Post & Riposte.

Read recent Word Court columns from The Atlantic Monthly, and browse the Word Fugitives archive, in The Court Record.

Pronoun Patrol
Entrance Exam

Once you've answered all five questions, press the "Submit answers" button to have your responses scored. If you're not sure of the answer to any question, why not take your best guess? (No points are deducted for wrong answers.) You'll need to get at least four answers right to be allowed to proceed. On the next page, you will be asked a final question that you must answer correctly in order to pass the exam. (On that page, you will also find the answers to these five questions explained.)

1. Which is correct?

Pronoun Patrol officers who don't know subjects from objects are likely to make some pretty peculiar arrests.
Pronoun Patrol officers to who the difference between subjects and objects is unclear will rarely run into problems as a result.
Both of the above.
None of the above.

2. With reference to missing apostrophes, which is correct?

Word Police officers should file reports on them at the Lost & Found desk. The apostrophes owners may claim them between 1 and 5 p.m.
It's a problem that comes up surprisingly often.
Its not a problem that Word Police officers are likely to encounter.

3. Which is true of the following sentence?

"Barbara Wallraff and Word Court are an author and a book that may be of interest to the Pronoun Patrol."

It is a totally disinterested recommendation.
It demonstrates a neat use of the relative pronoun that to refer to both a person and a thing.
Both of the above.
None of the above.

4. When taking a suspect into custody, a Word Police officer should say:

"You're under arrest. I will now read you your rights."
"Your under arrest. I will now read you you're rights."
"Hey, you. My pals and me think your grammar wears army boots."

5. Which is correct?

If you are inducted into the Pronoun Patrol, you may start on the beat with the other officers and I tomorrow.
If you are inducted into the Pronoun Patrol, you may go out on the beat whenever any one else does.
If you are inducted into the Pronoun Patrol, you may start on the beat with the other officers and me whenever you like.


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