u_topn picture
Word Police by Barbara Wallraff
Atlantic Unbound Sidebar

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.

Structural Integrity
Inspection Service
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. "Washed, neatly pressed, and sharply creased, we donned our Word Police uniforms" is an example of

taking pride in one's appearance.
dangling participles.
preposition overload.

2. Which is correct?

"One of the things that often give the uninitiated trouble is a sentence like this."
"One of the things that often gives the uninitiated trouble is a sentence like this."
"One of the things that never give the uninitiated trouble are sentences like this."

3. Someone who feels badly

should call in sick, in order to be relieved of his or her Word Police duties that day.
should probably apologize to someone.
may be ungrammatical or may be wearing gloves.

4. "Word Police officers are interested in language, knowledgeable about it, and take the trouble to consider their words carefully" is an example of

a nonparallel series.
flattery and self-promotion on the part of this Web site.
both of the above.
neither of the above.

5. Which is correct?

"There is nothing peculiar about our wanting to be Word Police officers."
"There is nothing peculiar about us wanting to be Word Police officers."
"There is nothing peculiar about the wanting by us to be Word Police officers."


Back to introduction



Copyright © 2000 by The Atlantic Monthly Group. All rights reserved.
Cover Atlantic Unbound The Atlantic Monthly Post & Riposte Atlantic Store Search