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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.

Details Detail
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.)

In each case, which sentence is correct?
Compared to other Word Police divisions and squads, the Details Detail may strike some people as finicky.
Compared with other Word Police divisions and squads, the Details Detail may strike some people as finicky.
Compared with other Word Police divisions and squads, the Details Detail may strike some people as more finicky.
It comprises officers who are familiar with a range of fine points.
It is comprised of officers who are familiar with a range of fine points.
Officers who are familiar with a range of fine points comprise it.
Details of language often impact the reception a person gets when speaking or writing.
Details of language often effect the reception a person gets when speaking or writing.
Details of language often affect the reception a person gets when speaking or writing.
People who do know the fine points deserve fulsome praise.
People who know the fine points do not want fulsome praise.
People who do not know the fine points deserve fulsome praise.
The fewer the people who know these fine points, the more finicky -- but also the more elite -- the Details Detail will come to seem.
The less people who know these fine points, the more finicky -- but also the more elite -- the Details Detail will come to seam.
The less people who know these fine points, the more finicky -- but also the more elite -- the Details Detail will come to seem.

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