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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.

Division of Sex and Gender Crimes
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?

A Word Police officer should wear their uniform whenever they're on duty.
Every Word Police officer should wear his uniform at all times.
Word Police officers don't have uniforms!

2. If the words gender and sex are being used in the traditional way, which of the following is correct?

A French noun has a gender, and a Word Police officer has a sex.
A Word Police officer has a gender, and a French noun has a sex.
French nouns have sex and gender, and so do Word Police officers.

3. A person who wants to write the Word Police Commissioner a letter but doesn't know the commissioner by name will do best to use which of the following salutations?

Dear Sir
To Whom It May Concern
Yo!

4. "Woman" and "women" are often used as adjectives, though "man" and "men" are not. Which sentence represents an acceptable example of such a use?

There are lots of women Word Police officers on the force.
Britney Spears is a woman.
If Britney Spears were a woman Word Police officer, it might help our recruitment drive.

5. Which term is the most appropriate one to use when referring to a member of the Word Police Force?

A police person
A police officer
A police


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