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Spot the Error

Note: This is a growing collection of short quizzes in English grammar. Our starting point is the so-called "NB questions" which have appeared over the years on examination papers at SDU-Odense University. To test yourself on these NB questions, click on the link (e.g. NB1).


NB1. The weekend staff had arrived and were amusing Marmaduke in the nursery above; only faintly you could hear his screams and theirs, and the occasional sickening impact.

NB2. It was a beautiful day, the leafs were turning, and they instantly spotted what they had missed before: a very big trunk hidden under the apple trees in the orchard.

NB3. If China should move on Indonesia's offshore Natuna gas fields (which lie within the boundaries of Beijing's claim), Australia's intelligence service may could come to Jakarta's aid.

NB4. We're ruled by two women who had leadership thrust on them - who know nothing of politics. None of them cares about the country, the country we all sang for when we became free.

NB5. Kenneth is the more young by a couple of decades but he is by far the more worldly, with his Parisian, UNESCO, Euroculture background.


NB6. Henriette Raes has a taste for good things in the life, but a strong aversion to paying for them.

NB7. In a harsh and bitter portrait, she depicts a man who lived entirely for himself and used other people solely for his own pleasure. The 19-year-old boy who had charmed her into marriage in 1928 grew never up.

NB8. In the bad years of military rule and economic nonsense Dhaka was not much more than a big provincial town, with a few cars other than army vehicles; the main form of transport was the motorized or pedal-driven trishaw.

NB9. Since the 1990s the suicide rate has jumped dramatically to an average of 59 per year. Last year 60 officers have killed themselves, a historic high. This year could be even worse.

NB10. The limitations in the occurence of wh-words (whether captured by constraints on transformations or otherwise) remains a central example of the sophisticated types of distributional restrictions that are at the core of Chomsky's thinking about language structure.


NB11. "I mean - that's life, " said the young man, "you can't argue with it. It's just one of them things." He paused, and without fully straightening his body leaned forward and spat through the open door into the street.

NB12. When adolescence came Enola did a terrible thing. Thereafter she kept a terrible secret. Enola had born a terrible child, a little boy called Little Boy.

NB13. In the last century the hypothetical substance known as aether has made a brief comeback as the all-pervasive medium through which light waves supposedly raced.

NB14. She came through at critical moments, begging food for the "Schindler Jews" from a rich neighbor and nursing the hundreds, who were shipped frozen and starving on cattle cars to Oskar's Czech factory in the winter of 1945.

NB15. China considers Taiwan a province ruled by a band of renegades and demand that Lee refrain from behaving like a head of state.


NB16. Everybody thought that Henry was more important than any other player in media and entertainment - more important even than headliners like Levin and Disney's Michael Eisner. But he was not the man whom he appeared to be.

NB17. Keith calmly pocketed his darts, stepped forward, and slammed me against a heap of packing cases. Our noses were almost touching again. "You don't never show no disrespect for the darts, okay?" he said.

NB18. Whatever his deficiencies as a suitor, Milan's manager does not lack persistence. Manchester United feel it is about time he accepted "no" as answer in his pursuit of Eric Cantona.

NB19. This alacrity has made Murdoch - the much-scorned, much-admired but, mainly, much-emulated media kingpin - the man to beat in an industry whose rules seem to be changing almost dailily.

NB20. From examining how galaxies ebb and flow relative to the general cosmic expansion additional evidence for large-scale cosmological behaviour comes.


NB21. This large-scale motion agrees fairly well - in both its speed and direction - with which was obtained earlier from the dipole variation in the cosmic background radiation.

NB22. Looking in certain directions deep into space, we can find great ensembles of hundred and even thousand of galaxies tightly packed into a relatively small corner of existence.

NB23. One night last week, when the temperature in Des Moines was 20 below zero, Buchanan's headquarter was packed with volunteers who firmly believed they were saving the lives of "the unborn" every time they picked up the phone.

NB24. That light came from the elemental feminine power: propagation. If Nicola had had that light, her power had approached the infinite.

NB25. Apparently, the large-scale foam-like structure is not at all static like styrofoam, nor it is expanding uniformly like sponge cake rising in the oven.


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