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Betsy Grammar Test.png
I preach The Gospel of Writing in Complete Sentences. I say,
“We do not
speak grammatically; if
you cannot
see correct grammar, your writing will make you seem
ignorant.”

Each of these sentences has an error.
Make your corrections on the test sheet.

1. After the game had ended in a scoreless tie.

The classroom is square and cold.
I turn on all the lights,
so that it will not also be dark.

2. Which is why I never like to drive in the city.

People riding bikes is why I never like to drive in the city.
The game had ended in a scoreless tie.

3. Another student sleeping in my class.

Another student slept in my class.
This is why I never like to drive in the city.

The Grammar Book is orange, a rectangle,
and solid; it holds all the wealth the English language
has to offer.

4. Running and kayaking is what I like to do most.

I like running and kayaking the most.
City traffic is horrible; which is why I never like to drive in the city.
Another student, sleeping in my class.
After the game had ended, both teams ended up in a scoreless tie.

Nut-brown Nikki, you are a puzzle.
Are you 18?
28?
You live behind a veil,
otherworldly,
near a corner, you say, where drug dealers do business.

5. Things that go bump in the night.

Things that go bump in the night make you wonder.
Mostly, I like running and kayaking.
That is why I never like to drive in the city.
Which is why I never like to drive in the city.
I felt something bump the bottom of my kayak and then I saw the alligator swim by.

You strut into the classroom with your girls,
and call out, “Hey, Boo,”
to the class.

6. I felt something bump the bottom of my kayak, then I saw the alligator swim by.

I felt something bump the bottom of my kayak and then I saw the alligator swim by.
Another student is sleeping in class.
Then I saw the alligator swim by.
Mostly, I like running and kayaking.
Things that go bump in the night, is a children’s book.

Nikki, you are Alice in Wonderland,
if Alice is a skinny black chick.
You press cheeks with your hands when you see your score, 24,
and you say,
“I feel like the walls are closing in, and
the box is getting smaller.”
You worry me.

7. We were not at home last night, therefore we did not know that you had called.

Therefore, we did not know that you had called.
Since we were not at home last night, we didn’t know you called.
Which is why I never drive in the city.
Another student, sleeping in my class.
That is why we didn’t know you had called.
Then I saw the alligator swim by.

Miz Kalman, you upset with us?
She upset?
You fail the grammar test?

Everybody fail the grammar test.
She upset.

8. Before the sun sets at night.

Before the sun sets at night, we lay in the grass.
Therefore, we did not know that you had called.
That is why we didn’t know you had called.
Which is why I never like to drive in the city.
I have to be in the house, before the sun sets.
Another student slept in my class.
Then I saw the alligator swim by.
In the night, things bump.

She upset?
She upset.

To me—softly—you say,
“How you, Boo?  You doin’ OK?”
Nikki, you is as old as Phoenix, just before she bust into flames.

Before the sun sets at night, the stars come out.
The game had ended in a scoreless tie.

Elizabeth Kalman is the great-great-great granddaughter of a Cherokee Indian maiden picked up by a wagon train on its way from the Trail of Tears in Texas to the Kentucky coal fields. Her great-great grandfather was one of the first merchants to bring silk worms to the U.S.  He kept a detailed hand-written journal that Elizabeth recently transcribed and is in the process of editing. She frequently wishes she could have accompanied Henry David Thoreau on his excursions to Cape Cod.  She grew up on Nantucket Island and is now an adjunct English instructor at Trident Technical College in Charleston, South Carolina, with an MFA from Seattle Pacific University.

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