So you think you can speak English? Then try my fiendish test, and think again. The questions are in order of difficulty, and a link to the answers is at the bottom.
NB. No googling, you’d only be cheating yourself
1. How should the word ‘ghoti’ be pronounced?
2. What do the words ‘cleave’, ‘sanction’ and ‘fix’ have in common?
3. What is unusual about this conspiracy theory: ‘Neil A, NASA’s pet, steps as an alien’?
4. When the Americans built a missile, the Russians built an anti missile. So the Americans built a missile to counteract that missile, and the Russians built a missile to counteract the counteracting missile. This happened ten more times. What did the Russians end up with?
5. Correct the punctuation of this sentence:
Woman, without her man, is useless.
6. Correct the punctuation of this letter:
Dear Tony Blair,
I would like to compliment you. I can't stop thinking that you are one of the best Prime Ministers we have had. So many leaders go ahead and propose policies and then botch the job. We expect it. From you, in years to come, I know we will have better results.
7. Punctuate the following sentences so that they make sense:
a) She told her friends were pointless.
b) The horse rode past the barn fell.
c) Dogs dogs dogs bite bite bite.
d) Badgers badgers badgers badger badger badger badgers badgers badger.
8) Write a sentence with five consecutive uses of the word ‘and’ that makes grammatical sense.
9) Write a sentence with eleven consecutive uses of the word ‘had’ that makes grammatical sense.
For the feeble-minded, the answers are here.