One of the things you should be doing this summer if you want to improve your critical reading skills is making sure to read some sophisticated writing (newspapers, magazines, books) every day. You should be doing your best to understand the arguments made (if possible, by discussing what you read with others), and you should be making flashcards for words you don’t know.
You should also keep your eyes peeled for the occasional grammar error. Why? Because once in a while, even in sophisticated writing, you’ll find one. And if you do, I’ll give you a Math Guide. Yeah, seriously.
- To submit a grammar error, leave a comment in this post with a link and an explanation of the error.
- I want real, SAT-tested grammar errors, not just writing style you don’t like. If the SAT doesn’t test it, it doesn’t count. I’m looking for stuff like:
- Wikipedia doesn’t count. Neither does your own blog, or your friend’s blog. Message boards are so far from counting it’s not even funny. I could do another contest about finding 10 posts in a row on a message board with flawless grammar. That one might actually be harder.
- Spelling errors and obvious typographical errors, while fun to point out, don’t count for this contest. I know I’ve accepted a few since this contest began, but the SAT doesn’t test spelling errors, or even hold your own against you in the essay.
- Newspapers and Magazines definitely DO count. So do books, but you’re going to have to find a way to link to them. Maybe you snap a picture of the error and the book cover and submit the images?
- If your submission contains bad grammar in dialog because that’s how a character speaks, “that don’t count.”
- Anything that doesn’t fit the above descriptions can also be submitted, but whether it counts will be at my discretion. For example, if you show me a short story on McSweeney’s that contains a run-on that seems to me like it was done on purpose for stylistic reasons, that doesn’t count. But if that same story contained a dangling modifier, it’d count.
- Once an error has been submitted, it can’t be submitted again. Neither can a reprint of it. (For example, AP stories end up in a bunch of different newspapers, but once the story’s been submitted from one paper’s sites, that same story can’t be resubmitted from another paper’s site.)
- If you win once, you can’t win again.
- If you’re not in the US, you can win but you have to pay for shipping.
- Contest ends August 31, 2012.
UPDATE: This was emailed to me instead of left in the comments, but I wanted to add it to the post as an illustration of what I’m looking for.
From the New York Times: Lana Peters, Stalin’s Daughter, Dies at 85, 6th paragraph:
“Long after fleeing her homeland, she seemed to be still searching for something — sampling religions, from Hinduism to Christian Science, falling in love and constantly moving. Her defection took her from India, through Europe, to the United States. After moving back to Moscow in 1984, and from there to Soviet Georgia, friends told of her going again to America, then to England, then to France, then back to America, then to England again, and on and on. All the while she faded from the public eye.”
That’s a dangling modifier, folks. Her friends didn’t move back to Moscow and then to Soviet Georgia. Nice work to the anonymous reader who sent that one in.