It seemed innocent enough.
My daily email from the New York Times contained the following line:
How well can you spot grammatical errors from The Times? Take our quiz.
So with a great deal of hubris, I clicked on the link, fully expecting to get 100% and a follow-up email asking if I was interested in a part-time job as a copy editor.
It started off as expected; I got the first three correct on my first attempt, but then it went quickly downhill after that. At some point, it started to bring back memories of the SAT test.
I vaguely recall similar questions on the SAT, where you had to find out what the grammar errors were in a variety of passages. I didn’t do well on those sort of questions, but I think over the years my understanding of grammar has improved, hopefully beyond what I knew my senior year of high school.
By the time I finished the quiz, my final score was 28; the average score is 24. My percentile rank was in the top 32%.
But even more disappointing than my score was the fact that there was no email from the Times editors recruiting me for their (its?) grammar checking team.
Plus now I need to rethink a few things. Am I qualified to provide feedback on student assignments with respect to content and grammar of their papers? Have I been providing bad advice for the past 30 years?
Is everyone who (whom?) reads my blog laughing out loud at my bad (poor?) grammar?
Perhaps instead of taking math classes it looks like I should be taking a course in basic reading and writing. And who knows, maybe some day I could get a job – copy editing my own blog…
By the way, if you’re interested in trying the quiz yourself, here is the link.