Grammar and Usage
In the following sentences, four parts of each sentence are underlined. If you think any one of the underlined parts is incorrect, choose the letter under that part as your answer. If you think the sentence is correct as written, choose (E) as your answer. Please note: read together, all of the sentences in this section make up a story.
1. Barack Hussein Obama II was born on August 4 1961. No Error.
A: “August 4, 1961” The comma (,) is missing.
2. president Obama is the 44th and current leader of the United States. No Error.
A: President must be capitalized. PRESIDENT is capitalized when the word comes immediately before a person’s name (ex: “President Barak Obama” or “President Kennedy”). Also, you always capitalize the first word in a sentence—no matter what!
A: AMERICAN must be capitalized. It is a proper noun. A noun is a person, place, or thing. A proper noun is a noun that refers to a unique entity. A proper noun is more specific than a noun.
4. Born in Honolulu Hawaii, Obama is a graduate of Columbia University and Harvard Law School. No Error.
A: Comma (,) is missing between Honolulu and Hawaii. Always place a comma between a city and a state (ex: “I live in New York, New York” or “I live in Forest Hills, Queens”)
5. Obama were president of the Harvard Law Review. No Error.
A: Obama WAS not WERE; one WAS but many WERE, Use WAS for singular but use WERE for plural.
A: No need to capitalize LAW DEGREE because it is not a proper noun. You capitalize “Bachelor of Science” or “Bachelor of Arts,” but you do not capitalize “law degree.” You do capitalize the name of a law school. For example, “Frances Kweller received her law degree from Hofstra Law School and her Bachelor of Science from New York University’s Steinhardt School of Education.” You do not need to capitalize something like this: “Frances Kweller went to college and to law school.” Here, there are no proper nouns and you are neither referring to a specific college nor a specific law school.
7. He worked as a civil rights attorney in Chicago and taught constitutional law at the University of Chicago law school from 1992 to 2004. No Error.
A: “Law School” here must be capitalized. Always capitalize a city or state or specific name of a person, place, or thing. For example, “Columbia Law School” is capitalized because it is the specific name of a law school.
8. He served three terms, representing the 13th District in the Illinois Senate from 1997 to 2004, running unsuccessful for the United States House of Representatives in 2000. No Error.
A: UNSUCCESSFULLY. Adverbs modify adjectives, verbs, and other adverbs. If an adverb answers how and can have an -ly attached to it, place it there. Ex: She runs quickly, speaks softly, and dances gracefully. Don’t drive safe—drive safely!
9. In 2004, Obama recieved national attention during his campaign to represent Illinois in the United States Senate with his victory in the March Democratic Party Primary. No Error.
A: Received is spelled incorrectly. Remember to always place an “i” before an “e” except after “c”.
10. Obamas keynote address was held at the Democratic National Convention in July and his election to the Senate took place the following November. No Error.
A: “Obamas” is wrong here. There is only one person here (Obama) so you need to say “Obama’s” to show possession. Use the apostrophe to show possession. Place the apostrophe before the s to show singular possession.
11. He began his presidential campaign in 2007, and in 2008, after a close primary campaign between Hillary Rodham Clinton, he won sufficient delegates in the Democratic Party primaries to receive the presidential nomination. No Error.
A: You run AGAINST someone, not between someone. You campaign AGAINST someone, not between someone. Conversely, you are partners WITH someone, not AGAINST someone. Here, the primary campaign was against Hillary Clinton, not between her.
12. Than, he defeated Republican nominee John McCain in the general election, and was inaugurated as president on January 20, 2009. No Error.
A: THAN is wrong here. THAN is used for comparison while THEN is used for time sequence. For example, “First THEN second,” “greater than”. THAN = COMPARE but THEN = TIME
Also, you use THEN when you refer to something that happened in the past or WILL happen in the future. Remember, use THEN when referring to time sequence ONLY.
13. Nine months after his election, Obama was named the 2009 nobel peace prize laureate. No Error.
A: Nobel Peace Prize is a proper noun and it must start with a CAPITAL letter.
14. During his first two years in office Obama signed into law economic stimulus legislation in response to the Great Recession in the form of the American Recovery Act. No Error.
A: You need a comma after “office” and before “Obama” because it is separating two clauses. You use the word DURING in this sentence because it is explaining that Obama singed these legislations into laws. To avoid confusion, use commas to separate words and word groups with a series of three or more. Use a comma to separate two adjectives when the word and can be inserted between them. Use a comma when an -ly adjective is used with other adjectives (ex: He was a happy, healthy boy).
15. Obama also sign the Reinvestment Act of 2009, and the Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization, and Job Creation Act of 2010. No Error.
A: SIGN is wrong here. Obama signed this in the past. Use the past tense of “sign”
16. Other major domestic initiatives in his first term included the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, often referred to as "Obamacare," the Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and the Consumer Protection Act, and the Don't Ask, Don't Tell Repeal Act of 2010. No Error.
A: a colon (:) is missing here. A colon generally is used to indicate that a list of three or more will follow. A colon (:) is used before a list or an explanation that is preceded by a clause that can stand by itself. Think of the colon as a gate, inviting you to go in. Colons are also used to separate titles and subtitles (Barak Obama: The Audacity of Hope)
17. In foreign policy, Obama ended United States military involvement in the Iraq War, increased troop levels in Afghanistan, signed the New START Arms Control Treaty with Russia, order U.S. military involvement in Libya, and commanded the military operation that resulted in the death of Osama bin Laden. No Error.
A: Obama ORDERED not ORDER. He did this in the past.
18. In November, 2010, the Republicans regained control of the House of Representatives. No Error.
A: You do not need a comma after “November” and before “2010”. You need a comma when you have a specific date (“November 16, 2010”).
19. Then, Obama signed the Budget Control Act Of 2011 and the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012. No Error.
A: You do not need to capitalize “of.” In a title, always capitalize the first and last word. Capitalize the verbs, adverbs, nouns, pronouns and adjectives. You do not need to capitalize articles (the, a, an) unless the article is the very first word in the title.
20. Obama was re-elected United States President in November 2012, defeating Republican nominee Mitt Romney, and was sworn in for a second term on January 20, 2013. No Error.
A: No Error.