Saturday, February 07, 2015

11 most common words

So, there's this quiz on Facebook. It's asking if we can identify the 11 most common English words. The format is to offer a definition or clue and then three choices.

The good news is they have the real 11 most common words. The bad news? The clues. Check this one out, for instance:

I don't know about you, but that sounds like "from", which is not one of the 11 most common. They want you to answer "of".

Or this one:

While "that" can be a pronoun, its presence on the list is mostly due to it's being a subordinator (as in sentences like "I think that this quiz is flawed."). And that "used to indicate a person, thing..." is a very odd way to explain a relative.

But those aren't the worst. This one is:

"A" is not a noun.  Neither are "I" and "it", for that matter. They are pronouns. "A" is an article, which is a determiner, or a special kind of adjective if you prefer. And "the first in a set" is totally ridiculous. It denotes something previously unspecified or which the listener/reader cannot be expected to identify.

Here are the answers, by the way (by the way, I hit the wrong button for "be" and it won't let you go back. I do know that "exist, occur, take place" aren't definitions of "so"!):

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At 11:04 AM, February 07, 2015 Anonymous Anonymous had this to say...

The "noun" and "first in a set" business sounds like it was taken from a definition not of the article a, but of the letter A. Of course, it's the article, not the letter, that's among the most common words, so it's still very misleading.

At 12:13 PM, February 07, 2015 Blogger The Ridger, FCD had this to say...

I think you've got it! That is what it sounds like - A vs B and C.

At 10:31 PM, February 07, 2015 Anonymous Kathie had this to say...

I wonder if the questions were written by someone lacking native proficiency in English. To wit:

Question 4: "'s used FOR [my emphasis] indicate..."

Both Questions 6 (as you note) and 11 define their sought word in terms of less-common usage.

And now you know yet another reason I'm not on Facebook, and have no plan to join.


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