What does your haircut say about your love life? Can your shoe size predict your future? Who were you in a past life – pick a celebrity photo and see! We’ve all succumbed at one time or another. In fact, I’ve been delving into them a lot recently. I’m not talking about the tests favored by Facebook and other social media sites. I’m referring to online grammar quizzes.
Did I hear a groan? Stay with me.
I just finished a wonderful book on punctuation — Making a Point: The Persnickety Story of English Punctuation By David Crystal. Professor Crystal’s book is humorous and filled with fascinating trivia. (Did you know bullet points were actually called dingbats?) Yet, while being entertained by David Crystal’s very British sense of humor, I became aware of how much I didn’t know that I thought I knew. I flew to the web to discover the extent of my failings.
Online quizzes have not only helped me identify weaknesses in my grammar database, they have made me more aware of these hazards while writing. They are particularly useful for those enamored with certain flirtatious punctuation marks. (Semi-colon lovers, you know who you are!) Quizzes demonstrate how and when these characters are to be used. You may “desire” to insert them as your heart dictates but test yourself before becoming overly involved. They are a fickle bunch.
Most quizzes don’t take long, usually a few minutes, and are available for all levels of expertise. I like to think of my participation in online quizzes as class time. My own little ‘Not-Quite Masters of Fine Arts’ program.
So when you see a personality quiz on your chosen social site let it remind you that there are quizzes out there that can hone your craft, not just waste your time. You can ‘share’ what you learn all you want through your writing.