Just in case any of you were under the impression that a wild-eyed descriptivist like myself was incapable of applying the silly-but-fun traditional Rules of Grammar, here’s my result from the quiz that’s making the rounds:

Grammar God!
You are a GRAMMAR GOD!

If your mission in life is not already to
preserve the English tongue, it should be.
Congratulations and thank you!

How grammatically sound are you?
brought to you by Quizilla

You’re welcome, but my mission in life is to wipe out everything you hold dear. En garde!


  1. I am, of course, also a God, but I split the infinitive and shunned “whom” and generally answered as myself.
    One theory is that it is clever (“smart”) enough to approve of more than one consistent set of choices; another is that my divinity transcends the petty details you Earth people are so extensively preoccupied with.

  2. James Noonan says

    Hurrah, a master of English! And only educated to the British minimum. I knew that reading this site every day was worth it. If only I could use my expertise to communicate I’d be in business, as it were.

  3. It’s a pity it doesn’t show the “correct” answers when you’re finished…

  4. The Prescriptivist Pantheon grows ever larger.
    Hey, now that we’re gods, can’t we just decree this kind of crap right out of existence? You have the power now, LH! Your mission can be realized!

  5. Mount Olympus fills up with yet more gods. Yowza.

  6. Something must be wrong in this Divine Universe – if I’m a God[ess] too.
    With my ocasional “hair” instead of “hare” (sorry, PF, that’s what I meant, dah)!

  7. Michael Farris says

    Verily, languagehat is the blog of the Gods! Greetings, fellow dieties! What say we go cause a few mudslides in Appalachia?

  8. Personally, I’d prefer it if you set off the mudslides elsewhere.
    How about DC as an alternative?

  9. A bit overdone – in Afghanistan, this morning: 6.6 on Richter scale…

  10. Michael Farris says

    Perhaps we should stick to the occasional appearance in a Mexican frying pan?

  11. Loved the quiz, especially since I got deified. (Important to me as an ESL teacher, a profession some of us with linguistics degrees have, but that was another topic.)
    Just want to share something with fellow posters. I once commented on the use of a double modal, thinking it was reserved for speakers of Black vernacular English or Ebonics. An example would be “she may can find the book” instead of the standard “she may be able to find the book.” Just this afternoon, I heard a Congressman who I know to be white and from the South, use this double modal.

  12. Bradford says

    Moi, je suis un dieu aussi; but some of the sample sentences were in such need of rewriting that what diff would an “error” make? Duke Ellington said of music, “If it sounds good, it is good.” Ditto.

  13. Not to impugn anyone’s deification, but I think the standards of godhood may be somewhat generous. I’m one too, and my reaction to most of the questions was “why would anyone say it like that?”
    If you’re a native speaker and you can’t figure out what word sounds right in a sentence, chances are the sentence should be led behind the barn and shot, in favour of a clearer sentence.
    I was fascinated by the shall/will crossover as a kid. For some reason I loved the idea that my own language had rules no one knew.

  14. Michael Farris says

    Toby, double modals are well-attested among whites in some parts of the South (most commonly ‘might could’). The CW is that the phenomenon originated in Scotland, where many white southerners trace their ancestory to.

  15. Yes — actually, I have never heard an AAVE speaker produce a double modal, but I hear white Southerners use them all the time. I just talked to my freshman composition class about double modals today (I was trying to convince them that they all speak dialects of English). All the native South Carolinian white students knew what I was talking about; everyone else just giggled.
    Sorry for the derail. Don’t anybody smite me, okay? I’m one of you.

  16. Has anyone taken this and NOT been deified?

  17. are me grammar happening those.
    Hey, I got it, I get to wear the pin, and now since I am omnipotent I shall decide for myself which rules are worthy of a deity. I easily saw through their “alright/all right” question, but for me the spellings have completely different connotations. The “all” in the correct version always makes me think that things are supposed to be completely right if one says, and that is not what I mean when I say my day was alright. So in my sphere of grammatical influence, now arbitrarily widened to 20 paces through the result of a random Internet quiz declaring my godhood, “alright” is alright by me.

  18. Has anyone taken this and NOT been deified?
    Yeah, me.
    This master cannot say “Suzie is much taller than he” without wincing.

  19. Damn…damn…damn…I get deified and in the above paragraph I meant to write “if one says that,” instead of “if one says,”.
    Now I shall have to leave somehow this company of gods, and found a grammatical pandæmonium. Or become the “trickster god” of some very strange class teaching ESL. A class where students have different cultural archetypes regularly attending in some form…

  20. Sigivald says

    I’m with stephen, exactly.
    “…taller than he”? I don’t think so.

  21. I’d never say it either, but I know how to answer tests — I learned at an early age never to be honest with the powerful. (Not that the people who made up this test have any power, but you know what I mean.)
    Toby: Plenty of people in my own family say “might could,” and I’ve been known to come out with it from time to time (usually when speaking with the Texan who shares my office).

  22. I am a God also, despite being forced to choose options which I would never use in real life.

  23. aldiboronti says

    Yep, apotheosis for me too. We’ll be outnumbering the Hindu pantheon soon.

  24. I didn’t say “taller than he”, either, since that isn’t grammatical in any language I speak. Am I really the only honest god here?
    False gods, prepare for your twilights!

  25. I did it a few times, with different answers for the really questionable ones. But I’m still a God.
    Maybe it’s not that prescriptivist.

  26. Or… maybe they give out godhood like Jehovah’s Witnesses handing out the Watchtower.
    *looks sadly at Certificate of Divinity, puts it at back of closet with high school graduation certificate, shelves plans to remake world*
    Ah well, at least Appalachia can rest easy.

  27. Michael Farris says

    Well if this be Goetterdaemmerung, then I guess there’s nothing left for languagehat to do but ride his faithful steed into the fire …

  28. ben wolfson says

    Hey, I’m a god too (though it took all my willpower to resist “had sneaken”.) Even if languagehat won’t, I’ll dedicate my life to preserving the distinction between “disinterested” and “uninterested”.

  29. “Taller than he”? I chose “taller than him”. Of course, I also refused to put punctuation marks within quotes unless they belong there.
    I still got deified, though. I’d really like to look at the scoring method.

  30. Do we get to choose which god/dess we are? I fancy myself as a kind of Minerva nodding sleepily away in my little corner of the world.

  31. I don’t think I take this test seriously either. I got “godhood” too and I can’t spell English worth a damn. I’m not sure I ever even studied English grammar formally, all my actual classroom study of language has been in other languages. I just picked the answer that seemed best, including splitting an infinitive.

  32. Me also gots grammar god.

  33. speedwell says

    God(dess) also.
    Oh, come on, we get points just for being language geeks who care enough about such things to take the silly test already 🙂

  34. a. I am a God.
    a. Uh, test? Wait a minute, what test?
    a. I didn’t take no stinkin’ test: I thought we were just doing introductions. “Me God. You?”
    (But seriously, come on folks, if you need an internet test to tell you whether you’re divine or not, well, that sounds just like the sort of scheme Satan likes to cook up…)

  35. woohoo! I am a Grammar Goddess 😉

  36. scarabaeus stercus says

    George Bernard Shaw was rite, Why don’t they.

  37. Now that I have been deified, I demand good sacrifices. And none of this hiding-the-bones-and-sinews-under-the-snow-white-fat-scraps crap either.
    Ha. I, too, know how to take tests to the extent that I can skew nearly any webquiz how I like. That alone should prove divinity….

  38. Tony Marmo says

    When people, who know traditional rules, try to correct you
    it may be stupid. But it is much worse when those, who
    are completely ignorant, want to ‘correct’ your English
    by imposing the forms that are ‘wrong’. That is by far
    much more irritating and absurd.
    I had seen a movie about Britney Spear’s life. I guess she is
    as American as her mother. But I noticed something odd.
    In a certain moment, her mother says: ‘we were poor’,
    [puar], like most Americans say it. Then, Brtiney Spears
    corrects her and say: ‘we were poor’ [pawr], which is almost
    the common standard British form [paw].
    In another movie I heard a man using the ‘correct’ case
    form in a sentence that had: ‘you and me’. And the other
    guy told him ‘it is “you and I”‘. And Mad Mag criticised
    pastors (together with the King James’ Bible)
    for saying things like ‘it is I…’, prescribing ‘it is me…’.
    By the way, most Brazilians get surprised when I tell
    them that the place Japan attacked in WWII is called ‘Pearl
    Harbour’ and not ‘Peer’. And some childrent want the others to pronounce ‘monkey’ as [mon kay] and laugh at [mankee].

  39. > Mount Olympus fills up with yet more gods.
    > Yowza.
    Is that where they make cameras, or just where they mount them?


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