Second Somewhat Bi- oh wait Semi- no it’s Biennial Grammar Challenge! | HTMLGIANT



This is for fun.

This is a contest. It is taken from a homework assignment in David Foster Wallace’s Extremely Advanced Composition class at Pomona College. It was a creative nonfiction workshop.

The contest is, correct these sentences for what Wallace, at least, perceived as errors in mechanics, grammar, punctuation, syntax, idiom, and/or usage. You get a point every time you are the first person to correct an error in comments (by rewriting the sentence correctly), but I’m going to wait to get lots of answers in to reveal the answers, so don’t hesitate to tackle a sentence that someone else has already tried. You may make multiple guesses on the same sentence, and you can guess out of order. Some sentences may have more than one error. One point per error. Prize TBA.

Some of these are pretty basic. Some are very obscure and speak to Wallace’s particular peeves, some of which I don’t share. The point is to figure out what he thought was wrong with these. No use arguing with a dead man.

And I quote:

English 183D 10 March 2004

” . . . every such phrase anesthetizes a portion of one’s brain.”–G. Orwell

(1) It was the yuletide season like I had never seen it before.

(2) We were in Innsbruck, Austria and we could not find a place to stay the night.

(3) We passed by the inn.

(4) It has made its way into the mainstream of verbal discourse.

(5) Cross burning began in medieval times on the green hills of Scotland, where clans used them to rally their kin and kith against enemies.

(6) “Get used to it.” I said to myself.

(7) As the president is a Christian, he prays every morning.

(8) I can support this claim with quotes from several published sources.

(9) It consisted of only two brief 50-minute workshops which one speaker enticingly described as “therapy session sized.”

(10) How else can we explain such an abomination of human nature to occur?

(11) Bekavac also quoted Jeannette Rankin, which the Internet tells me was the first female representative to Congress.

(12) There were less than a hundred students at the rally.

(13) People often say that Freud’s theories are about nothing but sex. They are generally correct.

(14) Timothy McVeigh might be a leader and he has stepped over lines where only a minority of anti-government agitators will follow.

(15) The U.S., Canada, and Mexico comprise North America.

(16) The Dean of Students at Harvey Mudd had the burned cross thrown in a dumpster without notifying its original owner and it looked suspicious.

(17) His name was left off of the list.

(18) Drug-induced or not, he’s very inarticulate.

(19) A person should be honest about their desires.

(20) Most people are adverse to cannibalism.

(21) I must follow those that I lead.

(22) There was fog outside of our car.

(23) If one acts, you are a leader.

Second Somewhat Bi- oh wait Semi- no it’s Biennial Grammar Challenge! | HTMLGIANT.

The Orwell Prize (Long List)



The Orwell Prize Long List has been announced…

Bingham, Tom The Rule of Law (Allen Lane)

Bullough, Oliver Let Our Fame Be Great: Journeys Among the Defiant People of the Caucasus (Penguin)

Butcher, Tim Chasing the Devil: The Search for Africa’s Fighting Spirit (Chatto & Windus)

Chang, Ha-Joon 23 Things They Don’t Tell You About Capitalism (Penguin)

De Waal, Edmund The Hare With Amber Eyes: A Hidden Inheritance (Chatto & Windus)

Dunmore, Helen The Betrayal (Fig Tree)

Hall, John A. Ernest Gellner (Verso)

Hatherley, Owen A Guide to the New Ruins of Great Britain (Verso)

Hitchens, Christopher Hitch-22 (Atlantic Books)

Malik, Zaiba We Are a Muslim, Please (William Heinemann)

Moqadam, Afsaneh Death to the Dictator! (The Bodley Head)

Morris, Ian Why the West Rules for Now (Profile)

Mullin, Chris Decline and Fall (Profile)

O’Toole, Fintan Enough is Enough (Faber)

Richards, Steve Whatever It Takes: The Real Story of Gordon Brown and New Labour (Fourth Estate)

Spufford, Francis Red Plenty (Faber)

Thorpe, D. R. Supermac: The Life of Harold MacMillan (Chatto & Windus)

Walter, Natasha Living Dolls (Virago)

Long Lists | The Orwell Prize.

2011 Best Translated Book Award Finalists Announced



The shortlist comprises ten books, and six languages are represented:

  • The Literary Conference by César Aira, translated from the Spanish by Katherine Silver
  • The Golden Age by Michal Ajvaz, translated from the Czech by Andrew Oakland
  • A Life on Paper by Georges-Olivier Châteaureynaud, translated from the French by Edward Gauvin
  • The Jokers by Albert Cossery, translated from the French by Anna Moschovakis
  • Visitation by Jenny Erpenbeck, translated from the German by Susan Bernofsky
  • Hocus Bogus by Romain Gary writing as Émile Ajar, translated from the French by David Bellos
  • The True Deceiver by Tove Jansson, translated from the Swedish by Thomas Teal
  • On Elegance While Sleeping by Emilio Lascano Tegui, translated from the Spanish by Idra Novey
  • Agaat by Marlene Van Niekerk, translated from the Afrikaans by Michiel Heyns
  • Georg Letham: Physician and Murderer by Ernst Weiss, translated from the German by Joel Rotenberg

via The Millions : 2011 Best Translated Book Award Finalists Announced.