Proofreading Contest

For my first content-laden post on my new weblog, I’d like to reel in all the sharp-eyed grammarians who visit my site. The following sentence has a subtle grammatical error. Can you identify it?

“Consider the value of kids developing their own internal mechanisms for recognizing when they’ve had enough.”

To be fair, the grammatical flaw is in fact so subtle that it has started slipping into normalized usage. Nevertheless, the rule still stands. Also, in the interest of full disclosure, Jess and I spent a good fifteen minutes discussing and diagramming until we finally had to pull out my advanced grammar textbook from college. Also, in the interest of a much more reluctant full disclosure, Jess noticed it, I challenged her, and she ended up being right.


17 comments so far

  1. chad on

    Jeff- you need to get a life…

  2. chad on

    wait…seeing that I actually read your blog and thought about the sentence at hand, I might be accused of needing to get a life as well – but ONLY if I actually provide an answer will you then be justified in telling me to also get a life. So, in order to avoid you telling me to get a life, I’ll avoid answering the question at hand, and stick with my original observation that you need to get a life…

  3. chad on

    but then again, the fact that I actually wrote as much as I did in the previous post may constitute the observation that I need to get a life as well. However, this, too, is only justifiable as an observation if I proceed to address the original question of your blog, which, as we may recall, gave rise to the original justifiable observation that you, Jeff, need to get a life. In fact, sir, without presenting further evidence to the contrary, I may have written on your blog as a result of “spilling-over” my abudant life into your lack of life in an attempt to direct your minutiae of life into its fulfillment – a “being as becomming” of a life-abundancy in its movement from potency to act.

  4. chad on


  5. derekryanbrown on

    Well done on finally converting to a much better platform for blogging—two eprops to you for doing so!

    Might the grammatical error be related to the usage of “their own?”

  6. jeffreimer on

    Good guess, Derek, but nope.

  7. Lucas Endicott on

    Well, I am no fancy grammarian but I have picked up a couple things regarding spelling over the years. On your “a/b” page you say that sometimes you take things way “to seriously.” For real though?

  8. jeffreimer on

    That was just me not taking myself too seriously. I guess you didn’t get the joke, so I fixed it. (ahem)

  9. Amber on

    Should there be a comma after the word ‘Consider’ as it seems it should be set apart from the remainder of the sentence.

  10. jeffreimer on

    Another good guess, but not what I am looking for.

  11. onthemarkwriting on

    Without reading any of the other comments, on my honor, Kids should have an apostrophe after the “s,” right? The word following is a “gerund” in form, and therefore the word before it must show possession.

  12. chad on

    the way I see it, Jeff, is that you really have no basis for even asking the question for which you are seeking an answer, and so to give an answer seems to be as nonsensical as the question originally posed. In your remarks, you admit that the so-called “flaw” has “slipped into normalized use.” But if it has indeed slipped into normalized use, then it is no longer a “flaw,” but instead reflects a particular movement in our use of the English language. Language is only as meaningful as its use, and therefore to claim a particular “normal use” is a “flaw” is to undermine the very nature of language. It seems, then, improper to presuppose a particular “rule” (as you state it), if indeed this “rule” is outdated. According to this logic, I should critique the sentence at hand with King James English! What keeps me from considering THAT use of English language as the “standard”? Why your college textbook, which, to be sure, is at least 5-10 years old?? And how can such a book, which is written and therefore static, keep up with the fluxuations of language? This is madness, sheer madness.

  13. jeffreimer on

    How perfectly post-Kantian of you, Chad.

  14. Dad on

    Should it be ‘…internal mechanism to recognize…’?

  15. chad on

    i figured you’d like that argument :).

    All the best in a priori cateogorical impertive land!!

  16. chad on

    (that’s the new spelling I’m introducing into the language)

  17. Dad on

    This is your Mom replying using Dad’s address, but I just now read the sentence for the first time (no comments) and honestly, the apostrophe after kids came to mind. :) But I have to admit that I read the comments before sending you mine. :( I have not had much access to the computer in the past week; therefore my late comment.

    BTW, good for Jess!

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