Write On!, 0620 WYBJ, Vol. 43 No. 3. 52

AuthorJohn H. Ridge, J.D., Ph.D. Fort Collins, Colorado
PositionVol. 43 3 Pg. 52

Write On!

Vol. 43 No. 3 Pg. 52

Wyoming Bar Journal

June, 2020

Spot the Errors: A Writing Analysis, Part 2

John H. Ridge, J.D., Ph.D. Fort Collins, Colorado

The best way to improve our reading comprehension is to read. The best way to improve our writing is to write. And the best way to learn to spot and correct grammatical errors is to… you guessed it… spot and correct errors. This year we are practicing these skills through a series of articles containing exercises designed to help us improve in these two areas. This is the second article in the series.

Each of the examples below includes one or more grammatical or punctuation errors. Let’s see if we can spot the errors and correct them.


1. “Do you have any weapons or sharp objects in your brief case,” the security guard asked the lawyer as she entered the courthouse.

2. On cross-examination, the plaintiff ’s attorney asked me if I saw which car crossed the yellow line first?

3. Do you know where the defendant hid the gun.

4. You don’t know where the defendant hid the gun do you?

5. The judge’s clerk brought water for the witness and I.

6. After spending seven hours in the steamy conference room, the lawyer screamed at opposing counsel, “You could of told me that this deposition was going to take all day.”

7. The firm administrator received less than ten responses to the associate morale survey, which was insufficient to assist her in writing her report on the firm’s culture.

8. The young defendant arrived at the courthouse with his parents in a new suit and sunglasses.

9. The young defendant arrived at the courthouse carrying a tan woman’s umbrella.

10. The police officer arrested the driver, because she was under the influence of marijuana.

11. Speaking to the jury, the siren outside the courthouse window blocked out the sound of the judge’s voice.

12. Although Socrates’ trial was a sham, he obeyed the court’s ruling and drank the hemlock.


1. This is an example of a misplaced comma. The security guard was asking a question, so the comma needs to be replaced with a question mark.

2. This is an example of an indirect question. It is not asking a question, but stating what has been asked in the past. The sentence, therefore, should end in a period.

3. This is an example of an embedded question, which is a question that appears within the context of a longer sentence. The question usually...

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