14 Jeopardy! Grammar Questions That Would Stump Your English Teacher
Remember your English teacher whose wealth of knowledge seemingly stretched to the sky? We dove into the Jeopardy! archives to select grammar puzzles to mystify the master.
Are you a grammar nerd?
Of course, you remember your favorite English teacher, the wizard who waltzed you through Homer’s Illiad and Odyssey, deftly analyzed Keats’ “Ode to a Nightingale,” and imprinted the difference between stationery (paper) and stationary (bike) in your memory bank. Now is the perfect time to impress the instructor with the bandwidth of your knowledge of grammar, which admittedly can get pretty darn confusing.
In “Der Ring Des Nibelungen,” the -en ending indicates this grammatical case, also called the genitive.
Answer: What is the possessive? Kevin Moser, an attorney from Fort Wright, Kentucky possessed the correct answer in this episode that aired on December 18, 2012. German composer Richard Wagner created the German librettos himself. Try to guess the answers to these 14 Jeopardy! questions that even stumped the champs.
In the sentence, “Sailing is fun,” sailing is this, also called a verbal noun.
Answer: What is a gerund? Brian Moore, an astronomer from Houston won $6,000 in the DAILY DOUBLE on March 17, 2005, by naming this confusing form of English, often ending in ing. Do you know these dozen grammar rules that have changed in the last decade?
“Because good writing” is an example of what grammar.
Answer: What is a fragment? Tim Anderson, a Spanish professor from Rockford, Illinois knew the correct answer on the episode that aired on June 12, 2013. Fragments also refer to pieces that are broken off, detached, or incomplete. Can you answer these real Jeopardy! questions about words?
It’s the most commonly used punctuation mark.
Answer: What is the comma? Mark Wong, who was a senior from Los Angeles, California, knew this fun fact on the Teen Tournament semifinal game in February of 1988. A comma can also refer to nymphalid butterflies that have silvery comma-shaped marks underneath their hind wings. Brush up on your punctuation knowledge with these 12 little-known punctuation marks more people should be using.
Bryan Adams: “That’d change if she ever found out about you & I”: “I” should be in this grammatical case.
Answer: What is the objective case? Although they may have been Bryan Adams’ fans, none of the contestants on the episode that aired on October 13, 2014, knew the proper case. We’ll give Adams a pass—see how classic rock songs would have been ruined by proper grammar.
This punctuation mark is also known as an interrogation point.
Answer: What is a question mark? Peter Severson, who was then a senior high school student from Sioux Falls, South Dakota, knew the correct answer in the 2005 Teen Tournament semifinal game 2.
The longest word ever in a London Times crossword, 27 letters, was from his “Love’s Labor’s Lost.”
Answer: Who is William Shakespeare? John Heacock, a waiter and teacher from Monkton, Maryland knew William Shakespeare penned the word “honorificabilitudinitatibus” for Costard, the clown, in Love’s Labour’s Lost on the episode airing on October 18, 1988.
This pause in the middle of a line of poetry is from caedere, Latin for “to cut.”
Answer: What is caesura? Jason Zuffranieri, a math teacher from Albuquerque, New Mexico did not pause when he answered correctly on the July 22, 2019, show. The word is almost 450 years old. Can you name the people who made the most money on Jeopardy!?
A grammarian named Panini standardized this classical language of the Hindus.
Answer: What is Sanskrit? Linda Yonick, a pharmacist from Pittsburgh answered correctly on the episode airing December 9. 1991. Check out these 12 little-known punctuation marks more people should be using.
Absolutes shouldn’t be used in comparative forms, so the Constitution’s “A More” this kind of “Union” is wrong.
Answer: What is perfect? Karl Wallig, a property specialist from Salem, Oregon, answered the question perfectly on the show that aired on January 29, 1999. Surprisingly, that’s not the only grammar mistake in the U.S. Constitution.
This word for sentences like “You’ve grown another foot” comes from Latin for “to go around.”
Answer: What is ambiguous? The clue was a little bit ambiguous for the contestants on the show that aired on May 21, 1988, as none of the three contestants got the correct answer. Your English teacher will appreciate these 12 thesaurus jokes grammar nerds appreciate.
Essential info comes in a clause that’s relative as well as this adjective.
Answer: What is restrictive? The triple stumper aired on October 14, 2018. You can also tell your teacher you now know the truth about these 14 grammar myths she lied to you about.
In grammar, it’s the highest degree of comparison of adjectives & adverbs.
Answer: What is superlative? Paul Barbour, an aspiring producer from Baldwinsville, New York guessed correctly on the July 13, 2011, episode. Are you a grammar nerd? You will appreciate these iPhone keyboard tricks.
Your daily grammar lesson: we don’t not have an example of this 2-word syntactic construction in the clue.
Answer: What is a double negative? Michelle Hickman, a stay-at-home mom from Shoreline, Washington, was positive she knew the correct answer (and she did) on the show that aired on January 13, 2006. Next, brush up on the 41 little grammar rules to follow if you want to sound smarter.