42. Errors in Word Order

Most word-order errors in Written Expression consist of two words in reverse order. Some of the most common examples of this type of error are given below:

ErrorExampleCorrection
Noun + adjectivedrivers carefulcareful drivers
Noun + possessiveclothing women’swomen’s clothing
Main verb + auxiliaryfinished areare finished
Adjective + adverba basic extremely ideaan extremely basic idea
Verb + subjectTell me where is it.Tell me where it is.
(in an indirect question or other wh- clause)I spoke to John when was he here.I spoke to John when he was here.
Preposition/adverb clause marker + adverbafter immediatelyimmediately after
Participle + adverbbaked freshly breadfreshly baked bread
Relative pronoun + prepositionthe house which in she livesthe house in which she lives
adverb, adjective, or quantifier + almosttotally almost
late almost
all almost
almost totally
almost late
almost all
enough + adjective*enough goodgood enough

*Enough can correctly be used before nouns: enough money, enough time. Enough may also be used before an adjective when the adjective comes before a noun. (There weren’t enough good seats at the concert.)

Sample Items

Goods (A) such as flower fresh (B) and seafood (C) are often shipped (D) by air.

(A) Goods
(B) flower fresh
(C) seafood
(D) often shipped

The answer is (B) because the adjective fresh must come before the noun flowersfresh flowers.

Visitors to Vancouver often comment (A) on how beautiful (B) its setting is (C) and on how clean is it (D).

(A) often comment
(B) how beautiful
(C) setting is
(D) is it

The answer is (D) because the correct word order is subject + verb: it is.

Exercise 42.1

Exercise 42.2

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