Grammar 911

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Here’s how Grammar 911 works:

  1. Click here and submit a question related to writing, grammar, or English language usage.
  2. The writing specialists at the Student Academic Hub will review your question and email you an answer promptly. (We aim to respond to all students within 24 hours of their requests, Monday through Friday.)

It’s as easy as that!

Can’t wait for a response?

Check out our “S.O.S. Topics” page, which has tips for avoiding some of the most common errors students make. Your question might be covered there!

Want to schedule a one-on-one writing consultation?

All Marymount students can schedule writing consultation appointments with peer tutors using TutorTrac. Click here for more information about how to access TutorTrac and make an appointment.


Grammar 911 examples

Just for fun, here are some lighthearted examples of Grammar 911 questions and answers. We hope these make you smile and spark some ideas for how you might use Grammar 911!

Grammar 911

Dear Grammar 911, English is not my mother tongue, so I am unsure of the meaning of a “light bulb” moment. Could you please tell me what this idiom means? Thank you!

G911’s Response: Hello, I would be happy to provide you with an answer. A light bulb moment is a point at which you suddenly realize something or have a great idea.

For example: It was a light bulb moment for me when I realized the best way to develop a thesis statement.



Grammar 911

Dear Grammar 911, My roommate and I argued over the Beyoncé song, “If I Were a Boy” yesterday. I told her that Beyoncé uses good grammar in this song. But my roommate said that Beyoncé should have said, “If I was a boy.” Who is correct?

G911’s Response: Hi, Thanks for your question. You are correct on Beyoncé’s grammar in “If I Were a Boy.” She is using the subjunctive mood. It is a tricky grammatical structure that is typically used in dependent clauses that express a statement contrary to fact. (“Contrary to fact” simply means not true.)

For example: The girl said that if she were a boy, she would want to play for the Washington Capitals.

Here is what is very strange about the subjunctive mood: “she” is usually conjugated with “was” and not “were.” However, a girl is speaking, so the clause “if she were a boy” is a statement or condition that is counterfactual, so the subjective structure is applied.


Grammar 911

Hello Grammar 911, This is not exactly a grammar question, but I hope you can answer it. Shouldn’t the plural form of potato be “potatos” since the singular form is spelled p-o-t-a-t-o? My spell check says that “potatos” is incorrect.

G911’s Response: Hi, I can answer this question for you. Your spell check is correct. The spelling rule for pluralizing nouns that end in a consonant and “o” is simple. You just need to add “es” to the end of the word.


For example:

Singular: Potato     Plural: Potatoes

Singular: Tomato     Plural: Tomatoes

Singular: Hero    Plural: Heroes

Sample sentence: Forest Gump’s heroes have always been shrimp boat captains.


Grammar 911

Dear Grammar 911, I am curious. What is the longest word in English?

G911’s Response: Greetings “Curious,” Many people believe that Mary Poppins’ “supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” is the longest word in the English language. However, it is “pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis” that holds the title of the longest English word. It is the name of a lung disease.



Ready to submit your own question to Grammar 911? Click here!