Adamu's shared items

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Former vs. formerly

A subtle grammar rule that I failed to notice recently:

The Vietnamese artist exhibiting her work in the United States reported that one of her artistic challenges had been the ________ widespread unavailability of paper and canvas in wartime, which she said often forced her to work on matchboxes and scraps of newsprint.

Fill in the blank:
(a) former
(b) formerly

And the answer is...

(b) former

You see, if it's "formerly" then the word "widespread" would be modified, when the word is supposed to modify the unavailability. And now you know!


Jade OC said...

But what if there is still a shortgage but not as big? In that case it was "formerly widespread" but not so widespread now.

(Got here from Mrs Adamu's link)

Adamu said...

yes but you have to select the BEST answer in a GMAT question and ... well you just wouldnt get it!

Jade Oc said...

GMAT? What is that?
And who decides "best" anyway? Surely any correct answer is okay?

Adamu said...

Tell it to the judge. GMAT = the standardized test to get into business school.