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A functional impropriety is the use of a word as the wrong part of speech. The wrong meaning for a word can also be an impropriety. For example, in this sentence, the impropriety is "trying":

When writing papers, we trying to start early and revise often.

Correct version:

When writing papers, we try to start early and revise often.

Here is another example:

This tale works as initiative story about a young girl who grows into a more mature adolescent.

Correct version:

This tale works as an initiation story about a young girl who grows into a more mature adolescent.

To help you practice avoiding improprieties, complete the exercise below.

Mark improprieties in the following phrases and correct them. If you find none, write C for "correct" next to the phrase.

Example: (occupation) hazards — occupational

  1. reforming institution policies
  2. percent aging students by grades
  3. dead trees as inhabitants for birds
  4. an initiate story about a young girl
  5. a recurrence theme in literature
  6. a wood chisel
  7. a wood baseball bat
  8. a frivolity conversation on the weather
  9. a utopia hideaway of alpine villas
  10. a utilize room complete with workbench
  11. the unstable chemical compounds
  12. the unschooled labor force
  13. the vandals who rapined Rome
  14. an erupting volcano crevassing the hills
  15. criticism writing which is often abstract
  16. abstracted beyond understanding
  17. classified as an absorbent
  18. a handwriting letter
  19. banjoed their way to the top ten
  20. a meander stream
  21. hoboing across the country
  22. holidayed the time away
  23. the redirective coming from the officer
  24. grain-fed slaughter cattle
  25. ivy tendoned to the walls