Your results seem high—I'm well-educated and well-read, and I'm pretty sure my vocabulary is in a higher percentile that the results you've listed!
You're probably right. The percentiles listed so far are of the people who have taken the quiz, not of the population as a whole. And their average self-reported verbal SAT score, so far, is around 700 (out of a perfect 800 score). Compare that to the average US population score of around 500, and it's clear that our test-takers are far more literate than average.
There has been a long prescriptive tradition of condemning preposition stranding as grammatically incorrect. Stranded prepositions often, but by no means always, occur at the end of a sentence, and the prescriptive rule is best known in the formulation: 'It is incorrect to end a sentence with a presposition.' The rule is so familiar as to be the butt of jokes, and is widely recognised as completely at variance with actual usage. The construction ahs been used for centuries by the finest writers. Everyone who listens to Standard English hears examples of it every day.
Instead of being dismissed as unsupported foolishness, the unwarranted rule against stranding was repeated in prestigious grammars towards the end of the eighteenth century, and the from the nineteenth century on it was widely taught in schools. The result is that older people with traditional educations and outlooks still tend to believe that stranding is always some kind of mistake. It is not. All modern usage manuals, even the sternest and stuffiest, agree with descriptive and theoretical linguists on this: it would an absurdity to hold that someone who says What are you looking at? or What are you talking about? or Put this back where you got it from is not using English in a correct and normal way.
Nixy: And I've always hated pule
weapons-grade pandemonium: Which begs the question: What about words we can define but can't use in a sentence
Big vocabulary = Big dic...tionary
yellowcandy: I'm not calling anyone a cheater, but it sounds from their description as if the test has a maximum score of 45,000
Anyone else nerdy enough to have jotted down all the ones you didn't know and then go hammer them into your brain for eternity?
No cognates or false-friends with Portuguese. This probably knocks out at least half the dictionary, since Romance languages have plenty in common with English. False friends need to be avoided as well, since a Brazilian beginner will see "pretend" and assume he knows it means pretender, which actually means "intend." Interestingly, the no-Portuguese rule leaves the test with a strongly pronounced short Anglo-Saxon flavor.
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