“Bests” and a grammar quiz

Some readers were sure we’d made a typo in this headline:

grammar-bests

They thought we surely meant to write “beats” instead of “bests.” One reader wondered if “best” could be a verb. Indeed, a check of the dictionary finds that “best” can be an adjective, an adverb, a noun or a verb. Although “bests” might not be the best choice for a verb to mean that someone defeated another in a contest, I think the headline writer made the best of the situation here (“beats” would have had unsavory overtones when the subject of the verb is male and the object of the verb is female) and we’d best be moving on.

grammar-quizicon I have a new Triangle Grammar Guide quiz. Choose the better of two words (or the best of three in one case) in each of five sentences. Click here or on the question mark icon to begin.

This article was originally posted by the Raleigh News & Observer, a subsidiary of The McClatchy Co.; is posted here to provide continuity; and is copyright © 2011 The News & Observer Publishing Company, which reserves the right to remove this post.