You Gotta Avoid These Common Mistakes

This article is a little different from other "You Gotta Know" topics in that it consists of common mistakes that players make when answering questions and answers that are often confused.

  1. Mary Wollstonecraft and Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley Two different people; Mary Wollstonecraft (1759 - 1797, married name, Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin) is best known as an advocate of educational equality for women, particularly in A Vindication of the Rights of Woman (1792). She is the mother of Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley (1797 - 1851) who married the poet Percy Bysshe Shelley and is best known as the author of Frankenstein: or, the Modern Prometheus.

  2. "Bloody Mary" and Mary Queen of Scots Two different people; "Bloody Mary" is a (pejorative) nickname of Mary I Tudor, the queen of England who preceded Elizabeth I, so named for her persecution of Protestants. Mary Queen of Scots was Mary Stuart, who was the queen of Scotland during the first part of Elizabeth's reign.

  3. The Merchant of Venice The title character of The Merchant of Venice is not Shylock--who is a money-lender--but Antonio.

  4. Hudson Bay The large sea of eastern Canada is Hudson Bay (no apostrophe). The company named for it is the Hudson's Bay Company (with an apostrophe). Using the wrong form is sufficient for the answer to be counted wrong under NAQT rules.

  5. Saint Augustine Two different people; the earlier (354 - 430) served as the Bishop of Hippo and wrote Confessions and City of God The later (? - 604/605) founded the Christian church in southern England and was the first archbishop of Canterbury.

  6. Compound last names The last names of David Lloyd George, Andrew Lloyd Webber, Gabriel García Márquez, Ralph Vaughan Williams, and Ludwig Mies van der Rohe are "Lloyd George," "Lloyd Webber," "García Márquez," "Vaughan Williams," and "Mies van der Rohe" respectively. Starting with the 2002-2003 season players in NAQT events will be prompted if they give part of a compound last name, but this rule doesn't (necessarily) hold true at other quiz bowl tournaments.

  7. Invisible Man Invisible Man is a 1952 novel by Ralph Ellison about an unnamed African-American protagonist in search of personal identity. The Invisible Man is an 1897 novel by H. G. Wells about a man who has turned himself invisible but is slowly being driven insane. Under NAQT rules, players are usually allowed to drop leading articles or add them where they are missing (but not use incorrect ones)--but in this case (and others, for example, Shakespeare's The Winter's Tale and Helprin's Winter's Tale), it creates ambiguity and is wrong.

  8. Primates The scientific name for the order of primates is Primates [pree-MAY-teez], not Primata.

  9. John Adams Even though NAQT rules generally call for players to be prompted on partial names, an answer of "John Adams" will not be prompted if the correct answer is "John Quincy Adams." An answer of "Adams" will be prompted in either case.

  10. "Concerned" philosophical works David Hume wrote An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding, George Berkeley [BARK-lee] wrote Treatise Concerning the Principles of Human Knowledge, and John Locke wrote An Essay Concerning Human Understanding. These three philosophical works are often confused.

  11. The Russian Five The nationalist composers popularly known as "The Russian Five" or "The Mighty Handful" were César Cui, Aleksandr Borodin, Mily Balakirev, Modest Mussorgsky, and Nikolay Rimsky-Korsakov; in particular, they did not include Peter Ilich Tchaikovsky.

  12. Oliver Wendell Holmes Two different men; the father, Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr. (1809 - 1894) was a physician, poet, and humorist who wrote "Old Ironsides" and The Autocrat of the Breakfast Table. The son, Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. (1841 - 1935) was a justice of the Supreme Court known as "The Great Dissenter."

Back to the You Gotta Know homepage.