Grammar Check - need answer fast

Dear Dope -
My kid’s first spelling list for the year came home today - and some of the English seems a little “blurry” - before I query the teacher, can you help me to confirm it’s wrong (and why)?

  1. His foot riled the accelerator (riled???)
  2. Tyres blazed the rough cement road (blazed???)
  3. Car went free-wheeling (free wheeling doesn’t seem to make sense in the context of an accident)
  4. Traffic came into an immediate standstill (shouldn’t it be “to”?)
  5. Wails of siren (doesn’t this need a preposition? - wail of sirens or wails of a siren?)
  1. is a typo.
  2. is , well, maybe coloful use of language
  3. is OK English, but medhanically improbable.
  4. is incorrect use of a preposition
  5. is OK.

British spelling of “tyres” suggests that all usages might be acceptable in British syntax, but all sound ridiculous in American usage. Like some teacher is lazily scabbing material from a British source.

I think the first thing that needs to be clarified is what country the OP is posting from…

No, they wouldn’t.

  1. No British English definition of “riled” sensibly describes the action of a foot upon an accelerator

  2. No BE definition of “blazed” sensibly describes the force of a tyre upon a concrete surface

  3. A car progressing sans the force of its engine would more likely be described as “coasting”. Bicycles freewheel.

  4. Agree with you

  5. Agree with you

Singapore - we use SBE / QBE

  1. Yes - gives “riled” as irk or annoy, I always took it to mean anger, in any case, it’s not something you do to an accelerator
  2. I could accept “freewheeled” as a way to describe “coast” - but a car certainly wouldn’t “coast” into an accident

Ok - I’m going to say something to teach…

Theoretically riled is correct, but it’s a very odd use of the word. Maybe in poetry?

This is correct. As in blaze a path.

You need a definite or indefinite article (or possessive or …) at the start. Free-wheeling is incorrect - the stem is freewheel per the Shorter OED - and is intransitive.

I think you are correct.

I too think it’s incorrect. Wails of a / the siren or wails of sirens seem better fits.

Go buy yourself a Shorter OED. And get yourself the book rather than the CD - it’s just more convenient.

Wherefore is this “book” or “CD” you speak of?
I only use online dictionaries these days…

For this “intransitive” I don’t understand…
All I know is that the passage the spelling is taken from is a story about a hit and run car accident - so freewheeling doesn’t make sense in either meaning or context

As to “blaze a trail” - this would be my first thought, failing that a blaze of colour / emotion / anger or similar.

Neither seem to fit when it talks about driving a car on a road…

One of my perennial bugbears about the teaching of composition writing in my kid’s school is that they get way too hung up on trying to use “good” words, when they have little understanding of the meanings - and all too often they use words in weird contexts.

Quickly. You need the answer quickly.

Native speaker of pretty much standard British English (RP).
Singaporean English is sometimes quirky, I’m not sure whether to treat it as a different dialect, but to me these sound like a non-native speaker making mistakes.

  1. Unintelligible, typo?
  2. Wrong meaning. First, a person blazes a trail, not an inanimate object. The literal meaning is to mark a new trail through a forest with “blazes” (cuts or paint marks) on the trees. The metaphorical meaning is to be a pioneer, to do be the first to do groundbreaking work.
  3. Probably wrong meaning for an accident, but needs more context
  4. Agree with you
  5. I would say “the wail of a siren” or “the wail of sirens”, both singular wail. “Wails” is not wrong, but sounds odd. Leaving out “a” is wrong for singular siren.

You’ve pretty much nailed it here - and I’m reluctant to call it out on two fronts -
Firstly “I never learnt me no grammar” at school - seriously, the only parts of grammar I can remember from my schooling are verb, noun and adjective. All else was about contextual reading, literary devices and such. So I don’t have the requisite knowledge to “argue good grammar”.

And secondly, I am a native speaker, but am a visitor here - if you’re familiar with Singaporean English then you’re likely familiar with the term AMDK - which is the last way I need to come across to my kid’s teacher.

It’s your decision how to deal with the politics, but I did not intend to undermine your certainty about what’s correct here - I’m totally confident that none of these are attributable to the Singaporean dialect - they are just mistakes.

‘Free-wheeling’ may be technically incorrect but I’ve heard it used for a car out of control before.

So does Bob Dylan.

The online American dictionaries I consult describe “freewheeling” as an adjective meaning loose or unrestrained (and with no reference to literal wheels).

Can’t wait to hear from th OP about his contact with the teacher.

It reminds me of a time in 7th grade. A student who was an enthusiastic skier turned in a paper that included this analogy: “the skis went through the powder like a knife through butter.” The teacher insisted that this was not a proper analogy and a class spent the rest of the hour discussing what was and wasn’t a proper analogy. And arguing for the knife through butter thing.

Back to the school: I hope you are looking for a new one.

No. To “blaze a trail (or path, if you prefer)” means to mark it in some fashion. It used to mean marking trees by cutting chips out of them (or blazing them) to mark a trail. It’s probably expanded to include any sort of trail markings. So by definition, tires could be considered to have ‘blazed’ a road, but it’s awkward usage and certainly not something I’ve read prior to this thread.

‘Blazing down the rough cement’ would be understandable figurative language, though a little incongruous. ‘Blazed the rough cement’ sounds like the tires are doing something to the cement, just doesn’t work.

'tis the proper name for the bicycle part that allows the rear wheel to rotate without the pedals turning though.

I’ve always assumed that was the etymology.

Correct, and if Thudlow Boink’s dictionary does not give the literal meaning, it’s just a poor dictionary - it’s certainly not a situation where the literal meaning is lost in the mists of time and only the metaphor remains. A freewheeling cyclist proceeds easily without the effort of turning the pedals, hence the metaphor for unrestrained, carefree etc.