The Grammar Goddess Guide to Punctuation Cathy Greenwood Cfgreenwd@aol.com Ruth Townsend Story ruthTstory@mindspring.com Visit the Grammar Goddesses at our website www.thegrammargoddesses.com
Punctuation: the stitching that holds the fabric of language together. A woman, without her man, is nothing. or A woman: without her, man is nothing. Charles the First walked and talked half an hour after his head was cut off. or Charles the First walked and talked. Half an hour after, his head was cut off.
Commas do make a difference 1.“In trouble? Contact John Jacob Jingleheimer & Smith today.” or? Contact John, Jacob, Jingleheimer, & Smith today. 2. Eats, Shoots and Leaves or? Eats Shots and Leaves 3. Asked about the Earth Lyndon Johnson a novice teacher applying for a job said he could teach it flat or he could teach it round.or Asked about the Earth, Lyndon Johnson, a novice teacher applying for a job, said he could teach it flat or he could teach it round. 4. Macbeth: “Go get him, surgeons!” or “Go, get him, surgeons.” 5.The students in Mrs. Pumpkin’s class who got A’s were very happy. Or The students in Mrs. Pumpkin’s class, who got A’s, were very happy. California white wines Wisconsin cheddar cheese The grande dames of Charleston
Commas con’t. 6.Leonora walked on her head, a little higher than usual. or Leonora walked on, her head a little higher than usual. 7.The driver managed to escape from the vehicle before it sank and swam to the river-bank. or The driver managed to escape from the vehicle, before it sank, and swam to the river-bank. 8. Don’t guess, use a timer or watch. or Don’t guess; use a timer, or watch. 9. The convict said the judge is mad. or The convict, said the judge, is mad.
Commas and Non-essential Clauses I’ve been married for 52 years to my beloved Jane, who was the girl next door. I really did marry the girl who lived next door. Noah decided to build an ark that would accommodate two of each creature on the earth. Noah’s wife said the idea was nutty, which it seemed to be, until the rains began. Miss Muffit sat on a tuffit, which sounds silly to me. Miss Muffit sat on the tuffit that had belonged to the spider that sat down beside her.
Commas or simi-colons in a series My Aunt Lois’s farm breakfast included orange juice, milk, biscuits and gravy, bacon or ham and eggs, apple pie and pecan pie, and gallons of hot coffee. For holiday gift catalogues check out White Flower Farm for the finest selection of amaryllis anywhere, but order early for guaranteed choices; L.L.Bean’s special Christmas catalogue for clothes, sporting equipment, and home items; and Wind and Weather for unusual gifts, such as weather instruments and garden ornaments, for the person who has everything.
The Apostrophe Make the Corrections 1.Salem Woman’s Club 2. We invited the Jones’, Walter’s, and Storys to the party. 3. Boy’s Room Girl’s Room 4. Giant Kid’s Playground 5. Thank God its Friday. 6. The FBI’s files contain information on CEOs and UFOs. It’s all on CDS.
Other apostrophe problems—can you spot them? 1. If his mother agrees to Jack’s climbing the beanstalk, I’ll send a camera crew right out. 2. Can you imagine Kennedy voting to confirm Roberts? (Kennedy’s) 3. Jonah refusing to go to Nineveh landed him in the belly of the whale. (Jonah’s) 4. Cleo hates that her guppies eat their babies. (Cleo hates her guppies’ eating their babies.) 5. I love Mrs. Pumpkin joking with us. (Pumpkin’s)
The Lobster and the Cat When the sleepy cat wandered into the kitchen, he walked right into a lobster! “Get out of my way, you furry feline,” demanded the big ugly creature. (cat) (lobster) (cat) (lobster)
The heated argument was suddenly interrupted by the sound of fast approaching footsteps. (cat) (lobster) (cat) Moral: Pride goeth before a boil.
The Lobster and the Cat When the sleepy cat wandered into the kitchen, he walked right into a lobster!” “Get out of my way, you furry feline,” demanded the big ugly creature. (cat) (lobster) (cat) (lobster) The heated argument was suddenly interrupted by the sound of fast approaching footsteps. (cat) (lobster) (cat) Moral: Pride goeth before a boil.