English Grammar

See to punctuate properly.

In English punctation seems to be the least of one's worries. However if you want to be understood in your own way of thinking, you should see to punctuate properly.

An English teacher wrote these words on the blackboard:
"woman without her man is nothing"

The teacher then asked a male student to punctuate the words correctly.
The boys wrote: "Woman, without her man, is nothing."
The teacher suggested that so many commas be unnecessary; he then asked a girl she make her try.
The girl wrote: "Woman! Without her, man is nothing."

Let's quote Edgar Allan Poe "The writer who neglects punctuation, or mispunctuates, is liable to be misunderstood for the want of merely a comma; it often occurs that an axiom appears a paradox, or that a sarcasm is converted into a sermonoid."

You can't be too careful with written works.


  • I found this one on Internet:

    Smith and Jones were writing a short essay. Jones wrote a sentence using "had", and Smith wrote a sentence using "had had". The sentence was "John ______ an apple, but then he had lost it". In this context, "had had" got the examiner's approval because it's correct, whereas "had" isn't.

    The object of the exercise is to punctuate the sentence so that it makes sense:

    "Smith where Jones had had had had had had had had had had had the examiner's approval".

    Give it a try! If you don't, the answer will come tomorrow anyway.

  • This is my try:
    Preliminary note: Being questioned by Hortence, I can't help getting upset and starting stammering. The words between brackets are totally unaudible.

    (the) smith where (I went to keep up with the) jones(es) had, had, had, had, had, had, had, had, had, ... had the examiner's ap.. hap...a haphazard happroval.

    Thank gods it's almost Sunday. I look forward to reading the answer which is coming nearer and nearer as the night goes by.
  • I'm sure you've already had the solution on hand, for you're Gee and you know everything. This was the proposed solution:

    Smith, where Jones had had "had", had had "had had"; "had had" had had the examiner's approval.

    You're right about the importance of using punctuation correctly. I'm not expending a great deal of energy on it for the moment as I concentrate myself on grammar and acquiring more vocabulary (Two new words today: stammering and haphazard. Thank you!).


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