Posts Tagged ‘Punctuation’

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Are you a "comma queen"?

posted: 3.5.15 by Andrea Lunsford

When I say I am a teacher of writing to a new acquaintance, I often get the response no doubt familiar to you: “Oops; better watch my language.” This stereotype of the English teacher as a nit-picker extraordinaire is widespread and seems to be deeply ingrained in the national psyche as “Miss Fidditch.” This character’s name seems to have been coined by linguist Henry Lee Smith in the early 1950s—though H. L. Mencken had earlier referred to “old maid schoolteachers who would rather parse than eat.” So the stereotype is surely an old one. [read more]

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Categories: Andrea Lunsford, Grammar & Style, Punctuation & Mechanics
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Whither the Apostrophe?

posted: 9.1.14 by Andrea Lunsford

People have been predicting the demise of the apostrophe for some time now, but when I began seeing cartoons about this little piece of punctuation, I began to think the end may indeed be nigh.  Just this week I ran across a cartoon depicting several people clustered around a large sign pinned to a wall.  The sign held one word—ITS—and in front of the sign stood a blindfolded person holding aloft an apostrophe with a pin through it. The caption:  “The games get pretty crazy at English teachers’ parties,” suggesting, of course, that the only people interested in apostrophes are . . . English teachers. [read more]

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What's the Future of Punctuation?

posted: 6.19.14 by Andrea Lunsford

Is punctuation disappearing in an age of ever more succinct and rushed communication?  Or is it proliferating, some say at a dazzling pace?  Megan Garber favors the view that we live in a time of “punctuation inflation.”  Citing the famous example of Victor Hugo’s one-character message (“?”) to the publisher of Les Miserables and the publisher’s equally succinct reply (“!”), indicating that sales were going very well indeed, she argues that today, given the infinite space on the Net, Hugo would likely have sent a bevy of question marks (“??????????”).  [read more]

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Categories: Andrea Lunsford
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The Hyphen Today

posted: 12.10.07 by Barclay Barrios

Used to be used to divide words at the end of sentences, but word processors take care of that for us now. So how is the hyphen used today? Have students review the material in the handbook on this punctuation mark and then have them bring in examples from outside the classroom that demonstrate correct or incorrect uses of the hyphen. As part of this discussion, ask students to consider the dash as well. What’s the difference between the two? When might they use either in their writing?

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Categories: Assignment Idea, Punctuation & Mechanics
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Designing Punctuation

posted: 4.9.07 by Barclay Barrios

Have students review material on punctuation in the handbook. Then, in class, have them work in groups to design new symbols for the standard punctuation marks as well as symbols to represent new and invented punctuation marks: How do punctuation marks function? What punctuation is missing from our language?

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Categories: Collaboration, Punctuation & Mechanics
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Landmark Punctuation

posted: 3.7.07 by Barclay Barrios

Have students review the material on punctuation in the handbook. In small groups, ask them to explain how different punctuation marks function by linking them to local landmarks. For example, at Florida Atlantic University, I95 midday is like a comma, in the morning is like a semicolon, but with an accident it’s like a period.

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Categories: Grammar & Style, Learning Styles, Punctuation & Mechanics
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Grammar Gets a MySpace Page

posted: 2.5.07 by Barclay Barrios

Divide the class into groups and assign each group an element: a part of speech, a punctuation mark, or sentences. Each group will research that element in the handbook, find resources for learning about the element online, and create a page for their element on MySpace. Which other elements would be listed as friends? What connections would the elements make to each other?

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Categories: Collaboration, Finding Sources, Grammar & Style
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Punctuation Mix-Up Fix-Up

posted: 1.26.07 by Barclay Barrios

Have students use a word processor’s find and replace function to switch punctuation around, exchanging commas for periods and quotation marks for apostrophes. In peer groups, have students restore the proper punctuation.

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Categories: Peer Review, Punctuation & Mechanics, Teaching with Technology
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