Advanced Grammar Lessons From Eats, Shoots and Leaves: the Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation! by Lynne Truss
‘ ‘ Apostrophes in DaHizzouse!
It indicates a possessive in a singular noun: • The boy’s hat When the possessor is plural, but does not end in an “s”, the apostrophe comes after the “s”: • The children’s playground • The women’s movement When the possessor is a regular plural, the apostrophe follows the “s”: • The boys’ hats • The babies’ bibs Rule Number One
It indicates time or quantity: • In one week’s time • Four yards’ worth • Two weeks’ notice Rule Number Two
It indicates omission of figures in dates: • The summer of ’68. Rule Number Three
It indicates the omission of letters: • We can’t go to Jo’burg. • (We cannot go to Johannesburg-perhaps because we can’t spell the middle bit.) • She’d’ve had the cat-o’-nine-tails, I s’pose, if we hadn’t stopped ‘im. • (She would have had a right old lashing, I reckon, if we had not intervened.) • I am too much i’ the sun. • (ah, Hamlet!) Rule Number Four
The apostrophe of omission creates “it’s” when the word in question can be replaced by “it is” or “it has”: • It’s your turn. • (It is your turn.) • It’s gotten very cold. • (It has gotten very cold.) If the word can be replaced by “Who is” or “who has”, then the correct word is “who’s”: • Who’s that knocking on my door? If the word can be replaced by “they are”, then the word is “they’re”: • They’re not going to get away with this. Rule Number Four (continued)
If the word can be replaced by “there is”, then the word is “there’s”: • There’s a surprising amount about the apostrophe in this PowerPoint. If the word can be replaced by “you are”, then the word is “you’re”: • You’re never going to forget the difference between “its” and “it’s”. Rule Number Four (continued)
It indicates strange, non-standard English: • “’Appen yer’d better ‘ave this key an’ Ah min fend for t’bods some other road…’Appen Ah can find anuther pleece as’ll du for rearin’ th’ pheasants. If yer want ter be ‘ere, yo’ll non want me messin’ abaht a’ th’ time.” Rule Number Five
It features in Irish names: • O’Neill • O’Casey • John o’ Gaunt Rule Number Six
It indicates the plurals of letters: • How many f’s are there in Fulham? • In the winter months, his R’s blew off. Rule Number Seven
It also indicates plurals of words: • What are the do’s and don’t’s? • Are there too many but’s and and’s at the beginnings of sentences these days? Rule Number Eight
In American English, it appears in the plurals of abbreviations: • MP’s • 1980’s Rule Number Nine
Current guides to punctuation state that with modern names ending in “s”, the “s” is required after the apostrophe: • Keats’s poems are elegiac. • Phillippa Jones’s book is enlightening. With names from the ancient world, it is not: • Archimedes’ screw was used to move water. • Achilles’ heel was his only weakness. Apostrophe Taste Preferences (1)
If the name ends in “iz” sound, an exception is made: • Bridges’ score was outlandish. • Moses’ tablets were broken. • Mr. Lentz’ room is a place of learning. (This is personal taste.) And an exception is always made for Jesus: • Jesus’ disciples gathered ‘round. “However, these are matters of style and preference that are definitely not set in stone, and it’s a good idea not to get fixated about them.” Apostrophe Taste Preferences (2)
Mr. Lentz was born in the 80s. • Its a good idea to not wear your hair like that anymore. • Now, few students in Mr. Lentz classes earn As. • After having Mr. Lentz for only a few weeks time, we realize that hes not that evil after all. • Whose afraid of Mr. Lentz? Fix these sentences!
Mr. Lentz was born in the ‘80’s. • It’s a good idea to not wear your hair like that anymore. • Now, few students in Mr. Lentz’ classes earn A’s. • After having Mr. Lentz for only a few weeks’ time, we realize that he’s not that evil after all. • Who’s afraid of Mr. Lentz? Fixed! Cuh!
, Commas are Complicated! Yeeeeaaaa Coommmaaa!!
To illuminate the grammar of a sentence. • To point up – rather in the manner of musical notation – such literary qualities as rhythm, direction, pitch, tone, and flow. 2 Basic Purposes of Commas
A comma, at that time, was the name of the relatively short bit (the word means in Greek “a piece cut off”). • For a millennium and a half, punctuation’s purpose was to guide actors, chanters and readers-aloud through stretches of manuscript, indicating the pauses, accentuating matters of sense and sound, and leaving syntax mostly to look after itself. History of the Comma
Commas for Lists—they divide items in lists, but are not required before the “and” on the end: • The four refreshing fruit flavors of Opal fruits are orange, lemon, strawberry, and lime. Rule Number One
“The flag is red, white, and blue.” This is known as the Oxford comma. In Britain the modern tendency is to leave it out. In America, conversely, where standard usage is to leave it in, there are those who make a point of removing it (especially journalist). Rule One continued
I went to the chemist, Marks & Spencer, and NatWest. • I went to NatWest, the chemist, and Marks & Spencer. Confusion may occur when….
In a list of adjectives, again the rule is that you use a comma where an and would be appropriate. • It was a dark, stormy night. • (The night was dark and stormy.) • He was a tall, bearded man. • (The man was tall and bearded.) More Points
Colors and numbers and some other adjective combinations: • It was an endangered white rhino. • Australian red wines are better than Australian white ones. • The grand old Duke of York had ten thousand men. These would not sound right with an and between the adjectives. (It was an endangered and white rhino.) But Do NOT Use A Comma For..
Commas for Joining • Commas are used when two complete sentences are joined together, using such conjunctions as and, or, but, while and yet. • The boy wanted to stay up until midnight, but he grew tired and fell asleep. • I thought I had the biggest bag of Opal Fruits, yet Cathy proved me wrong. Rule Number Two
It was the Queen’s birthday on Saturday, she got a lot of presents. • It was the Queen’s birthday on Saturday; so, she received many presents. • Jim woke up in an unfamiliar bed, he felt lousy. • Jim woke up in an unfamiliar bed; therefore, he felt lousy. Comma Splice
Commas Filling Gaps • Are we halfway yet? I hope so, but I doubt it. Anyway, this one is quite simple, involving missing words cunningly implied by comma. • Annie had dark hair; Sally, fair. Note that these have to be set up prior to use. If you just wrote “Sally, fair”, it would make no sense. (And, you would sound like a Neanderthal.) Rule Number Three
Commas Before Direct Speech or direct quotes from text. • The Queen said, “Doesn’t anyone know it’s my birthday?” It is not needed for short quotes. • The poet says that her lips were “red.” • The general rule is greater than three words use commas, but not with less than three. Rule Number Four
Commas Setting Off Interjections • Blimey, what would we do without it? • Stop, or I’ll scream. Rule Number Five
Words such as ‘because’ and ‘if’ can be used at the beginning of sentences, but they require commas to connect them to the independent clause (main part of the sentence). • “Because I awoke late, I am grumpy.” • “If you come to class late, you must go to the choice room.” Starting Sentences with Subordinate Clauses Rule Number Six
When you begin sentences with prepositional phrases, you must use a comma. • “Under the old table, you will find a dozen pieces of gum.” • “After a grueling workout in physical education, you should take a shower.” • Exception—After graduation is a time of new beginnings. Beginning Sentences with Prepositions
Can be used to continue an idea from one sentence to the next. • And, Victor was never welcome in Geneva again. • But, he would never return. • Also, he died alone. Beginning Sentences with Conjunctions
Use a comma after the interjection or transition. • “Yes, I will try to use commas correctly.” • “However, I will still make mistakes.” • “Thus, I will need practice.” • “Most importantly, I will mend my mistakes.” • Some Interjections require other punctuation. • “Ouch! I hit myself with a hammer.” • “Oh my! she said that?” Beginning Sentences with Interjections and Transitions
When there is a clause which renames a or gives more information about a noun in the same sentence. • John Keats, who never did any harm to anyone, is often invoked by grammarians. • I am, of course, going steadily nuts. • Nicholas Nickleby, published in 1893, uses a great many commas. • The queen, who has double the number of birthdays of most people, celebrated yet another birthday. Using appositives.
Pandas a large marsupial mammal are vegetarians. • The driver managed to escape from the vehicle before it sank and swam to the river-bank. • The tigers swam the moat and they bit the moron. • Yes they can swim. • Sam the medic responded to the call, she had to treat their wounds. • The convict said “the judge is mad.” • The panda eats, shoots and leaves. Fix 'em! THE PANDA SAYS NO!!
Pandas, a large marsupial mammal, are vegetarians. • The driver managed to escape from the vehicle before it sank, and he swam to the river-bank. • The tigers swam the moat, and they bit the moron. • Yes, they can swim. • Sam, the medic, responded to the call. She had to treat their wounds. • The convict said, “the judge is mad.” • The panda eats shoots and leaves. "The panda eats, shoots, and leaves," reinforces the idea of terrorist pandas! Fixed!
Oh, the joy of colons. Colons and semi-colons – well, they are in a different league, my dear! They give such lift! As for the other experiences, the solitary ones, which people go through alone, in their bedrooms, in their offices, walking the fields and the streets of London, he had them; had left home, a mere boy, because of his mother; she lied; because he came down to tea for the fiftieth time with his hands unwashed; because he could see no future for a poet in Stroud; and so, making a confidant of his little sister, had gone to London leaving an absurd note behind him, such as a great men have written, and the world has read later when the story of their struggles has become famous. Virginia Woolf, Mrs. Dalloway, 1925
Some say that semicolons are superior to commas but are mistaken. • They are more powerful more imposing more pretentious than a comma but they are a comma all the same. They really have within them deeply within them fundamentally within them the comma nature. Gertrude Stein, “Poetry and Grammar”, 1935 Semi-superior?
The main place for putting a semicolon…is between two related sentences where there is no conjunction such as “and” or “but”, and where a comma would be ungrammatical: • I loved Opal Fruits; they are now called Starburst, of course. • It was the baying of an enormous hound; it came from over there! Semicolon Use 1
The sub-text semicolon is, “Now this is a hint. The elements of this sentence, although grammatically distinct, are actually elements of a single notion.” • I remember him when he couldn’t write his own name on a gate; now he’s Prime Minister. Use 1 Continued
It performs the duties of a special sort of Policeman in the event of comma fights. , , Semicolon Use 2
Fares were offered to Corfu, the Greek island, Morocco, Elba, in the Mediterranean, and Paris. Margaret thought about it. She had been to Elba once and found it dull, to Morocco, and found it too colorful. • Fares were offered to Corfu, the Greek island; Morocco; Elba, in the Mediterranean; and Paris. Margaret thought about it. She had been to Elba once and found it dull; to Morocco, and found it too colorful. Semicolon Use 2 Examples
When sentences are connected via transitions like “however”, “nevertheless”, and “also”. • I have a great deal of knowledge about grammar; nevertheless, I still make mistakes. Semicolons Unofficial use.
We went to Tallahassee Florida Atlanta Georgia and Mobile Alabama. • I went to the store consequently I spent money. • I came home from school and found a burglar in my house, he escaped before I could call the police. • When a woman acts like a man why doesn’t she behave like a nice one? • Do not ask me to be kind just ask me to act as though I were. Fix ‘em!
We went to Tallahassee, Florida; Atlanta, Georgia; and Mobile, Alabama. • I went to the store; consequently, I spent money. • I came home from school and found a burglar in my house; he escaped before I could call the police. • When a woman acts like a man, why doesn’t she behave like a nice one? • Do not ask me to be kind; just ask me to act as though I were. Fixed…
The semicolon suggests a connection between the two halves of each of these sentences, the dash ought to be preserved for occasions when the connection is a lot less direct, when it can act as a bridge between bits of fractured: Whereas
I love Opal Fruit- why did they call them Starburst?-reminds me of the joke “What did Zimbabwe used to be called?-Rhodesia • What did Iceland used to be called?- Bejam!” Whereas….
Keep your Colon clean!!!! : Colon
MASTER THE COLON! • Despite the following reasons of why not to.. • They are old-fashioned • They are middle-class • They are optional • They are mysteriously connected to pausing • They are dangerously addictive • The difference between them (semicolons and colons) is too negligible to be grasped by the brain of man NO EXCUSES!