Monday, June 22, 2009

The power of punctuation!

A highschool teacher wrote the following on a blackboard to demonstrate to her students the power of punctuation:

Woman without man would be nothing

She asked the class to punctuate this sentence as they saw fit. The majority of the class punctuated the sentence as they saw fit:

Woman, without man, would be nothing.

Others corrected it accordingly:

Woman: without, man would be nothing.

The power of punctuation, indeed!


Kayleigh said...

VERY cool :)

Natalie said...

Well of course! Thanks for the giggle, Mervat.xx♥

septembermom said...

Punctuation can make the difference! Did you ever see that Seinfeld episode when Elaine would debate about the overuse of exclamation marks when talking?

notSupermum said...

Love it. I admit to being something of a punctuation terrorist. I'm always pointing out incorrect usage of apostrophes in shops, or on adverts, etc. At least my daughters will learn about it early on!

♥ Braja said...

Yeah, I thought of the second one before I scrolled down :)

Shadowthorne said...

A book I read once said that people who used a lot of !!! and ??? at the end of a sentence tends to be a bit over-excited.

Me??!! Yes, I am one.

And did you know '....' means the person has no comment or just pausing to think?

Anonymous said...

Also, the power of perception. ~Mary


Interesting indeed!

Jane said...

Have you read "Eats, Shoots And Leaves?"

The title of the book is an amphibology, a verbal fallacy arising from an ambiguous grammatical construction, and derived from a joke on bad punctuation:

A panda walks into a café. He orders a sandwich, eats it, then draws a gun and proceeds to fire it at the other patrons.

'Why?' asks the confused, surviving waiter amidst the carnage, as the panda makes towards the exit. The panda produces a badly punctuated wildlife manual and tosses it over his shoulder.

'Well, I'm a panda', he says, at the door. 'Look it up.'

The waiter turns to the relevant entry in the manual and, sure enough, finds an explanation. 'Panda. Large black-and-white bear-like mammal, native to China. Eats, shoots and leaves.'

Printemps said...

I mean we got to explore cryptic writings....

Valerie said...

Enjoyed this post. It reminded me of 'all that is is all that is not is not is not that it it is'

Like Septembermom I hate overuse of exclamation marks!!!!! Why use six when one will do?

Soulgrowth said...

Imagine how word "fire" is used without exclamation point. writing instinct is badly needed here.

La Belette Rouge said...

Love it! So funny!

Suko said...

This is a clever post, and many of the comments are clever as well.

Mervat, and readers of The Writing Instinct, please stop by my blog for an exclusive interview with a wonderful author!

Warren Baldwin said...

Very good! I like these little exercises. Have you seen this one:


Matter of perspective ... and spacing.


elena-lu said...

lol yes ive seen that one before and wow does it ever make a difference! oh and i love exclamation marks!!!! tons of them!!!! :P

Ana V. Rios said...

Very cute! Like they say: "Your perception is your reality".
I have a hard time with punctuation/grammar too.

Sucharita Sarkar said...

Neatly turning the tables. Great!

Imogen Lamport said...

Fantastic - the other day I picked up Eats Shoots and Leaves in picture book version for my kids so they can learn all about punctuation.

Mervat said...

Kayleigh: I agree, pretty cool!

Natalie: you are so welcome!

septembermom: Yes, I remember that episode! (!!!! ;)

notSupermum: I am the same. I end up losing the main message of any advert etc because of the mistakes I pick up. And that is not such a bad thing! Your daughters are lucky indeed. x

♥ Braja: I guessed you would!

Shadowthorne: I would agree with you about the over-excited people!

FrankandMary: Yes, the ability to see what is there before you pucntuate it.


Jane: I have heard of
"Eats, Shoots And Leaves" but had forgotten it. Thanks for the reminder.

Printemps: Great when one comes along!

Valerie: Thanks. Loved your response ('all that is is all that is not is not is not that it it is')! And I agree with you on the overuse of exclamation marks.

Soulgrowth: The word 'fire' sounds quite impotent without the exclamation mark, I agree!

La Belette Rouge: Glad you had a laugh.

Suko: Thank you.

I visited your post and loved it. I left quite a long comment but blogger didn't save it. I have to go back again. I loved how open and approachable Shaila Abdullah was. I can't wait to read it again.

Warren Baldwin: I got this one:


Like the perspective and spacing!

elena-lu: Glad you like to use exclamation marks. They get the message across don't they?

Ana V. Rios: I like the quote you wrote: "Your perception is your reality". I really like it.

Sucharita Sarkar: Yes, turning the tables as delicately as a sledge hammer!

Imogen Lamport: glad you like this one! I was not aware that
'Eats, Shoots and Leaves' was available in picture book version. I'll have to keep a look out for it. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

awesome blog, do you have twitter or facebook? i will bookmark this page thanks. lina holzbauer


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