My writing assistant, Zachary Kieser, and I are having so much fun coming up with these Punctuation Puzzles! They are interesting ways to brush up on grammar and usage skills that you might be rusty on—and great for junior high and high school students to do with you since the answers are explained thoroughly. Add this to your school day for more learning fun with your kids!
With school just around the corner (don’t you love the smell of those new binders???), I thought I would offer some printables that can help you in your school prep. One of the things I have each of my writing students be sure they have in their binders is a copy of my Proofreaders’ Marks page. I edit their papers with these proofreaders’ marks, and I want them to have the “cheat sheet” to refer to and learn from right at their fingertips. Students as young as third grade can learn the first few/basic ones. They will learn more and more of them as they write and as you edit their papers using these simple marks.
Before I show you the basic proofreaders’ marks that I use in my books and classes (and give you the printable version to print off for your school), I want to share a funny version of proofreaders’ marks that are floating around the internet. It is attributed to Tom Weller in 1987. It is said to have hung in many print houses in the eighties and nineties—sometimes with certain parts circled and emphasized when editors had, had it with certain errors! It’s a comical look at proofreaders’ marks—and I’m super thankful that we don’t have such extensive lists for students today! 🙂
No, our marks are much simpler. Here are the ones we use:
And….here is the printable version of the Proofreaders’ Marks for you to use with your students, on your class bulletin board, your teacher binder, etc. Happy proofreading! 🙂
Love and hope,
P.S. What common errors do your students make that you would like help in teaching? Homophones? Commas? Paragraph breaks? I’d love to help you!
The who/whom question is a tricky one. Out of all “pronouns” (some grammarians call who/whom pronouns; some call them subordinators; some call them…who knows…grammar is so subjective!)…anyway, out of all pronouns, who/whom is the trickiest to use correctly because it simply doesn’t sound as “wrong.” (We all know that you don’t say “Her is coming over later!”) Stick with Language Lady—and I’ll give you a tip for every usage problem you encounter (okay, maybe not every one…but I’ll sure try!)
Part of it sounds easy:
We were lead into this little room which really peaked our curiosity and then we were surprised by they’re generosity
We were LED:
(1) Lead with a short e (rhymes with head) is a metal or pencil lead; (2) Led is the past tense of lead (rhymes with bead).
He said words that would be remembered forever One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind
Here is a possible answer with the reasons below. He said words that would be remembered forever: “One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.”
1. The first half of the sentence is a complete sentence speech tag.
That is, it is a complete sentence that could stand alone, but it could also be considered the speech tag for the quoted words. When a speech tag could stand alone, it is one of the few times that a colon is appropriate following a speech tag. (Note: You could also just consider it a stand-alone sentence and follow it with a period and have no “speech tag.”)
(It is not proper to follow a non-sentence/short speech tag with a colon. A comma should be used in that case.)
2. The beginning quotation mark comes just before the quote begins–before One.
3. The ending quotation mark comes after mankind–
However, the period for the entire sentence goes INSIDE the closing quotation mark as all periods (and commas) go inside closing quotation marks in the US (but not in UK).
4. Internal Comma
As for the internal comma (one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind), that is how the quotation is written almost everywhere it is written; thus, whenever you write a quote, you should write it word-for-word as it was when you researched it/found it. Some would say that should be a semicolon. It is probably more accurate to consider it a comma before an “understood” and. Either way, it is a quote and will remain with its original punctuation.
Teaching writing is not for the faint of heart! It is the most subjective “subject” in school—and, consequently, can be one of the most challenging to teach. Oftentimes, materials designed to teach writing are more writing idea than writing instruction. They leave the student (and the teacher!) wondering exactly what to do to complete the writing prompt. This is one reason that after I write a book (one hundred in all!), test, test, and retest the book with real (or virtual starting this fall!) students to be sure that all of the steps are included and clear. Last week I shared a lesson from one of my books that I did with a mixed live/virtual class about writing from a given source. This week I’d love to give you another peek into my online writing classes for the fall with another cooperative “guinea pig” group!