By Zac Kieser and Donna Reish
Today we have a PUNCTUATION PUZZLE—plus a couple of other errors for you to find!
The shepherd lead them to the brook and they drank alot, because they were very, hot, and thirsty.
Here is the answer with an explanation for each aspect below:
The shepherd led them to the brook, and they drank a lot because they were very hot and thirsty.
I recently had the misfortune of seeing a sign outside a chicken franchise that read hot, juicy, chicken. You can imagine my outrage!!!
It, of course, took us here at Language Lady to Comma Clues #2: Use Commas to Separate Two or More Describers (But Not Between the Describer and the Word Being Described!).
Two benchmarks that I teach for inserting commas between describers:
Students writing stories this week? Parents/teachers helping kids with stories this week?
Follow this “describing tip” we use with our student to help with the descriptions in your writing:
“Only use an adjective that will cause your reader to have a different picture in his mind than he would have without the adjective.”
I recently had the misfortune of seeing a sign outside a chicken franchise that read hot, juicy, chicken. You can imagine my outrage!!! It, of course, took us here at Language Lady to Comma Clues #2: Use Commas to Separate Two or More Describers (But Not Between the Describer and the Word Being Described!).
I was thrilled to find the image above to instruct you in the commas-with-describers rule because those two benchmarks are the ones that I teach in my grammar books:
1. If you can reverse the order of the words that you are placing a comma between, and the phrase still makes sense, use a comma:
a. She had on that bright, beautiful dress. (She had on that beautiful, bright dress—YES…comma is needed.)
b. She had on that, bright dress. (She had on bright that dress–NO…comma is not needed.)
2. If you can put an AND in between the two words you are placing a comma between, and the phrase still makes sense, use a comma:
a. She had on that bright, beautiful dress. (She had on that bright and beautiful dress—YES…comma is needed.)
b. She on that, bright dress. (She had on that and bright dress—NO…comma is not needed.)
For those who like technical explanations, we teach that commas go between DESCRIPTIVE adjectivest (bright, beautiful) but not between CLARIFYING adjectives (that, five, this–which are usually called something else anyway, like pronouns, etc.).
More on comma before the and in a series of three or more (bright, beautiful, and colorful dress) in Comma Clues #3! Have a lovely, grammatically-correct day!
Welcome to Wordy Wednesday! Did you know that strengthlessnesses is the longest word containing only one (albeit very repeating) vowel? Neither did I. And I don’t really care for it. I mean, it is cumbersome to say–and that is a whole lot of e’s and s’s to remember to spell the crazy word.
But I love unique and unusual–and strengthlessnesses is definitely both of those! Here are some vitals about this “longest word containing only one (albeit very repeating) vowel”:
1. It is a noun–did you know that when a word ends in ness, it is almost always a noun? This helps with standardized testing greatly. Ness words are nearly always nouns, so in a “fill in the blank” type of assignment, if the word in question ends in ness, it has to go in a spot where a noun fits.
Tricky Trick to Help It Stick: We have students learn key words to remember things. For instance, to remember that ness words are nearly always nouns, memorize a key word or two that you know is a noun and that ends in ness.
Other ness nouns: happiness, hopefulness, craziness, gratefulness, joyfulness, smartness
2. It has to do with having strength–we teach our students to think about what you already know–anytime–but especially when approaching a new word. Is there anything about the word strengthlessnesses that you already know?
a. You know what its base means. You already what strength means!
b. You know that less means less or not having that quality. (We do a lot of root and affix studies here!)
Because of those two “things you already know,” you can know that strengthlessnesses has something to do with not having strength (i.e. less strength).
Note: You know more than you think you know! Repeat this over and over to yourself: “I know more than I think I know. I know more than I think I know.” Use what you know to learn more!
3. It can be spelled syllable-by-syllable (if you are a biphonic man or biphonic woman!): strength-less-ness-es.
4. You can also make up a trick to remember how to spell it, such as “It contains four e’s and six s’s. Or that it has four syllables–which tells you that it will have at least four vowels in it (or y’s acting like vowels)–because a syllable always contains at least one vowel. A vowel is what makes a syllable!
5. You can learn the variations of this word–because you can remember from your vocabulary studies with Language Lady that suffixes (affixes added to the ends of words) might change the SPELLING of the base word (pity is changed to piti in pitiful) but does not change the MEANING of the base word. Even with three suffixes added (less, ness, and es), the base word of strength still means strength.
a. stengthless–adjective meaning without strength (less words are often adjectives!)
b. strengthlessly–adverb meaning without strength (ly words are often adverbs)
c. strengthelessness–a noun describing someone or something that is without strength (ness words are often nouns)
d. strengthlessnesses–a noun that means more than one someone or something that is without strength (es makes the word plural).
So there you have it–the longest word with only one repeating vowel. Did you know that you could learn so much from one word? You know a lot more than you think you know! Smile…