Punctuation Puzzle: George Washington Carver—Compound Sentences!

Punctuation Puzzle: George Washington Carver—Compound Sentences!

By Zac Kieser and Donna Reish

I’m bringing back the Punctuation Puzzle! Many readers said they enjoyed these puzzles….so I will be bringing you one each week. (I love them too!)

For your Character Ink Cottage Class kids and others with upper level students, do these with them! They will be so good for their grammar and usage skill development!


Here’s the Puzzle:


day 110: more prepositions as other parts of speech

I think I confused more than helped in my last post about “coming with…” I am going to elaborate a bit on the different uses that words that are commonly prepositions might have in writing:

1. First of all, a word is seldom a certain part of speech in isolation. Words are called parts of speech because they are used in a certain way in speech (and writing). Thus, it is often incorrect to say that, for instance, a dog is a noun. You can be dog tired. You can dog somebody to pay you. A part of speech is a part of speech when it is used–not in isolation.

2. Thus, the preposition as other parts of speech problem. We have students memorize lists of prepositions (though we prefer to have them use them in Check Sentences, again, because that is how “parts of speech” are used)–but we have to remember that those prepositions are only prepositions when they are used as prepositions–how is that for confusing? Remember, a preposition must have an object following it in order to be considered as being used as a preposition.

3. Examples!!! I will list prepositions below to show how they may be used as prepositions or how they may be used as other parts of speech–again, in context.

a. Over
    i. I am coming over. (Adverb–tells where you are coming….)
    ii. Jump over the water. (Preposition–begins the prepositional phrase (PP for short): over the water…)

b. Down
  i. He fell down. (Adverb–tells where he fell..)
  ii. We rode down the hill. (Preposition–begins the PP down the hill…)

c. Before
  i. Before we go to class, let’s check our backpacks. (Subordinator–before is used as a subordinator beginning the subordinate clause before we go to class–a subordinate clause is a clause (subject/verb) that begins with a subordinator and is not a real sentence by itself.)

  ii. I heard that story before. (Adverb–tells when you heard that story…)

  iii. He has to go before the leaders. (Preposition–begins the PP before the leaders…)

Hope this helps! Feel free to write in questions–if I don’t know the answer, I will look the question up in my 600 page reference! 🙂

day 74: phrases, clauses, and sentences

We have talked at length about what a sentence contains:

C apital

A ll makes sense

V erb

E nd mark

S ubject


Again, most people have trouble witht the A one–All makes sense. When a “sentence” doesn’t make sense, it is often because it is not a sentence at all, but it is a phrase or a clause.

We are going to talk in detail about phrases and clauses in the upcoming weeks because we are going to talk a lot about sentence structure–openers, simple sentences, compound sentences, etc.

So…a little “phrase and clause” lesson is in order first:

1. Phrase–

a. Group of words

b. Group of words that is not a sentence

c. Group of words that is not a sentence and does not usually contain a subject and a verb (though may seem to have one or the other)

d. There are various types of phrases–the one that people are most familiar with is the prepositional phrase–begins with a preposition and ends with the object of the preposition:
      i. over the clouds
     ii. into the clouds
    iii. around the clouds
   iv. within the clouds
    v. under the clouds

2. Clause

a. Group of words

b. Group of words that might or might not be a sentence

c. Group of words that contains a subject and a verb

d. Two kinds of clauses

     i. Independent clause–also called a sentence

     ii. Dependent clause–also called a subordinate clause

Don’t despair! These are not as complicated as they sound! You write with them all the time–but I hope to help you recognize them and punctuate them correctly in sentences–over the next few weeks!

Happy writing!


day 36: prepositions that are synonyms

We have already learned prepositions that are antonyms (opposite). Now for our last day of preposition work, we will learn prepositions that are synonyms (meaning the same or almost the same).
First a little mnemonic for antonyms and opposites!
Antonyms—Opposite (both begin with vowel sounds—ant—opp)
Synonyms—Same (both begin with S—syn—same)
When you consider that prepositions show position, it makes sense that if you know one preposition that means a certain direction (i.e. over), then other words that mean the same thing may also be prepositions (above, on top of, etc.).
Consider these prepositions that might be considered synonyms—if you know one from each list, you are likely to be able to think of the others:
1. aboard
            a. on
            b. atop
            c. atop of
            d. astride
2. about
    1. amid
    2. amidst
    3. among
    4. amongst
    5. around
    6. by
    7. near
    8. next to
    9. round
  1. above
    1. atop
    2. atop of
    3. on
    4. on top of
    5. over
    6. up
    7. upon
  1. Against
    1. anti
    2. barring
    3. despite
    4. in spite of
    5. opposite of
  2. Ahead
    1. ahead of
    2. before
    3. in front
    4. in front of
  3. Along
    1. about
    2. alongside
    3. alongside of
    4. Along with
    5. Amid
    6. Amidst
    7. Among
    8. Amongst
    9. At
    10. Beside
    11. Besides
    12. Round
    13. Close
    14. Close to
    15. By means of
    16. Near to
    17. Next to
  4. amid/amidst
    1. about
    2. against
    3. among
    4. amongst
    5. around
    6. at
    7. beside
    8. beside of
    9. by
    10. next to
    11. round
    12. through
    13. throughout
  5. anti
    1. across from
    2. against
    3. barring
    4. opposite
    5. opposite of
    6. versus
  6. around
    1. about
    2. amid
    3. amidst
    4. among
    5. amongst
    6. aside
    7. aside of
    8. circa
  7. aside
    1. along
    2. alongside
    3. alongside
    4. aside of
    5. beside
    6. beside of
    7. by
    8. next
    9. next to
    10. close to
    11. near to
  8. astride
    1. a. atop
    2. atop of
    3. on
    4. on top of
    5. over
    6. up
    7. upon
  9. at
    1. beside
    2. beside of
    3.  by
    4. toward
    5. close to
  10. barring
    1. anti
    2. opposite
    3. opposite of
    4. outside
    5. outside of
    6. due to
    7. except for
    8. save
  11. before
    1. ahead
    2. ahead of
    3. in front of
  12. behind
    1. beyond
    2. following
    3. in back
    4. in back of
The purpose behind the “synonym prepositions” is two-fold: (1) help students realize that if a word is a preposition (and they know that one), then more than likely other words that mean the same thing and fit in the same space are probably prepositions as well; (2) to help students think of even more prepositions—that they might not realize they know. Again, if a student learns to recognize prepositions well, he will recognize prepositional phrases well and will be able to isolate them (mentally, at least) in his sentences to achieve correct subject-verb agreement. (Also, it will help in using prepositional phrase openers in sentences  and punctuating them correctly.)

Pin It on Pinterest