Tag Archives: punctuation

Major Works and Minor Works Quiz With Answers

M is for MAJOR WORKS AND MINOR WORKS!



Are you as ready to move on from this topic as I am? With teaching it to one hundred students last week and writing about it here several times, I am just about “major and minored” out! However, we can’t leave such a misunderstood topic without a quiz!

So here you go…..Decide in each sentence provide whether the title is a major work or minor work. (Answers below.)




1. I used the encyclopedia essay titled Mammals for my report.

2. I just got a new cd called Ballads for the Ballroom. (That sounds like a good idea–I should do that!)

3. Have you ever read the book The Red Badge of Courage?

4. My favorite dance song on my new cd is Could I Have This Dance?

5. She assigned five chapters this week, starting with Non-Essential Information. (You guess it, LL readers–that is what we are going to study this week on here!)

6. They said we could consult Wikipedia, but we aren’t allowed to cite it.

7. Our new favorite boxed television show is Person of Interest.

8. I haven’t received a Reader’s Digest magazine in years.

9. My favorite composition series is Meaningful Composition.

10. I am using their bonus book right now, called The SAT Essay and Other Timed Writing.



Image from Marketmybook





ANSWERS! Major Works are shown with Italics; Minor Works are shown with quotation marks. Explanations are in parentheses following each sentence.

1. I used the encyclopedia essay titled, “Mammals,” for my report. (Encyclopedia essay title is a Minor Work--found within the encyclopedia, whose title is a Major Work.)

2. I just got a new cd called Ballads for the Ballroom. (Musical compilation titles are Major Works–the song titles on/in the compilation are Minor Works.)

3. Have you ever read the book The Red Badge of Courage? (Book titles are Major Works–the chapter titles within the book are Minor Works.)

4. My favorite dance song on my new cd is “Could I Have This Dance?” (Song titles are Minor Works–the title of the songbook or cd that contains the song is the Major Work.)

5. She assigned five chapters this week, starting with “Non-Essential Information.” (Chapter titles are Minor Works–the title of the book containing the chapters is the Major Work.)

6. They said we could consult Wikipedia, but we aren’t allowed to cite it. 
(Encyclopedia titles are Major Works–the titles of the essays within the encyclopedia are Minor Works.)

7. Our new favorite boxed television show is Person of Interest. (Television show titles are Major Works–the titles of the scenes or chapters within the program are Minor Works.)

8. I haven’t received a Reader’s Digest magazine in years. (Magazine or journal titles are Major Works–the titles of the articles within the magazine/journal are Minor Works.)

9. My favorite composition series is Meaningful Composition
(Book titles are Major Works–the chapters within the book are Minor Works.)

10. I am using their bonus book right now, called The SAT Essay and Other Timed Writing. (Book titles are Major Works–the chapters within the book are Minor Works.)

A is for APPOSITIVES!

Eng111cafe clip art





A is for APPOSITIVE!

We teach the appositive extensively in our writing and language arts books because it is an amazing conciseness technique–and it shows a student’s skill in handling difficult grammar concepts and punctuation challenges. Plus, it truly does help a student write more concisely!

Here is the basic of this grammar item:

1. Is a phrase that restates something else.

2. Is usually used to restate (or elaborate on) the subject (though it can be used to restate anything really.

3. Is set off with commas if it falls in the middle of the sentence. (Remember: Anything that is set off with commas should be “removable” and a complete sentence remains without it!)

4. Can be used to combine two sentences into one in short, choppy sentences.

Example:

Donna writes language arts and composition books every day.

Donna has written over fifty curriculum texts.

Donna, WHO HAS WRITTEN OVER FIFTY CURRICULUM TEXTS, writes language arts and composition books every day.

Cool, huh?






A is for APPOSITIVE

Did you know that last week’s PUNCTUATION PUZZLE had an appositive in it?

I had barely noticed her mood, HER TEMPERAMENT, when she suddenly blew up, and she began shouting and throwing things at me, which was something I was not accustomed to seeing.

Notice the following:

1. Her temperament renames the noun mood.
2. It is set off with commas surrounding it (her temperament).
3. It (along with the commas) can be removed from the sentence, and a complete sentence remains.


PUNCTUATION PUZZLE: The shepherd led them to the brook….

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 aspectbelow: The shepherd led them to the brook, and they drank a lot because they were very hot and thirsty.

 LED vs LEAD: The shepherd LED them to the brook……

      1.  LEAD (pronounced ledd with as short e) is only pronounced ledd when it refers to a metal or pencil graphite.           2. Otherwise LEAD is pronounced leed (long e) and is the current tense of the verb lead (LEED).                                     3. LED is the past tense of the verb LEAD (pronounced LEED, with a long e).


CS ,cc CS–Do you remember these rules for compound sentences? 

1. CS stands for complete sentence; cc stands for coordinating conjunction. 

2. You can join one CS (complete sentence) with another CS by using a comma-cc (,For/ ,And/ ,Nor/ ,But/ ,Or/ ,Yet/ ,So). 

3. You may not combine two complete sentences into one with a cc only–you must put a comma before it: The shepherd led them to the brook, AND they drank….



 ALOT vs A LOT:  ALOT is not one word; it should be two words–A LOT—meaning a bunch or a large amount: The shepherd led them to the brook, and they drank a lot….


No comma before a subordinator at the end of a sentence unless it is a WHICH clause-

1. You do not need a comma before the BECAUSE. 

2. You do not hear a pause (like you would if it were a WHICH clause): The shepherd led them to the brook, and they drank a lot because they were very hot and thirsty.


No Comma Between an adverb and the adjective it describes—

1. Or more clearly put, no comma between a qualifier and a describer: VERY hot and thirsty (not VERY, hot, and thirsty).

2.  Very is an adverb telling how hot (an adverb describing an adjective or qualifying it). 

3. Tip for this: 

     a. If you can put an AND where you are trying to put the comma, then a comma is needed (in place of the and): they were muddy, hot, and thirsty (muddy AND hot AND thirsty). 

     b. If you cannot put an AND, do not put a comma: very AND hot—NO!). 

     c.  Also, do not use a comma when you have only two adjectives and you are placing an AND in between them–either use a comma (hot, thirsty) OR place an AND (hot and thirsty) but not both.

PUNCTUATION PUZZLE: Commas and Periods With Quotation Marks

Okay…here is another Punctuation Puzzle for you to solve! Try to figure out where punctuation marks should go–before you look below at the answers/explanations! Smile…

I read the magazine article titled “Baby Games” and I read an encyclopedia essay called “Baby Showers”

Okay….are you ready?

Proper punctuation of that sentence is as follows:

I read the magazine article titled “Baby Games,” and I read an encyclopedia essay called “Baby Showers.”



Here is why the punctuation is the way it is:

1. “Baby Games” is the title of a magazine article; an article is a minor work (a work within a work–in this case, an article within a magazine). Minor works are shown by surrounding the title in quotation marks.

                           I read the magazine article titled “Baby Games,”



2. You need a comma before the AND because this sentence is a compound sentence (Complete Sentence {CS}, and Complete Sentence {CS}). One way you can combine two sentences into one to create a compound sentence is to use a comma-coordinating conjunction (,cc–,for/,and/,nor/,but/,or/,yet/,so). Always test to see if you are really creating a compound by reading each “half” of the sentence by itself–and ask yourself if it could stand alone.

                          I read the article titled “Baby Games,” and I read an encyclopedia essay called “Baby Showers.”

3.  In the US, a comma ALWAYS goes inside a closing quotation mark (whether it is part of the quoted material or not). (This is not the case in British writings.)

                         “Baby Games,”



4. “Baby Showers” is the title of an encyclopedia essay; an essay is a minor work (a work within a work–in this case, an essay within an encyclopedia). Minor works are shown by surrounding the title in quotation marks.

                    “Baby Showers.”




5.  In the US, a period ALWAYS goes inside a closing quotation mark (whether it is part of the quoted material or not). (This is not the case in British writings.)

                      “Baby Showers.”

*Picture from http://thumbs.dreamstime.com/x/jigsaw-puzzle-punctuation-marks-28310853.jpg

Conjunctive Adverb Blues

One of my junior high language arts classes meeting around my dining room table. I love teaching!

One of my high school classes recently had to use fifteen conjunctive adverbs in sentences. One of my students got very creative! Here are her sentences:

Alas, I have been assigned to write fifteen sentences with conjunctive adverbs in them. So, then I thought, Fifteen? In fact, that’s crazy! In spite of this crazy assignment, I still have to do it. At the same time, I understand that it is beneficial for my English learning experience. Nonetheless, I still think fifteen is a bit much. Perhaps Mrs. Reish thinks I that I will be a “conjunctive adverbologist” some day. Then, I have news for you! Eventually, I plan on becoming a photographer. On the other hand, I love working with animals, so maybe I’ll become a veterinarian. However, I hate needles,so maybe that is not best for me. Besides, I’m already taking a photography class. No matter how persuasive Mrs. Reish can be, nothing whatsoever can change my mind! Anyway, I don’t need to use conjunctive adverbs. Thus, there is no point in writing fifteen sentences about them. As a result.…wait! What?! In spite of all my complaining, I’ve done it? On the contrary, I thought I was pretty bad at all this. As a result, I might become a “conjunctive adverbologist” after all!

Thanks, Sydney Joe Puckett! You are inspiring! 🙂

Punctuation Puzzle: Compound With Semicolon (GWC)

Are you ready for another Punctuation Puzzle?

George Washington Carver had a driving force for knowledge that would reside within him for the rest of his life because of this he became successful in everything he did.


1. There are two complete sentences (CS) here:
            a. George Washington Carver had a driving force for knowledge that would reside within him for the rest of his life.
            b. Because of this he became successful in everything he did.

2. Because there are two complete sentences (CS) there, I would place a semicolon between the two (though you could put a period and capitalize the second half and have two separate sentences, if desired).

         George Washington Carver had a driving force for knowledge that would reside within him for the rest of his life; because of this he became successful in everything he did.


3. When you have a compound sentence, you have to treat each sentence separately in terms of its punctuation. Thus, you need to examine the first half of the sentence (the first “real” sentence of the compound sentence) to see if it needs any other punctuation. Then you must do the same with the second half.
              a. George Washington Carver had a driving force for knowledge that would reside within him for the rest of his life. (NO punctuation needed within first half)
              b. Because of this,  he became successful in everything he did.(I WOULD place a comma following the short prepositional phrase [PP] opener “Because of this” simply because I hear a pause following it. {The rules for commas following short PP openers are subjective and usually based on voice inflection or clarity achieved by the use of a comma. We teach liberal comma use following sentence openers in our programs.})


4. Thus, my final verdict on punctuating this compound and slightly complex sentence is as follows:

 George Washington Carver had a driving force for knowledge that would reside within him for the rest of his life; because of this, he became successful in everything he did.


Punctuation really is a puzzle, isn’t it? Smile…


Little addendum to yesterday’s PUNCTUATION PUZZLE:

George Washington Carver had a driving force for knowledge that would reside within him for the rest of his life; because of this, he became successful in everything he did.

1. One of the only uses for semicolons is to create a compound sentence (without having to use a coordinating conjunction For, And, Nor, But, Or, Yet, So–FANBOYS–since these words may give additional meaning).

2. Benchmark for creating compound—are the two halves of the sentence extremely linked? In the case above, they are so intertwined that they actually form a cause and effect of sorts. Closely linked sentences are good candidates for creating compound sentences.

Have a prolific day, Language Lady friends!

Happy Martin Luther King Jr. Day!

 The third Monday in January is the day we celebrate Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday–Martin Luther King Jr. Day. With every multi-word proper noun, there are potential errors for capitalizing and punctuating.

This is the case with today’s holiday as well, especially since it has some words that are three words or fewer (potentially indicating we should not cap them, depending on where they fall within the proper noun). It has an abbreviation (Jr.), which makes for a potential difficulty with the period (or not) and even a comma (since many incorrectly think it should be written Martin Luther King, Jr {with a comma}).

So how about a little capitalization, proper noun, punctuation lesson to start the week off right? According to the Associated Press Style Book and the Chicago Manual of Style, this holiday should be written as follows (my notes below that):

Martin Luther King Jr. Day:

1. Proper nouns, including holidays, should be capitalized.

2. A proper noun containing two or more words should follow these capitalization rules:
         a. Capitalize the first and last word regardless of those words’ lengths: Fourth of July, Training for Triumph, Ode to Joy
         b. Capitalize any internal words of a proper noun that are four letter or longer: World Book Encyclopedia
         c. Capitalize any internal words of a proper noun that are three words or fewer if they are not one of the following:
               i. Prepositions: Ode to Joy (NOT cap the prep to)
               ii. Articles/Noun Markers: “For the Beauty of the Earth”
        d. Capitalize any internal words of a proper noun that are three words or fewer if they are important to the title, regardless of the part of speech:
              i. “This Is My Father’s World” (Is=linking verb important to title; My=pronoun important to title)
              ii. Martin Luther King Jr. Day (Jr. is important to title)


3. Capitalize Day in this holiday because it is part of the official title of the holiday (whereas Christmas day is not since day is not really the holiday’s name).

4. Write Jr. with a capital J, lower case r., period following it–and no comma anywhere. As one of my handbooks tells it: Names do not contain commas!

5. Also note that the official holiday does not have Rev. or Dr. as part of it, though those are titles given to him. Neither one is given in the holiday (just like General or President is not used in George Washington’s Birthday). (That holiday is also called Presidents’ Day.)

6. Lastly, note that this holiday is also called Martin Luther King Day (with no Jr.).

Now you know how to write and punctuate Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Hope it’s a good one!

day 117: commas and periods inside ending quotation marks


Image from kswptim.wordpress

If you are an avid reader, and especially if you are an avid reader of British literature, you may find yourself being led astray in the whole “commas and periods inside or outside of ending quotation mark” quandary.  Why? Because British usage is different than American usage when it comes to this little rule.

The first rule that we teach in our writing books about quotation marks is this: Commas and periods ALWAYS go inside the final quotation mark:
  1. She said, “Let’s go now.”
  2. “Let’s go now,” she said.
  3. He was reading the article, “Baby Geniuses.”
  4. He was reading the article, “Baby Geniuses,” and he lost track of time.
Regardless of the reason for the quotation  mark use (i.e. for a quote in 1 and 2 above or to show a minor work {article title} in 3 and 4), the ending period and comma always go inside the final quotation mark in US usage.
The reason that you might see it differently could be that you are reading a British author. (British usage bases the placement of the comma and period inside or outside of the quotation mark on whether the period/comma is part of the quoted material, like US grammar does for question marks and exclamation marks.) Or, it could be an error—I see this error more often than any other one error.
So remember this for you American writers/students: Periods and commas ALWAYS go inside the final quotation mark—never on the outside, regardless of the use in the sentence.

day 46: happy presidents’ day or president’s day or presidents day?

Tomorrow is Presidents’ Day. Or is that Presidents Day? Or President’s Day?

Well….it depends on which expert you ask! Here is the run down:

1. It is NOT President’s Day
      a. President’s denotes one President…and this holiday honors Washington and Lincoln both…as well as all presidents
     b. President’s Day says that it is the day that belongs to one President (singular)
     c. It follows the rule of writing the noun first (President) then if the word does NOT end in s, put apostrophe s (President’s Day)

2. Some say it is Presidents’ Day
     a. The Gregg Reference Manual (my favorite handbook) cites it as such
     b. This denotes many presidents all owning one day (or at least Lincoln and Washington)
     c. It follows the rule of writing the noun first (Presidents) then if the word ends in s, put an apostrophe on the outside of the s
     d. This is the correct way to show possession of one thing to more than one “owner”

3. Some say it is Presidents Day
     a. The Associated Press Stylebook cites is as such
     b. This method does not denote possession, but rather uses the word President as an adjective (actually a “proper adjective” in that it is an adjective made from a proper noun–some of the time–we will not even get into whether it is (President) or isn’t (president) in this post!)
   c. This is like saying that, that is a Grisham book (as opposed to a book that Grisham owns–Grisham’s book), and it is certainly  not incorrect

So there you have it! More subjectivity in our English language. Happy Presidents’ Day! And Happy Presidents Day!