Punctuation Puzzle – Plural Nouns and Passed-Past Confusion With Cinderella

Welcome to another Punctuation Puzzle! Yep…a puzzle that you solve by putting in the correct punctuation and words/usage fixes–along with explanations and answers about each error! Perfect for students and teachers alike!

Today’s Puzzle is about plural nouns and past/passed confusion…..and it uses an interesting sentence from one of our Write-for-a-Month/Write On books about Cinderella. Read more….

Punctuation Puzzle: Proper Nouns and Quotations with Pinocchio


By Zac Kieser and Donna Reish


Oh, proper nouns and quotations. Where do I start to explain the myriad of difficulties that students (and adults!) have with these. Am I starting to sound more like Lamenting Lady than Language Lady in the openings to these Punctuation Puzzles? If so, I am sorry! When you have taught fifty to one hundred students (in second through twelfth grades) English/language arts every semester for nearly twenty years (and you write books and products for them literally every year for nearly two decades as well), you just start to really feel sorry for these precious people who have to navigate the grammar waters with all of its exceptions and varying rules. (Sympathetic, she is!?)


Punctuation Puzzle – Prepositional Phrases and Commas With Dumbo

By Donna Reish & Zac Kieser


Comma rules are super subjective. As a matter of fact, I tell my upper high schoolers that commas following sentence openers will generally not be the errors in SAT/ACT/PSAT testing sentences. These rules are that subjective! I hear and recognize all of the commas in Zac’s examples in this week’s Punctuation Puzzle. So even though these rules are subjective, we have to have some guidelines to follow, or students will not learn to put commas in anywhere!


I follow an important sequence in teaching prepositions to students (one that anyone can use whether you use my materials or not):


Punctuation Puzzle – Raise/Rise and Indirect Quotations With Cinderella


Zac and Cinderella do a great job explaining the RISE and RAISE problems in today’s puzzle. But RISE and RAISE cannot be taught alone—so Zac has prepared two more Punctuation Puzzles scheduled to follow this one about those similar confusing word pairs—Set/Sit and Lay/Lie.

I will leave you without a couple of teaching tips—and I will drip more teaching tips in the next two weeks of confusing word puzzles. There are some definite ways, phrasing, and order to help with these difficult concepts, and our students deserve the very easiest way to learn complex topics such as these:


Punctuation Puzzle – Colons With Belle & Beast

 By Donna Reish & Zac Kieser

Colons are seriously hard! If people use them at all, they often use them wrong. Generally speaking, people use colons following a speech tag in two instances (both of which are incorrect):

a. Following any speech tag— Donna said: “This is how you use colons.”

b. Following a long speech tag (they automatically think a long speech tag warrants a colon following it)— Donna, while teaching ten high school boys in mid-May, said: “This is how you use colons.”

Here’s some of the scoop before Zac gives you a run for your money with his colon puzzle! 🙂



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