Sunday, February 1, 2015

A CAT and A COMMA

Grammar.  Especially English grammar.  How does anyone learn all of this stuff?

Do you think they still diagram sentences in grade school anymore?  Prepositions, adjectives, nouns, articles, conjunctions ... sheesh!  These days I can't explain WHY something looks or sounds wrong, I just know it.  And how punctuation sure does change the way something reads.  We need a Special Victims Unit to find these authors and get them educated.

Years ago we came upon a book called Eats, Shoots and Leaves (by Lynne Truss) who obviously is more concerned about the death of our current grammatical state and improper punctuation.  It quickly became one of our favorites.  The author visited Portland and we went to listen ... and get signed books.  We bought quite a few of them ... for Kate, for Kate's English teacher, for the office where Ralph worked (he was always red lining for his professionals).


And that pause can change the entire meaning of a sentence.  The favorite example is:

A woman without her man, is nothing.
OR
A woman, without her, man is nothing.

See what a comma does for you?  It can be the difference between life and death.

Let's eat Grandma!
OR ...
Let's eat, Grandma!



4 comments:

  1. I love that little book. I hope they still diagram sentences. It's the only real way to learn the parts of written speech but from the looks of the way many young people write, I doubt they do.

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    1. That used to be my favorite thing to do. Geek!

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  2. LOL
    I'm pretty sure that they do not still diagram sentences. My friend was an English teacher, and they stopped diagraming sentences before she retired, but she kept doing it. Maybe it's different where you live.

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    1. Just like some states are no longer requiring cursive writing! But really ... what does every get handwritten. Even checks are going out of style.

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