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PUNCTUATION

Punctuate this sentence so it is meaningful:

John, where Mary had had had had had had had had had had been preferred by the teacher.

Apparently, John and Mary are discussing their English homework assignment in which John's answer was marked wrong:

John, where Mary had had "had had," had had "had".  "Had had" had been preferred by the teacher.

Web surfer Henry Taves wrote me to say he can go one "had" better if "had had" had had the teacher's approval.  OK, that example was a bit contrived, I'll admit.  So do you still doubt that punctuation is important?  Consider this incorrectly punctuated "dear John" letter:

Dear John:

I want a man who knows what love is all about. You are generous, kind, thoughtful. People who are not like you admit to being useless and inferior. You have ruined me for other men. I yearn for you. I have no feelings whatsoever when we're apart. I can be forever happy--will you let me be yours?

Gloria

What Gloria really meant was this:

Dear John:

I want a man who knows what love is. All about you are generous, kind, thoughtful people, who are not like you. Admit to being useless and inferior. You have ruined me. For other men, I yearn. For you, I have no feelings whatsoever. When we're apart, I can be forever happy. Will you let me be?

Yours,

Gloria

Web surfer Ron Howell brought to my attention a T-shirt he saw, bearing two statements, identical except for punctuation:

"Woman, without her, man is nothing" (on front)
"Woman without her man, is nothing" ( on back)

 

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