viernes, 26 de febrero de 2010

Punctuation Does Matter

Once again I´m trying to make my students see the importance of proper punctuation (check a former Post about Punctuation in this blog )
We read -and explained- the story of the panda who eats, shoots and leaves as printed on the back cover of Lynne Truss´s book, because I wanted them to see what a difference a comma makes.
This is the story:

"A panda walks into a cafe. He orders a sandwich, eats it, then draws a gun and fires two shots in the air.
"Why?" asks the confused waiter, as the panda makes towards the exit. The panda produces a badly punctuated wildlife manual and tosses it over his shoulder. "I'm a panda," he says, at the door. "Look it up." The waiter turns to the relevant entry and, sure enough, finds an explanation. "Panda. Large black-and-white bear-like mammal, native to China. Eats, shoots and leaves."

The use of the comma must be a tough issue for many students because they either overuse it or they never seem to find a suitable place to include it:

There is much more to punctuation than commas but the apostrophe gives both teachers and students as many headaches. Mistakes like the one in the following picture do happen (which shows that some native speakers of English seem to have a hard time trying to use it correctly):

Would you like to see more photos of the wrong use of apostrophes? Click here or here . In the internet there are lots of apostrophe related links. The introduction to some of these webpages is really funny; check this one , for example, with the following description of the site: a place where we laugh, cry and scream at the ritual abusers of the innocent little apostrophe.

I like the following poster very much, it comes from Bob the Angry Flower Archive Website
Click on it to enlarge it and read about the correct and incorrect uses of the apostrophe.

Remember, punctuation really does matter, and sometimes it´s even a matter of life and death

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