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Notes for
The Tale of Johnny Town Mouse
by Beatrix Potter

[Original Text]

Ex # 1 - Punctuation AK - L6.1
Ex # 2 - Mixed Complements AK   L1.3. S/V/Mix
Ex # 3 - Prepositional Phrases AK  G3 L2.2.3 PP Embed
Ex # 4 - Compounds AK  G3 L1.4 Compound
Ex # 5 - "To" Plus a Verb as a Complement AK - L2.1.6 FV/Verbals
Ex # 6 - Is It a Finite Verb? (Verbals) [very difficult] AK  - L2.1.6 FV/Verbals
Ex # 7 - Pronouns as Subjects AK  - L3.1.2 SC_L1

     It is interesting to note the fragment and two comma-splices in this tale. [I am assuming that the Gutenberg edition of the text is correct, but even if it is not, other published writers use similar fragments and splices.] The fragment is a subordinate clause punctuated as a sentence:

When up the sandy path all spick and span with a brown leather bag came Johnny Town-mouse!
As teachers, we tend to jump on such fragments as errors, probably more heavily than we should.
   The comma-splices also echo "errors" that we as teachers "correct" in students' writing:
1. You have come at the best of all the year, we will have herb pudding and sit in the sun.
2. One place suits one person, another place suits another person.
Many writers would use a colon or a dash in the first sentence, since the second main clause explains why it is the "best" of all the year. A semicolon would probably be the choice of many writers for the second sentence, since the clauses imply a contrast between "one" place and person as opposed to "another" place and person.
     The main point here is that the rules of punctuation are not as clear and rigid as many people think. Neither of the splices makes its sentence difficult to read, so there is no "error" here. It is a matter of style.


This text and illustrations are from Beatrix Potter's The Tale of Johnny Town-Mouse,
New York, Frederick Warne & Co., Inc. (1918).