July 7, 2013
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KISS Grammar
Level 6. 1 Studies in Punctuation

Introduction
General Punctuation Exercises
The Logic and Punctuation of Main Clauses (w/Sub)
Punctuation for Meaning and Style
Quotation Marks
 Other Uses of Semicolons
Other Uses of Colons and Dashes
Restrictive/Non-restrictive Modifiers
Editing for Spelling, Punctuation, and Grammar
Bending and Breaking the Rules
Research Projects on Punctuation
     This is a collection of additional exercises on punctuation. For basic material on punctuation, see:
KISS Level 1.7 This section includes the basic instructional material and exercises.
KISS Level 3.1.1 - Compound Main Clauses Because many students have problems with sentence fragments, comma-splices, and run-ons, and with the logic involved in their punctuation, this is probably the most important section for students.

Basic exercises on punctuation are also included among exercises on adjectives, adverbs, S/V/C patterns, and several other constructions. For punctuation directly related to quoting and research papers, see KISS Level KISS Level 6.7.


 
Introduction

     I once read that someone wrote a book that gives 39 rules for the use of commas. Does anyone seriously believe that professional writers obey these 39 rules? Does anyone seriously believe that students would find such rules informative? Beyond some very basics (such as the ending punctuation of sentences), punctuation is an art. Rules? -- No. Norms? -- Yes. But what these norms are can only be learned by observing how writers use the marks of punctuation. 
     And the norms are not simple. Trying to organize materials for such observation is worse than trying to herd cats! New ones keep creeping out of the pages. Under what organizational category does each example belong? All I can say is that I'm trying my best. This book is therefore organized into the following categories:

General Punctuation Exercises

     These are the famous (or infamous) KISS originals--sentences or short passages from which the punctuation and capitalization have been stripped, and students are asked to "fix" them. After they have done so, the most important learning takes place as the students discuss how and why they punctuated the selections. 
   Some of these exercises, taken from longer texts, include an "Original Text" page that you can use as a regular identification exercise after doing the punctuation exercise, or, if you wish, you can use these first and have the students not only analyze the passage, but also to prepare to discuss the punctuation and capitalization.
     This section is sub-divided into the four basic KISS Levels so that students working at KISS Levels 1 and 2 will not become too confused by advanced constructions.
Punctuation for Meaning and Style
     This is a new KISS category. It will focus on a limited number of exercises that show how punctuation adds meaning and style.
The Logic and Punctuation of Main Clauses
      KISS presents this question in Level 3.1, but no matter the grade level at which students do Level 3.1, their sentences (and the sentences that they read) will become longer and more complex. I suggest that each year after students have done Level 3.1, they should do one of these exercises. (See also: "Research Projects on Punctuation," below.)
     For the use of semicolons, colons, and dashes in writing comparison/contrast or general-to-specific see KISS Level 6.6 - Syntax and Writing.
Other Uses of Semicolons
     Whereas the preceding section focuses specifically on main clauses, this section explores how semicolons are used in other ways.


Other Uses of Colons and Dashes

     Currently empty, this section will focus as its title suggests.
Restrictive/Non-restrictive Modifiers
     Also currently empty, this section will expand the distinction that begins in Level 3.2 on restrictive and non-restrictive clauses. The distinction, by the way, is followed up in Level 5.4 on appositives.
Editing for Spelling, Punctuation, and Grammar
     Many state Departments of Education put samples of assessed student's writing on their web pages. These make excellent exercises for editing for punctuation, spelling , and grammar exercises. This section includes some that are used by KISS. For many more of these, see "Writing Samples from State Standards" at the bottom of the KISS "Printable Books" page.
Bending and Breaking the Rules
     As noted above, punctuation is an art. This section includes exercises that illustrate how well-known writers bend or break the rules that are in the typical textbooks.
Research Projects on Punctuation
     Students should not be asked simply to believe whatever teachers say about punctuation. This section explains research projects that students can do to help them decide for themselves.


      A green background in the right column indicates that the exercise is in the printable version.
General Punctuation Exercises
General Punctuation Exercises - KISS Level 1
Ex # 3 from Potter's The Story of Miss Moppet Text AK ToC -
Ex # 3 from Potter's  The Tale of Benjamin Bunny Text AK ToC -

 
Ex # 4 from Potter's  The Tale of Tom Kitten AK Text ToC IG2

 
"The Birds of Killingworth" Text AK ToC -
Marshall's Stories of Robin Hood Chapter 3 Original AK ToC -
Marshall's Stories of Robin Hood Chapter 4 Original AK ToC -
Marshall's Stories of Robin Hood Chapter 5 Original AK ToC -
General Punctuation Exercises - KISS Level 2
From Potter's  The Tale of Johnny Town Mouse Text AK ToC -
From "How Johnny Cricket Saw Santa Claus," by Johnny Gruelle Text AK ToC -
"The Tiger" [From McGuffey's Second Reader] Original AK ToC -
"The Three Tasks" adapted from Grimm Text AK ToC -
Marshall's Stories of Robin Hood Chapter 6 Original AK ToC -
From E. B. White's The Trumpet of the Swan, Ex # 2 Original AK ToC -
Marshall's Stories of Robin Hood Chapter 2 Original AK ToC -
Marshall's Stories of Robin Hood Chapter 8 Original AK ToC -
From Holbrook's "Why the Cat always Falls upon her Feet" Original Text AK ToC -
General Punctuation Exercises - KISS P/A Level 3.1
(preferably with quotation marks)
From E. B. White's The Trumpet of the Swan Original AK ToC G4 PA
Marshall's Stories of Robin Hood Chapter 9 Original AK ToC G5 PA
"The Spring Beauty : An Ojibbeway Legend" Text AK ToC G6 PA
From "The Twelve Months," by Alexander Chodzko Original Text Text AK ToC G9 PA
General Punctuation Exercises - KISS P/A Level 3.2
(preferably with quotation marks)
From Vredenburg's "Prince Cheri" Original AK ToC G5 PA
From Holbrook's  "The ... First Moles" (Ex # 2) Text AK ToC G6 PA
The Opening Sentences of Jane Austen's Mansfield Park (No " ") Original AK ToC G11 PA
General Punctuation Exercises - KISS Level 4
From Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland AK ToC G9 PA
Tom Swifties, Ex # 3 (Apostrophes and Quotation Marks) AK ToC -
Aesop's "Belling the Cat" (Milo Winter) Original AK ToC 1YM; IG10
Aesop's "The Flies and the Honey-Pot"  Original AK ToC -
This is a combined punctuation and then sentence-combining exercise.
From The Master of Ballantrae, by R. L. Stevenson Original AK ToC -
The Opening Sentences of Jane Austen's Northanger Abbey Original AK ToC -
Golding, William, "Thinking as a Hobby," (Ex # 8, includes parallel infinitive phrases as fragments) Text AK ToC -
Tom Swifties, Ex # 1 (Apostrophes and Quotation Marks) AK ToC -
Marshall's Stories of Robin Hood Chapter 7 Original AK ToC -
Tom Swifties, Ex # 2 (Apostrophes and Quotation Marks) AK ToC -
Tom Swifties, Ex # 4 (Apostrophes and Quotation Marks) AK ToC -
Tom Swifties, Ex # 5 (Apostrophes and Quotation Marks) AK ToC -
From "Alchemy," by Lewis Thomas (Part One) AK ToC -
From "Alchemy," by Lewis Thomas (Part Two) AK ToC -
The Logic and Punctuation of Main Clauses
(with Subordinate Clauses)
From Vredenburg's "The Sleeping Beauty" Original AK ToC IG5
From Lassie, Come Home, by Eric Knight (Ex # 1) AK ToC IG5
From Lassie, Come Home, by Eric Knight (Ex # 2) AK ToC IG6
From Shakespeare's Julius Caesar Act 4, Scene 2, 20-27 AK  ToC -
From Twain's "Corn-pone Opinions" (Ex # 4) Original AK ToC -
From Shakespeare's Julius Caesar Act 4, Scene 2, 270-276 AK  ToC -
From "The Cat That Walked by Himself" in Rudyard Kipling's Just So Stories
Punctuation Exercise Original AK -
     This story may raise some eyebrows, but this selection makes an interesting punctuation exercise because Kipling used semicolons plus conjunctions to separate main clauses. (This is typical of many older works, but is no longer in style.)
Golding, William, "Thinking as a Hobby," Ex # 2 AK Text ToC -
The Opening Paragraph of Persuasion, by Jane Austen (Semicolons in a Series) AK ToC -
Punctuation for Meaning and Style
From A Dog of Flanders by Ouida (Parallel subordinate clauses separated by semicolons, then a dash and a colon) AK ToC -
A Study in Punctuation and Ellipsis Based on "The Lagoon," by Joseph Conrad AK Text ToC -
Quotation Marks
Single Quotes; Words as Words; Brackets; Three Dots
Instructional Material
Quotations within quotations
Quotations within quotations are indicated by single quotation marks ('...').

In the following sentences from Agatha Christie's Postern of Fate, Tuppence is indicating the emptiness of "his" speech by quoting examples of the interjections that fill it.

     "Most of his sentences were short," said Tuppence, "and consisted of mainly 'well, you know,' or 'you see, it was like this' or 'yes, and then you know.' Anyway, 'you know' was always a component part of everything he said." (197-98)

 
Other Uses of Semicolons
From The Black Tower by P. D. James
(Semicolons that separate compound direct objects.)
Original AK ToC -
From Mark Twain's "Corn-pone Opinions" (Ex # 3) Semicolons That Separate Finite Verb Phrases AK Text ToC -
From Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter Semicolons to Separate Subordinate Clauses Original AK ToC -
"The Lost Phoebe," by Theodore Dreiser  (Semicolons in a Series of Appositives) Original AK Text ToC -
This seventy-six-word main clause should help students see why semicolons are used to separate items in a series when those items themselves include commas. In this case, we have a series of appositives.
From The Black Tower by P. D. James
(Noun Absolutes?)
Original AK ToC -
Parallel Construction: From Robert L. Heilbroner's The Worldly Philosophers (With a fragment, plus semicolons that separate subordinate clauses)
AK
ToC -
From Robert L. Heilbroner's The Worldly Philosophers
Semicolons that Separate Parallel Subordinate Clauses:
AK ToC -
Two semicolons separate three "if" subordinate clauses in one 141-word main clause. It may be that, as I write this I am tired, or it may be that I am stupid, or it may be that I too have been "trained" by reading to write longer main clauses, but I cannot figure out how to decombine this sentence and arrive at essentially the same meaning. It might be interesting to have your students try.
Other Uses of Colons and Dashes
Poe, Edgar Allan, The Opening of "The Tell-Tale Heart" Original AK ToC -
A Review of Restrictive and Non-restrictive Modifiers 

     Clauses (and other constructions) that restrict or limit the meaning of the word that they modify should not be set off by commas. Clauses (and other constructions) that simply give additional information are usually set off by commas. Often, whether something is restrictive or non-restrictive depends on the context:
Restrictive: The man who stole the car got away. 
Non-Restrictive: The man, who stole the car, got away.
The restrictive version of the preceding would be used if readers already knew that the car had been stolen. The clause "who stole the car" thus identifies (restricts the meaning of) "man." For example: "Two men robbed the bank. The man who stole the car got away." The non-restrictive version assumes that the identity of "man" is already clear. For example: "A man and a woman robbed the bank. The man, who stole the car, got away." 


Parentheses ( ) can be used to set off explanatory or other non-restrictive information: 
The door-sill of the cave shines with a row of golden beads (small lights, to guide the foot) – it is irresistible. (Christopher Morley)
Editing for Spelling, Punctuation, and Grammar
     Reminder: The primary purpose of KISS is to enable students to analyze and intelligently discuss the sentence structure and grammar of their own writing and that of their peers. Each Practice/Application section includes slots for a series of five exercises based on a prompt and samples from a state DoE writing assessment document. In two of the exercises, students are asked to edit the writing sample. The main idea of the editing exercises is to have students discuss their versions, and thus the spelling, punctuation, and other grammatical problems in the original. The “Analysis Keys” for these exercises are “edited” versions, but alternatively, you can use these edited versions as analysis exercises. You can also use these samples as total examples of responses to the writing prompts—content, focus, organization, details, etc. 
     In the Practice/Application books, two other exercises invite the students to do a statistical analysis of two papers from the same set of samples. (These are indexed in KISS Level 6.5.) In the final exercise in the P/A books, students are asked to write their own response to the prompt and then to analyze it. In the on-line version of Level 6.1, the “ToC” links will take you to a complete set where you can find the prompt and more exercises.

     In the printable version, I have included the unedited version, the edited version, and the analysis keys for only two exercises. (They take up a lot of space.) But to suggest the usefulness of these sets from state Departments of Education, I have included transcribed but unedited samples of five papers written by third graders. They are all the third grade samples from the 2001 Student Guide for Arizona's Instrument to Measure Standards. As you read them, consider the problems that teachers must have when they have to try to teach—in the same classroom? —students with such a wide range of abilities. And remember that these samples are of the writing of third graders. If you examine similar samples from higher grade levels, you will probably agree that the span from the weakest to strongest becomes much bigger.

The Writing of Third Graders
"My Porclain Doll," by a Third Grade Writer (S01) Edited ToC -
"My Kitten," by a Third Grade Writer (S02) Edited ToC -
"Grila Alien," by a Third Grade Writer (S03) Edited ToC -
"My Friend," by a Third Grade Writer (S04) Edited ToC -
"Toy," by a Third Grade Writer (S05) Edited ToC -
The Writing of Fourth Graders
"A Surprise Breakfast," by a Fourth Grade Writer (G07) Edited ToC -
"Mertle Beach," by a Fourth Grade Writer (G01) Edited ToC -
"Swimming," by a Fourth Grade Writer (TA-3) Edited ToC -
"A New School," by a Fourth Grade Writer (TA-5) Edited ToC -
"The Local Diving Board," by a 4th Grade Writer (G08) Edited ToC -
"Gymnastics," by a 4th Grade Writer (TA-4) Edited ToC -
Bending and Breaking the Rules
Comma Splices and Other Questions about Commas
From Vredenburg's My Favorite Fairy Tales AK ToC -
From Stories of Robin Hood Told to the Children Conjunction without a comma, or commas without a conjunction) AK ToC -
Famous Quotations ("And," "or," "but," with and without a comma) AK ToC -
From The Firmament of Time, by Loren Eiseley
Three compound main clauses joined without a final conjunction.
AK ToC -
Fragments
"Thoreau," by Henry Seidel Canby (Parallel Subordinate Clause Fragments - A Study in Style) Original AK ToC -
Ex # 3 from Nina Bawden's Carrie's War  AK ToC -
Mixed and Other
From Vredenburg's "Beauty and the Beast" Text AK ToC -
From Vredenburg's My Favorite Fairy Tales AK ToC -
From the "Introduction" by Irwin Edman to "Justin Martyr, Christian" AK ToC -
Hackworth, David H., From "The Fighter's Badge" A colon, and two semicolons that separate finite verb phrases Original AK Text ToC -
From A Dog of Flanders by Ouida (Ex # 1) AK ToC -
Research Projects on Punctuation
     There are a number of research projects that students can do here, especially after they finish Level 3. These include: the use of commas to set of non-restrictive modifiers, the use of commas (and/or semicolons) with "and," "or," or "but" to join main clauses, and, of course, the use of semicolons, colons, and dashes to join main clauses.
     The best way to do these is to focus on texts (or shorter selections from them). The focus of a study can be either on the punctuation mark itself (How do writers use semicolons?) or on the punctuation of particular constructions (How do writers set off interjections?). If possible, students should work individually or in small groups so that they can share (and compare) their results. Students could also write an explanation of what they did and their results. Teachers could then save these for the information of future students. (If you put these on the internet, let me know and remind me to put links to them here.)
Mark Twain's "Corn-pone Opinions" -- A Study in Semicolons
Introduction Data Sheet Discussion Text -
     This is a model for studies that students can do themselves. A general belief among many teachers is that semicolons are used to separate main clauses, preferably clauses that in some way contrast.  Twain's essay includes 45 semicolons. The relevant sentences are collected in the "Data Sheet" and individually analyzed and discussed in the "Discussion." General conclusions are included in the "Introduction." You can have students study this model, and then assign groups to make similar studies of different texts.