Bad Blogger (Wednesday's are for Grammar!)

Blogger ate the grammar post. Grammar haters! If you did your homework, unfortunately, Blogger ate it. I'm sure it's very sorry.

Well everyone, your homework was to decide and make a good case for whether or not this sentence was punctuated correctly.

If Mrs. Spit were pregnant, she would not go whitewater rafting.

The correct answer is "was".

There were two big giveaways to this question. Firstly, I told you that I wasn't pregnant. Which meant that this was an indicative mood - a case of either or. Because you knew my state, you knew that I wasn't pregnant. Secondly, remember in the example, I used the example of pregnancy - as a black or white thing(1)Therefore, we would most accurately say: If Mrs. Spit was pregnant, she would not go whitewater rafting.

Who Gets to Post This Week's Coveted Grammar Award

Well, I'm very proud to say that everyone who did their grammar homework passed(2).
This week
- JuliaS
- Excavator
-Sweet Camden Lass
All get the button.
A friendly reminder - your button is only good for a week. If you don't do your homework, you don't get to keep the button. If you don't take the button down, your pants will fall down in public, you will break a nail and your car will begin to belch purple smoke. You may also come home to a mailbox stuffed with zucchini. Honest.

This Week's Lesson: Punctuation
Let's start by looking at the punctuation marks. I'm going to be hauling out the seminal work(3) on the subject, Mind the Stop: A Brief Guide to Punctuation by G.V. Carey. There are, according to my hero, Mr. Carey, two types of punctuation marks: the heavy ones and the light ones. Let's start with the heavy ones.
- The Period or Full Stop
- The Semi-Colon
- The Colon
- The Exclamation Mark
- The Question Mark
- Quotation Marks

The Period
Periods come at the end of sentences. Periods tell us that the sentence has ended.(4) We also use them to denote an abbreviation - for example, Mr.; B.Sc., A.M, P.M.

Mrs. Spit always uses full sentences in the A.M. Sometimes she forgets in the P.M.(5)

The Semi-Colon
A semi-colon separates independent clauses, when they are NOT joined by a co-ordinating conjunction (6). Yes, yes, I can hear you now. This is confusing. Essentially the rule is this: if you could use and, or, but, nor, yet and the like, remove that conjunction and plunk in your semi-colon. Not sure if you have an independent clause? Independent clauses must stand on their own, they should be able to be a sentence in their own right.

Mrs. Spit has a latte; she is not sharing it.

The Very Special, Very Important 'however' Rule.

This is a big deal in Mrs. Spit's world. She gets quite frenzied over it. When you use: however, on the other hand, therefore or the like, you punctuate in a particular way:

Mrs. Spit is a nice lady; however, when you use bad grammar, she becomes irate.

Did you notice the comma after however? Good. Don't forget to put it in.

The Colon
A colon introduces a list of items, can be used to amplify a statement, to introduce formal quotes (this isn't very common) and in a few other particular circumstances.
It is always correct to use a colon in the following circumstances:
- After a Salutation (Dear Ma'am:) - In time (8:40)
- Quoting Chapter and Verse (Romans 5: 1-5)
- To make the title of any book or paper sound more spiffy. See Mr. Carey's book above.

The Exclamation Mark
We use these when we are very excited. Unless you are a teenage girl, you only use 1.
I am quite firm on this!

The Question Mark
Question marks are only used after direct questions. A direct question is a question that demands an answer.

Mr. Spit, did you do your grammar homework?

Quotation Marks
Double quotation marks enclose direct speech -when you are quoting someone else. Some writers may also put short stories, plays, articles and novella's in quotation marks. This is a matter of personal preference.
Single: We use single quotes to offset speech within a quote, to indicate a word is from another language, or to denote sarcasm -'that's nice'.

Mrs. Spit thinks some people are 'precious'. "Why God Bless your little heart" she says, when she meets them.

Your Homework
Punctuate this short paragraph correctly. (you will need to capitalize where appropriate!)

I need to go grocery shopping for a few essentials i need milk eggs bread and a skein of 100 percent cashmere for a new project dear Mr Spit said did you think I wouldn't notice the addition of your essential cashmere safeway doesn't sell wool and I have told the local yarn store to ban you from their doors

Also: for those of you interested in the choose your own question option for 'Wednesday's are for Grammar', can you e-mail me your questions. Don't send them in the comments, as the comments will be full of people doing their homework, right class?

(1) Although, in a world with a 2 week wait, paper pregnancies and the like, I'm not sure how exact this actually is. Perhaps I should have used living and deceased!
(2) Four people did their homework. Now class, this is not acceptable. Geohede had a by, what with the twins and all, but the rest of you? You had a 50% chance of getting it right. Mrs. Spit is extremely disappointed in you.
(3) You have a very dirty mind. Yes, you.
(4) A friendly reminder, you cannot force a sentence to be a sentence by starting with a capital. And ending with a period. It just doesn't work that way. We'll talk about what makes a sentence later.
(5) Did you note that I only used one period? This is a style thing. I find it confusing to use two periods, although technically that would be correct in this instance.
(6) Refresh your memory here.