National Punctuation Day

It’s National Punctuation Day! Have fun! Celebrate!

Here are two websites to get you started:

www.NationalPunctuationDay.com (suggested by my friend Bev Lerner)

And just for fun: Victor Borge’s Phonetic Punctuation

Here’s a quick punctuation quiz. Read the five sentences below and correct any punctuation errors. When you’re finished, scroll down for the answers.

1.  We just got back from our trip to New York, it was a wonderful vacation.

2.  We spent a week there and visited: the Statue of Liberty, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the Bronx Zoo.

3.  Next year we’re thinking about visiting Washington D.C.; the nations capital and a fascinating place.

4.  Although, we might take the girls’ back to New York instead.

5.  A trip to Europe, if we can save enough money is our ultimate goal.

THE ANSWERS

Every item contains at least one punctuation mistake. Here are the corrected versions, along with explanations.

1.  We just got back from our trip to New York. It was a wonderful vacation. OR We just got back from our trip to New York; it was a wonderful vacation.  [Handy rule: “If it starts with it, it’s a sentence.”]

2.  We spent a week there and visited the Statue of Liberty, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the Bronx Zoo.  [No colon. Use a colon only if a sentence stops before a list. Incidentally, the Oxford comma after “Metropolitan Museum of Art” is optional. Don’t let anyone tell you it’s wrong to use it or not use it.]

3.  Next year we’re thinking about visiting Washington D.C., the nation’s capital and a fascinating place.  [A semicolon is like a period. If a period won’t work, a semicolon won’t either. This is actually a Comma Rule 3 sentence. Nation’s capital = capital of the nation and requires an apostrophe.]

4.  Although, we might take the girls’ back to New York instead.  [Three things are seriously wrong here! First, never put a comma after although. Second, anything that starts with although is an extra idea and must be glued on to a real sentence. Third, girls don’t own anything in this sentence: No apostrophe. See below for suggestions about correcting this fragment.]

However, we might take the girls back to New York instead. OR

Next year we’re thinking about visiting Washington D.C., the nation’s capital and a fascinating place, although we might take the girls back to New York instead.

5.  A trip to Europe, if we can save enough money, is our ultimate goal.  [Another Comma Rule 3 sentence.]

How did you do?

Man propping up a comma

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