Punctuation Quiz

I like things like this. Lew Rockwell links to this punctuation quiz today. I agree with the answers, with a couple exceptions. For number 2, the correct answer is given as “no punctuation necessary.” (The sentence reads, “My brother John came to the door with flowers.”) That is correct if you have more than one brother. If John is your only brother, then option 2 is correct: “My brother, John, came to the door with flowers.”

This is why you should not write, “My wife Sharon and I are looking forward to seeing you.” If your wife is observant, she will wonder if your lack of commas around her name indicates that you have one or more secret wives somewhere.

And for number 11, either the second or the third option would be correct. It depends on what the intended sentence is supposed to be, and we cannot determine that based on the question.

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  • Anonymous

    Grammarly says it’s all wrong. This quiz with its passive voice and contractions! Bah!

  • Onlooker from Troy

    Yeah, I’d agree with your points. The brother John one is tricky, for sure. The last one is far too ambiguous.

    Too many people just don’t appreciate the value and importance of proper punctuation. They just see it as being unnecessary and picky. And then they wonder why their communications are so often misunderstood, and why their reading comprehension is terrible (although they probably don’t realize the latter).

    And, of course, it only gets worse in a texting and tweeting world.

  • Anonymous

    Since commas are also used to distinguish items in a list, “My wife, Sharon, and I…” is no less ambiguous. It could mean 2 people, or 3.

  • Anonymous

    I’m a comma junkie, so if anything, I use more than what is prescribed by grammatical rules. Then again, I’m also not one to subscribe to set rules of language, I am more concerned with the successful conveyance of meaning; the other person gets what was being said (the meaning behind it).

    This stems from my own study of linguistics. It occurred to me that if written language was systematized into set rules, that most modern languages (including English) would never have come about in the first place.

  • Anonymous

    What a waste oft time?Please , spare me!

  • Zack

    in the last one there is a missing period from the other option.

  • http://tomwoods.com Tom Woods

    True, but a correct answer to an earlier question also lacked a period.

  • http://tomwoods.com Tom Woods

    How about just not reading it?

  • http://tomwoods.com Tom Woods

    That is true. Context would have to play a part.

  • Anonymous

    Just a tad off topic, but Tom! What IS this??
    “I agree with the answers, with a couple exceptions. ” A couple exceptions?? Where’s the “of”?

  • Freeman Django

    I enjoy this kind of stuff, too.
    I agree with your comments. Also, I wondered about #4. Something’s off about all the choices. It’s an awkward and poorly written sentence no matter which punctuation you try. I suspect it needs to be at least two sentences to adequately convey the idea and the many details:
    “She came to my house last night looking for you. By the time she arrived, you were gone.”
    There is too much information to convey in one, clear sentence. I count 5 important ideas:

    1) She came to my house.
    2) She came over last night.
    3) She was looking for you.
    4) You HAD BEEN at my house earlier.
    5) You were gone when she got there.
    I don’t see that the word “already” adds anything.

  • Anonymous

    It s a deal!

    Subject: Re: New comment posted on Punctuation Quiz

  • abigcoorsman

    Excuse me, sir, but the “of” is not necessary.

  • Anonymous

    Some support for my position. There’s not enough space here for a complete dissertation.

    http://languageandgrammar.com/2008/01/31/you-have-a-couple-of-something-not-a-couple-something/

  • Uawxman

    So was John bringing the flowers or were the flowers already on the door?

  • caitlin

    technically everything for number 11 is wrong. Either punctuation should read as follows:
    We’ll do just one more. or Well, do just one more.
    The word just is misplaced in the sentence.