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Lesson 8 – Periods and Commas

Subject:

Language Arts  

Grades:

9, 10, 11, 12  

Title – Writing and Grammar Unit – Lesson 8
By – John Foley
Primary Subject – Language Arts
Grade Level – 9-12


Unit Contents:
Introduction
Lesson 1:   Writing by Ear
Lesson 2:   Nouns
Lesson 3:   Active and Passive Verbs
Lesson 4:   Modify in Moderation
Lesson 5:   Coordinating Conjunctions
Lesson 6:   Simple Sentences
Lesson 7:   Compound and Complex Sentences
Lesson 8:   Periods and Commas (below)
Lesson 9:   Logic and Questions
Lesson 10: Interjections and Exclamation Points
Study Guide
Writing and Grammar Test


Lesson 8: Periods and Commas

      Punctuation plays an important role in a writer’s style. Writers are concerned with sound and flow, and punctuation affects both of these key elements. Let’s look at two popular writers, Cormac McCarthy and Garrison Keillor. McCarthy rarely uses commas in his writing. Consider the following passage from his novel (which later became an Oscar-winning film)

No Country for Old Men

      :

They say the eyes are the windows to the soul. I don’t know what them eyes was the windows to and I guess I’d as soon not know. But there is another view of the world out there and other eyes to see it and that’s where this is going. It has done brought me to a place in my life I would not have thought I’d of come to. Somewhere out there is a true and living prophet of destruction and I don’t want to confront him.

      Next, read the following passage from Keillor’s

Lake Wobegon Days

      , about a fictional town in Minnesota that features women who are smart, men who are good-looking, and children who are all above average:

The first white folk known to have spent time in the Wobegon area were Unitarian missionaries from Boston, led by Prudence Alcott, a distant and wealthy relative of the famous Alcotts of Concord, a woman who sent a stereopticon and a crate of boysenberry jam to Henry Thoreau at his cabin by the pond, although he never mentioned her in his book.

    Compare and contrast the two passages. What difference does the punctuation make in the sound and flow?

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