Punctuation and Show-Don’t-Tell

This is such an exciting week!! 

Pun: "Stop clubbing, seals." Punctuation makes all the difference!

First, Dr. K will be solving all your essay writing problems and your punctuation issues in one lecture (aren’t you amazed?)


THEN! Woot, Woot!  On Thursday, we will be learning about Show Don’t Tell and visualizing the beginning of our descriptive essay (Don’t miss the class, or you will be lost!!)

OK!  Let’s get to it!!

Punctuation Notes

These are the notes for my “Great Punctuation Lecture”

In order to correctly punctuate a complex sentence, you must know the difference between independent and dependent clauses

Independent Clause:  a clause that can stand on its own as a sentence.

Dependent Clause:  a clause that cannot stand on it’s own in a sentence.

Now try using this cheat sheet for commas (that I invented!)

Independent () Dependent Independent () Independent Dependent () Independent
No Punctuation Required!!











Independent = I saw Mary.

I was on my way to the store.

Dependent = On my way to the store

You can also use a semicolon between items in a list of things normally set off with commas:

I went to Eureka, California; Parump, Nevada; and Portland, Oregon.

Punctuation comes BEFORE quotation mark.

Each quotation between people talking is a new paragraph so that you can keep them straight.  A quote within a quote is a single quote.

“I heard her say, ‘no.’”

I heard her just say “’na,’” he said, “which is not TECHNICALLY ‘no.’”

“She doesn’t want Ice Cream,” I said.



The Apostrophe  ‘

Shows possession, or that there is something missing!!

When showing possession, think of the apostrophe as an arrow that points at what owns the thing.  For example:

Joe’s car = Joe owns the car.

Douglas’ car = Douglas owns the car (American English doesn’t put an extra “s” after the apostrophe.)

Mom’s club = If it is “Mom’s club” it is a club for my mom.

Moms’ club = If it is a “Moms’ club” it is a club for moms.

Class of ‘08 = The “20” is missing, and is indicated through the use of an apostrophe.

Three o’clock = The words, “of the clock” are missing.


A colon is a COMMA WITH DRAMA!!

Just like a comma, you must have an independent and a dependent clause.

To whom it may concern: You may have already won!

I went to the store and purchased the following items:  pumpkin, peaches, and pumpernickel bread.

There, Their, They’re

When trying to tell the difference between “they’re,” “their,” and “there,” remember the following sentences:

I’m here in my here.

They’re there in their there.

The sentences are parallel.

I’m (I am) = they’re (they are)

here (a place) = there (a place), and

my (belongs to me) = their (belongs to them).

Also remember that  “there” and “their,” have meaning within!

There — a place

Their –belongs to them


Peer Response is due January 26!  Bring a copy of your essay to class!!!

This Descriptive Essay requires more than the use of descriptive language, it should also make you rethink how an essay can be built.  

The Assignment

Think about an object that is small enough to hold in your hand. Now spend five minutes considering all of the following:

  1. What does it look like?
  2. How heavy is it?
  3. What is it’s texture? If you ran your thumb-nail against it, what would it feel like?
  4. What does it smell like? (Everything has a smell–even a faint smell.)
  5. If you tasted it, what would it taste like?
  6. If you dropped it, what would it sound like? Does it make a sound?
  7. What are your connections to the object? How does it make you feel when you see it?

Now, organize the essay in one of the following ways:


The paper should be at least 3 (all the way to the bottom) pages long.  It can be as long as five (all the way to the bottom) pages long.

Use 12 point font and double-space the essay.

Peer Response

 Peer Response is due January 26!  Bring a copy of your essay to class!!!

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