Meme Monday: Grammar Beyond the Comma

This week’s memes continue the grammar trend beyond the comma.  As always, these memes can be used as classroom posters, to begin mini-lessons, or to simply revel in the fact that you aren’t alone in the world when grammar mistakes make you crazy.

Even CNN made the apostrophe/plural mistake this weekend:

cnn blunder

Enjoy the memes!

alotapostrophepunctuationto - too

Meme Monday: Grammar RULES!

This Monday, we have more comma memes for grammar instruction, review, and practice.  In case you missed it, check out last week’s comma meme post.

The first meme hints at this rule:

In sentences where two independent clauses are joined by connectors such as and, or, but, etc., put a comma at the end of the first clause.

Incorrect:He walked all the way home and he shut the door.

Correct:He walked all the way home, and he shut the door.

Some writers omit the comma if the clauses are both quite short:

Example:I paint and he writes.

The second meme makes this mistake:

Many inexperienced writers run two independent clauses together by using a comma instead of a period. This results in the dreaded run-on sentence or, more technically, a comma splice.

Incorrect:He walked all the way home, he shut the door.

There are several simple remedies:

Correct:He walked all the way home. He shut the door.

Correct:After he walked all the way home, he shut the door.

Correct:He walked all the way home, and he shut the door.

The Oxford-comma support comes from meme 3:

Use commas to separate words and word groups in a simple series of three or more items.

Example: My estate goes to my husband, son, daughter-in-law, and nephew.

Note: When the last comma in a series comes before and or or (after daughter-in-law in the above example), it is known as the Oxford comma. Most newspapers and magazines drop the Oxford comma in a simple series, apparently feeling it’s unnecessary. However, omission of the Oxford comma can sometimes lead to misunderstandings.

Example: We had coffee, cheese and crackers and grapes.

Adding a comma after crackers makes it clear that cheese and crackers represents one dish. In cases like this, clarity demands the Oxford comma.

We had coffee, cheese and crackers, and grapes.

These rules/examples are from  

commas 3 commas 4 commas oxford

Meme Monday: Comma Sense

It’s Meme Monday here at BHP English Headquarters, and today we’re visiting the most used and the most misused punctuation mark, the comma.

Memes can make us laugh, but they can also be valuable teaching tools in the classroom.  They give a quick and often funny saying paired with a visual.  Displaying these in the classroom can help reinforce class rules and expectations or, in the case of today’s post, reinforce or teach grammar rules. (They also make for a more creative/out-of-the-box thinking assignment that could easily be a classwork/homework grade.)

The following memes could be used as warm-up activities where students try to define/identify the comma rule that’s being misused (aka . . . why are these memes funny?), as part of Writing Workshop mini-lessons, or has reminders of and references to comma rules you’ve already taught.

The comma rules our memes are covering today are:

  • Use commas to separate words and word groups in a simple series of three or more items.
  • Use commas to set off the name, nickname, term of endearment, or title of a person directly addressed.

commas 2 commas 5 commas

Introducing . . . Meme Mondays! This Week: Book Censorship

At last year’s in-service, one of the suggestions for the blog was “Meme Mondays,” and so today we roll out the red-carpet for Memes.

To coincide with Banned Books Week, these memes are all about censorship.

censorship students first amendment self censor thought police

A few ways to use memes in your classroom:

  • As warm-ups to start a discussion or concept you’ll be introducing
  • As classroom rules/expectations
  • As discussion starters, enhancers, or “curve-balls”
  • As prompts for writing
  • In a group or paired with another text, as seminar text (the really good memes)
  • As models for memes students will create (based on grammar, literature, authors, current events, etc.) – Mematic is just one free app available for easy meme-making.

Additional resources: