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Punctuation challenge

Would you like a real challenge? Now look at the following unedited extract from an essay on stromatolites.

Walter (1973) states that there are many types of stromatolites, but they are all the same and are only different because of the way that they have responded to the environment that they are growing in, like branching ones are branching because they are torn apart at the tops, and elongate ones are elongate because of the direction of the currents which change direction twice a day when the moon affects the tides which are high in the areas that stromatolites grow in today, like the ones at Shark Bay and other places that have high salinities and are protected from predators like snails and diatoms so that we can still go there and visit them to look at their shapes, while others are fine flat layers and that means that they grow in sheltered environments like shallow lakes because any currents would rip them apart to make branching stromatolites like the ones mentioned above.

How could you improve this paragraph? If you were marking this assignment, what mark out of ten would you give it?

  1. Read it out loud to yourself. How many sentences does it REALLY include?

    0,0,1
    Incorrect.

    Try again.
    Incorrect.

    Try again.
    Correct!


  2. What is the subject of the first sentence?

    1,0,0
    Correct!
    Incorrect.

    Try again.
    Incorrect.

    Try again.


  3. What is the main verb in the third sentence?

    0,1,0
    Incorrect.

    Try again.
    Correct!
    Incorrect.

    Try again.


  4. What common errors do you think this writer has made?

    0,0,0,0,1
    Incorrect.

    Try again.
    Incorrect.

    Try again.
    Incorrect.

    Try again.
    Incorrect.

    Try again.
    Correct!

    You could leave out "but they are all the same" if you go on to say they're different. There are also some problems with the punctuation.


  5. Try editing the paragraph yourself.

    Walter (1973) states that there are many types of stromatolites, but they are all the same and are only different because of the way that they have responded to the environment that they are growing in, like branching ones are branching because they are torn apart at the tops, and elongate ones are elongate because of the direction of the currents which change direction twice a day when the moon affects the tides which are high in the areas that stromatolites grow in today, like the ones at Shark Bay and other places that have high salinities and are protected from predators like snails and diatoms so that we can still go there and visit them to look at their shapes, while others are fine flat layers and that means that they grow in sheltered environments like shallow lakes because any currents would rip them apart to make branching stromatolites like the ones mentioned above.
    Check this version against your own!

    Here's a possible edited version of this paragraph. Note that there are many different possible answers. Remember that if you make changes to the punctuation you may also need to make other changes.

    Walter (1973) states that there are many types of stromatolites, which differ because of the way that they have responded to the environment. For example, branching stromatolites are branching because they are torn apart at the top by wave action, and elongate ones are elongated because of the influence of the currents and tides. Such types of stromatolites occur in places which experience high tides, such as Shark Bay. Some types occur in places that have high salinity and are protected from predators like snails and diatoms, while others are fine flat layers indicating that they grow in sheltered environments like shallow lakes where they are protected from wave action and currents...
3;2;4
Walter (1973);stromatolites;states
states;occur;are
omission of punctuation;omission of main verb;incorrect use of verbs;incorrect word order;including too much information
word outputDownload a printable version of this page (.doc)
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