When incorrect punctuation results in cannabalism


Hahaha!!! Maybe I’m just a punctuation geek, but I think this is AWESOME. Credit goes to the good folks at Zazzle. Off to order this poster for our classroom, but first an ACT comma tip:

Remember that on ACT English, it is much more common to remove commas (or refrain from putting them in) than it is to ever insert a comma. I tell students that on the ACT, an underlined selection needs to SCREAM for a comma. The ACT folks know that students tend to overuse commas, so they repeatedly try to get students to either insert unneeded commas or keep unnecessary commas in an underlined selection by erroneously choosing ‘no change.’ We always tell students, “When in doubt, take the comma out!”

On the ACT, when do you need a comma? By far, these two situations are most common:
1) A shift/pause/change of flow (as in the grandma example)
2) A ‘comma sandwich’. This is when you need to put a comma on either side of a nonessential piece of information. Some examples:

That day, which happens to be my birthday, is the day of the American Idol finale.
(No one really cares that it’s your birthday besides for you. In this example, ‘which happens to be my birthday’ is sandwiched between two commas since it is not essential at all to the meaning of the sentence. If you took out the sandwiched phrase, the sentence would still have the same exact meaning.)

A few more examples of a comma sandwich:

Sarah usually parks in her favorite illegal parking spot without repercussions. In this case, however, she got slammed with a sizeable parking ticket.

The atmosphere in this restaurant is peaceful and elegant. The food, on the other hand, is absolutely terrible.