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Thomson Nelson > Higher Education > Conversations about Writing - Eavesdropping, Inkshedding, and Joining In > Answer to Questions in Chapter 5

Answer to Questions in Chapter 5

In the Introduction to Unit 5 of the text, the following unpunctuated sentence appears, and readers were asked to try to add any necessary punctuation to make it read sensibly:

James where Sam had had had had had had had had had had had the teacher’s approval.


James, where Sam had had "had," had had "had had"; "had had" had had the teacher's approval.


James, where Sam had had "had had," had had "had"; "had had" had had the teacher's approval.

The possible punctuation can vary slightly, depending on whether James or Sam had the right answer to the teacher's question. Apparently the teacher had given out an assignment or a quiz in which students were required to write a particular sentence or to fill in the blanks of an existing sentence; at stake was the correct form and tense of the verb "to have." "Had had" was the correct answer. The semi-colon, commas, and quotation marks do all the work of creating meaning out of an otherwise infuriating string of words.


Student Resources

Bare Bones Writer's Grammar

Glossary: Key Words for a Writer's Grammar

Answer to Question in Chapter 5

Readings - The Place of Run-Ons and Dashes in Writing

Readings - Public Grammar and Private Grammar

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MLA Documentation

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