Imperial Language Lesson #473

Today’s lesson has to do with the importance of proper punctuation and the potential for misunderstandings that may occur with the lack thereof.

Example #1: “It’s tough to leave your girlfriends behind.

Simple and straightforward enough, no?

Example #2: “It’s tough to leave your girlfriend’s behind.

‘Nuff sed.

Remember kids: “Punctuation is the key to conveying meaning.”— B.C.

That concludes today’s lesson. You may now discuss amongst yourselves.



  1. 1
    skh growls and barks:

    Uh, first?

  2. 2

    When I was a senior in high school (class of ’77) we had an English teacher intern who wrote the following sentence on the board, exactly so:

    There is absolutely no excuse for poor grammar, punctuation, or, spelling.

    When a couple of us tittered about it, she got damned indignant and demanded to know what our problems were. Turns out, she hadn’t realized her own error. She not only hadn’t realized it, she initially insisted she was correct … It became something of a catchphrase with us after that.

    I always wondered if we drove her to a new career choice.

  3. 3
    skh growls and barks:

    That said, I can say that the book Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation addresses your concerns exactly. It is a humorous but concise study of how punctuation affects the meaning of not only written but spoken communication.

    Shit. That sounds like sumpin’ I had to write during the “Book Review” portion of English Comp I.

  4. 4
    skh growls and barks:

    Read the reviews at for some entertainment value.

  5. 5

    Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation

    Coincidentally, I was sent a copy of this for Christmas! It was on my Amazon wishlist. 😉

  6. 6
    LC Tondog growls and barks:

    Hahah! Nice one BC!

  7. 7
    Stephen growls and barks:

    “…it was hard when I kissed her good-bye…”

  8. 8
    jakethesnake growls and barks:

    I wanna kiss her but, she won’t let me
    I wanna whisper sweet nothin’s in her-ear
    I wanna hold her behind, closed doors and more
    I wanna kiss her but, she won’t let me

  9. 9
    Elephant Man growls and barks:

    “whut is that punkuation thing yu stoopid americans speek abowt of? im sure thet whutever it is it wuz invented in belgium becuz we got airbus not stoopid boeing!?” — Bruno the belgian ass-monkey

    “I put “The punk” in punctuation!” — Um Yeah

    Sorry, just channeling moonbats. 😉

  10. 10
    Elephant Man growls and barks:


    Court strips Anna Nicole Smith of Millions

    The 9th Circuit Court took away her entire estate that she “inherited” from that rich old geezer!

    What’s a gold-digging bimbo to do?


  11. 11
    Gene 6-Pack growls and barks:

    Does she get her virginity back?

  12. 12
    Cameron growls and barks:

    And for those who are still confused about the apostrophe, Bob the Angry Flower has a fun and easy guide.

  13. 13
    N. O'Brain, IMfUI growls and barks:

    There was an old song, “I Wonder Who’s Kissing Her Now”

    I could never figure out what a “Now” is.

    N. O’Brain
    Imperial Minister for Useless Information

  14. 14
    aelfheld growls and barks:

    Edwardum occidere nolite timere bonum est

  15. 15
    aelfheld growls and barks:

    Dames are indude with vertues excellent.
    What man is he can proue that they offend?
    Daily they serue the Lord with good intent:
    Seld they displease their husbands: to their end
    Alwaies to please them well they doe intend:
    Neuer in them one shall finde shrewdnes much.
    Such are their humors, and their grace is such.


    Dames are indude with vertues excellent?
    What man is he can proue that? they offend
    Daily: they serue the Lord with good intent
    Seld: they displease their husbands to their end
    Alwaies: to please them well they doe intend
    Neuer: in them one shall finde shrewdnes much.
    Such are their humors, and their grace is such.

    Courtesy of Anatoly Vorobey at Live Journal

  16. 16
    LC & IB Guy S. growls and barks:

    This brings to mind an old one sided 78 my grandparents had in a corner of their basement.

    “She’s got freckles on her, but she’s pretty”

  17. 17
    Elephant Man growls and barks:

    Does she get her virginity back?

    I’m afraid not.

    Unlike a lightbulb, she can’t be unscrewed.


  18. 18
    DumbAss Tanker growls and barks:

    “The Elements of Style,” by E. B. White, is an excellent, classic work on the subject, and a very easy read as well.

    I know an intelligent and highly experienced fellow lawyer who never did get straight the difference between “its” and “it’s.” Of course, he does live in Brooklyn….

  19. 19
    tomaig growls and barks:

    In a barroom men’s room:

    “We aim to please….You aim too, please.

    Happy New Year to all……

  20. 20
    N. O'Brain, IMfUI growls and barks:

    E-man, LOL!!!!!

  21. 21
    Supernatural Rabbit Scribe growls and barks:

    Tom where Harry hah had had had had had had had had had had the grammarians approval.

  22. 22
    LC Valerie growls and barks:

    Thanks for the chuckle.

    Everyone, a safe and happy celebration time tonight.
    Looking forward to a another year facing life with the Emperor and the Rotties!*

    Remember our troops!

    *The Rotties – shamelessly stolen from LC Brendan

  23. 23
    oldbill growls and barks:

    Time flies like an arrow!
    Fruit flies like a banana!!

    Gosh, I love the english language!

  24. 24
    Greg growls and barks:

    Some judge intelligence by the use grammar, I estimate based upon their knowledge of eignvectors. The exceptional are gifted in each. The moonbats, typically in the former.

  25. 25
    Mike M growls and barks:

    Mr. Grammar Guy,

    Which of the following is correct?

    “Robert McClelland and Um Yeah frequently speak out their assholes.”

    “Robert McClelland and Um Yeah frequently speak out. They’re assholes.”

  26. 26
    LC Brendan growls and barks:



  27. 27
    Lord Spatula I, King & Tyrant growls and barks:



    It’s Boobert McFuckface&#160 and Dumm No.

    Please, let’s use proper&#160 nouns from now on. (grin)

  28. 28
    N. O'Brain, IMfUI growls and barks:

    Hanging is too good for a man who makes puns; he should be drawn and quoted.

    – Fred Allen

  29. 29
    N. O'Brain, IMfUI growls and barks:

    He who hesitates is frost.

    -Eskimo proverb

  30. 30
    N. O'Brain, IMfUI growls and barks:

    When you come to a fork in the road, take it.

    ?Yogi Berra.

  31. 31
    N. O'Brain, IMfUI growls and barks:

    And befor I leave, one thought for you to ponder at the beginning of the new year:

    Eagles may soar, but weasels don’t get sucked into jet engines.

    Have a safe and happy New Year’s Eve, everyone.

  32. 32
    Beth growls and barks:

    Somehow I knew Dum No would be mentioned somewhere in here after a grammar post.

  33. 33
    Um Yeah growls and barks:

    what a stupidd post i cant understand any of it

  34. 34
    LC Led Robster growls and barks:

    yeah, this should be made easier for Um Yeah to understand: “Leave no Child behind”

  35. 35
    Drumwaster growls and barks:

    Tom where Harry had had had had had had had had had had had the grammarians approval.

    Popping that into my Handy-Dandy Punctuate-O-Matic (TM), I get:

    Tom, where Harry had had “had”, had had “had had”. “Had had” had had the grammarian’s approval.

    What do I win?

    Oh, BTW, Happy New Year, all!

  36. 36
    LC Mamapajamas growls and barks:

    Try this one:

    That that is is that that is not is not is not that it it is.

  37. 37
    LC Revandryn, G.L.O.R. growls and barks:

    Lest anyone think I’m heartless with my above suggestion, feel free to check out Know who you’re contributing to.

    Fair warning: remove all breakable objects within reach before clicking on the above web site.

  38. 38
    LC mrs heather, G.L.O.R. growls and barks:


    Some of those words have more than 4 letters. Might be a tad too difficult for him.

  39. 39
    WayneB growls and barks:

    LC Mamapajamas:

    That that is, is. That that is not, is not. Is not that it? It is.

    To quote Drumwaster, “What do I win?” 🙂

  40. 40
    LC Mamapajamas growls and barks:

    Well done, Wayne 😀

    You have won my undying admiration for figuring that one out :D.

  41. 41
    CDR Will growls and barks:

    Who wants to bet that JosephMendiola is sitting in a corner, rocking back and forth, and mumbling incoherent things?

    I think he got through about 8 posts on this thread and started blowing a gasket.

    Big applause to Mamapajamas and Wayne.

    It has been my experience that people born in this country, who do not possess proper language skills, are pretty damn stupid about pretty much everything outside of the minimum they need to survive.

    Even more amazing is how many people I know from other countries who speak and understand the language better than many college grads.

    It took this post to make me take a moment and think about how many people I personally know from so many different countries; and it truly stunned me.

    I have had extensive conversations with people from: Nicaragua, Columbia, Chile, Cuba, Mexico, England, Australia, France, Germany, Switzerland, Russia, Vietnam, Korea, Japan, China, Kenya, Zimbabwe, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, India, Pakistan, Usbekistan, Romania, Norway, Holland, Chile, Brazil, Puerto Rico, Sumatra, Phillipines, . . .

    I typed these in the order that the person’s face came to mind. The thing that bugs me is this: All of those people I had personal contact with had a pretty good command of the English language, while I could go to downtown Atlanta and have a horrible time trying to communicate with someone who has spent their whole life collecting a welfare check, while living in a country that provides unlimited potential.

    Something is damned screwed up about that.

    THAT was an imperative statement.

  42. 42
    LC Christopher growls and barks:

    and punctual

  43. 43
    Alan growls and barks:

    Also: It’s tough to leave [the mall]. Your girlfriend’s behind [in the store].


    How would you puncuate this sentence:

    I saw a dollar bill on the sidewalk

    I’d make a dash after it.


    Don’t use conflicting noun and verb tenses. The media is full of examples of this.


    Grammar check? I ain’t never used no grammar check to correct this here English with, see.

  44. 44
    LC GreatDane growls and barks:


    skh, that link you provided in comment #4 was really useful!

    Why did you have to post comment #1? It’s for loosers.

  45. 45
    Red Five growls and barks:

    A littl limerick I came across some years ago:

    Said a student to Teacher one day,
    “Wright did not write right today.”
    So the Teacher replied,
    As the error she eyed,
    “Wright, write ‘right’ right, right away.”

  46. 46
    Elephant Man growls and barks:

    Limericks, eh?

    How about this classic!

    There once was a man from Nantucket
    Whose [CENSORED] was so long he could [CENSORED]
    He said with a grunt, if I had a [CENSORED]
    I’d whip out my [CENSORED] and [CENSORED]


  47. 47
    skh growls and barks:

    GreatDane, I couldn’t help it…my fingers had a mind of their own. Somebody has to be first, but that’s my first first. I guess I should’ve been a little pithier (heh!).

  48. 48
    LC Mary in LA, G.L.O.R. growls and barks:

    I remember reading this story:

    A man walks past a barber shop with this sign in the window:


    Delighted, he goes into the shop and says to the barber, “I’d like a shave and a drink, please.” The barber says, “A shave is two bucks, and the bar is down the street.” The man exclaims, “But what about the sign in your window?” The barber replies, “Oh, that? The sign painter left out the punctuation. It’s supposed to say,