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Punctuation and Capitalization
Teachers, read the following information to your students and complete the included activity.
Punctuation and capitalization in English grammar is a way of telling the reader the intended message of the sentence. Listen to the sentences below and notice the difference in how each sentence is understood.
- The fire is here.
- The fire is here!
- The fire is here?
The sentence with the exclamation mark could mean there is an emergency and the listeners would respond by getting everyone to safety. The sentence with the question mark does not sound urgent and would not be responded to in an urgent way. The sentence with the period is declarative and simply states that the fire is indeed there. Punctuation in sentences creates inflection in the sentence as it is spoken out loud. Inflection means that there is a stress placed on certain parts of the sentence. Have the class repeat the inflection in the above three sentences aloud.
Capitalization tells us what is important in the sentence. For example, proper nouns are capitalized as a sign of respect. All sentences begin with a capital letter to let you know it is a new sentence. Without punctuation and capitalization, everything we wrote would be one long sentence and unreadable.
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Punctuation and Capitalization Activity
Read the sentence below to your students, then write it on the board as it is written here without punctuation or capitalization.
- cherry read trees in the park and sandy brown threw the pear
Correct the sentence on the board and then read it out loud again to the students, explaining the punctuation and capitalization as you correct it.
This sentence sounds like they are describing trees and a pear.
- Cherry read Trees in the Park and Sandy Brown threw the pear?
This sentence makes more sense and you can see that a person is actually asking if someone named Cherry read a book while someone named Sandy Brown threw a pear. Discuss the difference that capitalization and punctuation made in the sentence. Print the worksheet included with this lesson plan and assist students in completing the worksheet. Upon completion of the worksheet, students will have a better understanding of how punctuation and capitalization can have an impact on our language.