Mechanics Samples

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Mechanics involves the nitty-gritty details of written language: capitalization, punctuation, and spelling. If attention is not paid to these details, meaning can be difficult--or even impossible--to figure out. Although the following paragraph contains no misspelled words, it has no punctuation or capitalization. See if you can find two completely different ways to punctuate the paragraph. They will result in two completely different meanings. (Remember that a sentence does not need to start with the subject.)

Memorable Students

they are the memorable students in any
class they participate fully in any mis-
chief they see no point in volunteering for
extra jobs they delight in distracting their
classmates they take no pleasure in learn-
ing they are never satisfied

Use one or two commas to set off an appositive (a noun or noun phrase that names the same thing as a noun or noun phrase right next to it in the sentence).

Chris, my best friend, lives next door to me. (Chris and my best friend name the same person.)

Notice that the sentence would be complete if the appositive were omitted; the reader simply would not have as much information


Accept means "to receive."

    Please accept this     package.

Except means "leaving out; but."

    All exits except one were blocked.