Capitalization and Punctuation


English Language Arts Grade 8 The Writing Process
Students will learn and apply common rules for capitalization and punctuation, including commas, semicolons, colons, and parentheses. Students will practice applying the rules to correctly write sentences. Students will analyze a passage and identify and correct the errors.

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Here are the teacher pack items for Capitalization and Punctuation:

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Overview

In this experience, students review common rules for capitalization. Then, they learn usage rules for commas in nonrestrictive phrases and clauses. Next, they learn and apply usage rules for semicolons, colons, and parentheses. Finally, they write a brief passage to apply the rules. 

Objectives

  • Identify and apply rules for capitalization.
  • Identify and apply usage rules for commas in nonrestrictive phrases and clauses.
  • Identify and apply usage rules for semicolons, colons, and parentheses.

Duration

One to two class periods. 


Using capitalization and punctuation correctly are essential to your readers’ ability to understand your writing. Errors in your writing can make it difficult to read. In this experience, you will learn and apply common rules for capitalization and punctuation.

Objectives

  • Identify and apply rules for capitalization.
  • Identify and apply usage rules for commas in nonrestrictive phrases and clauses.
  • Identify and apply usage rules for semicolons, colons, and parentheses.


moveable type from an old printing press

Capital Letters of Moveable Type for Printing Press


Read the following poem, by E.E. Cummings (sometimes written e.e. cummings).


i shall imagine life

is not worth dying,if
(and when)roses complain
their beauties are in vain 

but though mankind persuades
itself that every weed’s
a rose,roses(you feel
certain)will only smile


What do you notice about the poem that is unusual? Why do you think the poet used these unusual features?

Post your answer

Students should make observations about the use of lower case, missing spaces, and lack of typical punctuation.

Students are not expected to know anything about Cummings’s body of work; this may be the first time they encounter his poetry. You may point out that these characteristics are typical of Cummings’s poems. He experimented with capitalization, punctuation, and spacing as a way to move readers to look at the poems with fresh eyes.

You can use the following explanation as an example: The first two lines are spoken by a first-person narrator. The comma at the end of line 2 signals a change of point of view. The word “if” actually belongs to line 3, but by putting it at the end of line 2 with no space between the comma and the word, Cummings is showing the close connection between the narrator and the rose.

Use the discussion of the poem as a starting point to discuss grammar conventions, and how a writer can use them or change them to affect the message.


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