Are you ready for the answers to last month’s grammar quiz? This time, I asked you to place the correct punctuation in each sentence. Let’s see how you did:

1. The McDonalds in Illinois had green shakes on St. Patrick’s Day, but they don’t have them in the Valley. (You need a period after “St.” because it’s an abbreviation, an apostrophe in “Patrick’s” and a comma before “but” because the words after “but” make a complete sentence. Be sure you put the comma before “but,” not after. Finally, don’t forget the period at the end of the sentence.)

2. Funny how we have the Luck o’ the Irish and Friday the 13th in the same month. (All you need here is a period at the end.)

3. If I find a four-leaf clover, I’m planning to buy a Lotto ticket. (In this sentence, you need a comma after “clover” because “if” begins a prepositional phrase. You also need an apostrophe in “I’m” because it’s a contraction meaning “I am.” Don’t forget the period at the end.)

4. To celebrate St Patrick’s Day, people in Chicago dye the river green, drink green beer and have a parade. (Once again, you need an apostrophe in “Patrick’s” and a comma after “Day” because “to” begins a prepositional phrase. For the list of three items at the end of the sentence, you need to put a comma between the first two but you don’t need one between the last two. A period is placed at the end of the sentence.)

5. I planned to wear green on the seventeenth but forgot. (Don’t put a comma before “but” in this sentence because “forgot” cannot stand alone as a sentence. You still need a period at the end, though.)

It saddens me that most schools seem to have gotten away from teaching students rhymes and poems to help with spelling and grammar. Many of my high school students have never heard, “I before e except after c, or when it sounds like a as in neighbor and weigh.” I recently learned a new one from retired teacher Audrey Sigrist. She told me to notice “a rat” in the word “separate.” I loved this idea because I often get stuck on that word.

Mrs. Sigrist also sent me a poem that appeared in The Instructor magazine in 1958. I loved it and thought you would, too:

A noun is a name word, like GIRL, STREET, SWING,

A noun names a person, a place or a thing.

A pronoun is used in place of a noun,

I, YOU, WE and THEY are some to write down.

An adjective tells what kind or how many,

And goes with a noun like “ONE, LITTLE penny.”

A verb shows action or a state of being,


An adverb is used to modify a verb,

Or perhaps an adjective or another adverb.

It answers the questions of when, where and how,

Or to what extent as in the words RIGHT NOW.

A conjunction links words, phrases and clauses,

“He walks forward a step, AND then he pauses.”

A preposition is another on the list,

It always has an object as “There’s a watch ON your wrist.”

An interjection is the last one for now,

It expresses strong feeling as HELP, OUCH and WOW!

So now let’s remember the eight parts of speech,

And with the help of this verse the definition of each.

I had so much fun reading this and reminiscing about the ditties my teachers taught me in elementary school. Thus, rather than a quiz for the month of April, I thought it would be fun to ask readers to send emails with poems and rhymes you learned to help you with spelling and grammar. You can send them to me at or submit them under this story on the Web site at

Until next month, thanks for Guarding Our Grammar.