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Punctuation Puzzle

In honor of what is apparently National Punctuation Day here in the United States — and thanks to Nomi for telling me about it, he said by setting it off with em-dashes — I offer this old chestnut.

Punctuate the following correctly:

John while Jane had had had had had had had had had had had a better effect on the teacher


John, while Jane had had "had," had had "had had"; "had had" had had a better effect on the teacher.
Oh my. Is there a term for "death by syntax?"
I think that would be "killing of syntax". I've seen that.
Yup, I think you're right. I think I always knew that. And yes, I have seen it too.
i think my brain exploded. ;)
Ah now, I have known this from childhood - but my version was one 'had' short. It chickened out right at the end there, with '"had had" had been correct'. Now I have to unremember that, and substitute yours. Damn.

But can you tell me what this says? (Properly speaking, it should be handwritten, from a mediaeval manuscript; but this will give you the idea.)

Hmmmm.... I can't figure it out. Can you give me a hint?
Um. Picture it without the feet, a row of 1s in a san-serif font. That makes it easier.

Then think that mediaeval scribes didn't necessarily dot an i, nor link the parallel verticals of letters...

Does that help?
Hmm. Are there H's, T's and I's in the word(s)?
No Hs, no Ts. Nothing with any cross-bar. Every letter the same height. Don't think I can be any more help...
I give up. What's the answer?
1 ill Lilli Lilli, I?
Is that the answer? I still don't get it. I must be feeling very dense today...
Nah. Clue: it's one word. And - damn! - I have seen someone's LJ icon today that would have made a far better clue, and now I can't remember who she was. If I get a moment, I'll try scanning back...
Here's one I remember from my school days. Punctuate the following:

A woman without her man is nothing

Men punctuate it like this:

A woman without her man is nothing.

Women punctuate it like this:

A woman! Without her, man is nothing.
I always saw commas added to the first version...
Have you heard this one?

Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo.

Aha! The interrobang.

December 2016

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