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May 17, 2011 / theoldsilly

Professor Old Silly’s Tutorial Tuesday – We Had and Have the “Had Had” Winners!

Welcome back to Bloggyversity, English Comp Class 10001.3b, “Writing With Power in Fiction”. Take your seats, please class, I need your full attention, as in immediately. I have another very important tea and crumpets date with Ms. Flanders in just ten minutes, so stop with the flirting and sophomoric shenanigans, turn off your ipods, cell phones, black and/or raspberries, stop with the twittering, get your faces out of Facebook, boot up your monitors, straighten your drawers, plop your butts in your seats and be quiet. I’m in no mood for your typical silliness. Plus if you’re good I have some more fresh baked cookies for you all after class, courtesy once again of the lovely Ms. Flanders.

That’s much better. Ahem. Today, first off, it is my pleasure to announce the winners from Marv’s “Weekend Literary Teaser.” As you recall, the challenge was, without rearranging the words, or breaking the sentence up into more than one, or capitalizing any words not already capitalized, to correctly punctuate the following sentence:

Where John had had had Mary had had had had had had had had the teacher’s approval.

Only one person got it completely correct. That person happens to be my analytical-to-the-nth-degree brother, Daryl Wilson. I was like, “What? He almost never comments on my blog, but he just couldn’t help himself on this one! – the guy’s never seen a puzzle or brain teaser challenge he could pass up having to figure it out, lol. That’s classic Daryl. So anyhowzit, kudos to bro, who submitted the answer below in the comments. The only way (that I know of) to correctly punctuate that sentence into some semblance of grammatical sense (while adhering strictly to the rules laid out) is this-

Where John had had “had,” Mary had had “had had”; “had had” had had the teacher’s approval.

I know, it still reads a bit awkward, not the best sentence structure this side of the galaxy, but it is correct with regard to following the rules of punctuation–American style English, anyway. Which leads me to the next entry, which I want to give honorable mention to, because although she did not follow all the rules to the letter, she did come up with a correct, creative answer that reads better, with a more sensible flow to the sentence structure. Debbie Johnson submitted the following:

John, where Mary had had “had had,” had had “had”. “Had had” had been preferred by the teacher.

Of course, she even changed a couple words altogether, and the period separating the two sentences should be inside the quotation mark.  A colon or semicolon goes outside quotation marks–in both American and British English styles, but not a period–not never, period. But anyway, it’s a pretty darn good rewrite of a cumbersome collection of mostly repetitive words, hm?


Now – guess what …

Blog Dismissed!

Yup. G’on’n play hookie for the rest of the day. As usual leave your comments on my desk, and I must say … Wow! You’re all still here … Gold stars for everyone, and please help yourself to these still warm fresh-baked cookies Ms. Flanders was kind enough to bake for you all.

Ooops, my cell.

“Yes, yes, Ms. Flanders, I’m coming, be right with you …”

Oh, class? … no more than two apiece, please? Let’s be good and share, now …

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24 Comments

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  1. Elizabeth Craig / May 17 2011 4:49 am

    I’m glad to see this one explained! Makes sense now….well, sort of! 🙂

  2. Cactus Annie / May 17 2011 7:00 am

    Kudos to Daryl … AND Debbie – I couldn’t make heads or tails of it NO-WAY, lol!

  3. John Standish / May 17 2011 7:32 am

    I agree Debbie’s is easier to read, but gotta hand it to Daryl for making ANY kind of grammatical sense out of that mishmash with nothing but punctuation to use. Kudos, and A+, right Prof?!

  4. theoldsilly / May 17 2011 7:36 am

    Congrats to Daryl! – my analytical-obsessively-thinking-brother would be the one to figure it out with total correctness, lol. A+

    And Debbie gets a solid B, marked down only because she broke the rules, but hey – still a worthy rewrite of such a mumbo-jumbo of words, right?

    So John, yes, I agree!

  5. Stanley Berber / May 17 2011 7:41 am

    Only two cookies? C’mon, man …

    LOL – hats off to Daryl, and yes also to Debbie. Both are a lot better than what I would’ve come up with – without yanking my last few strands of hair out of my head! lol…

  6. Ron Berry / May 17 2011 8:22 am

    We was had

  7. Alex J. Cavanaugh / May 17 2011 12:33 pm

    Congratulations to Daryl. It still doesn’t make much sense though.

    • theoldsilly / May 17 2011 2:50 pm

      How much sense it has, has to do with if it’s had having any sense to have or has to begin with, hmm?

  8. Barbra Kelser / May 17 2011 2:45 pm

    Y’all winners go on ahead to the head of the class – I’m with Ron – we was ‘had’, lol!

  9. Marcus Franks / May 17 2011 4:53 pm

    Ya ‘had’ me, lol!

  10. Paul Delaney / May 17 2011 4:54 pm

    Just shows ta go ya that correct punctuation does not a perfect sentence make!

  11. Enid Wilson / May 18 2011 6:36 am

    OK, I’m totally lost, except I’m with the cookies.

    Chemical Fusion

    • theoldsilly / May 18 2011 11:21 am

      Well at least it was worth the effort to make it to class then, hmm? 🙂

  12. Mark Phelps / May 18 2011 11:16 am

    Glad SOMEBODY could make hads or tales outa that mess!

  13. Frank Middleton / May 18 2011 11:18 am

    You’re not going to believe this, but I actually saw (and was quizzed on) that same literary puzzle – in college, sophomore year! I didn’t get it right then, and I still wouldn’t have, lol!!

    • theoldsilly / May 18 2011 11:22 am

      NO – get outa here! Well, I guess it must’ve had to have been the had had thing had been going around, eh? 😉

  14. Margot Winston / May 18 2011 11:52 am

    hadhadhadhadhadhadhadhad …. enough with the had hads already!!!

    Tehee …… but thanks for the cookies! 🙂

  15. Ronald Meyers / May 18 2011 11:53 am

    Haven’t been to your blog in a while, and I must say – that’s a whopper of a word teaser. Kudos to Daryl and Debbie for making ANY kind of sense of it!

  16. Orlando Ramos / May 18 2011 12:02 pm

    Your classes are great and right on always.

    Please stop by my blog I have a surprise for you.

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