Punctuate this sentence……

39

First, if you are up at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, I am performing my Psychobabble show today at 12.10 and 6.05.  Details here.

Second, without thinking about it too much, how would you punctuate this sentence…..

“A woman without her man is nothing”

In fact there, are two popular answers.  More after the break.


According to the ever reliable internet, women tend to write

“A woman: without her, man is nothing”

whilst men go with….

“A woman, without her man, is nothing”

Did it work for you?  Vote now!

39 comments on “Punctuate this sentence……

  1. Marilyn says:

    I am a woman but I punctuated it like a man. According to you anyway :)

  2. edwardv says:

    I just saw a missing period. I think it’s still grammatically correct without commas.

  3. I don’t believe that anyone tends to use correctly use colons.

  4. Al says:

    It is correctly punctuated without any commas. All three are missing a full stop. I also agree with Julian as that is not a correct use of a colon.

  5. edwardv says:

    By the way, it’s “In fact, there are… “, not “In fact there, are … “. The comma goes after “In fact”.

    • ctj says:

      we have our winner!

      when i saw this sentence, i completely forgot the sentence that i was supposed to be punctuating. i guess that happens in a world where 22/7=pi and ropes don’t hang in catenaries.

    • Tessa K says:

      Oh, I thought that was just a typo and that it would be pedantic to point it out.

  6. I agree with edwardv. The sentence can be most simply punctuated by placing a period at the end.

    • edwardv says:

      Yes. In fact, the phrase “without her man” being essential to the meaning of the sentence should not be set off with commas for that particular option.

  7. edwardv says:

    Is “A woman without: her man is nothing.” also a valid sentence?

  8. Stan says:

    The poll seems silly since most responders could be male.

  9. Tessa K says:

    Edwardv – it’s valid but a bit of an odd sentence. You can use ‘without’ in the old sense of outside so it would mean: if a woman is out, her man is nothing in her absence. Or – there’s a woman at the door: her man is nothing – which you might strain to explain. Also, a lot of people now use a dash instead of a colon.

  10. Anonymous says:

    “A woman with! Out her man, is? Nothing” – William Shatner

  11. “A Woman! With, out her man, is? Nothing.” – William Shatner

  12. Martha says:

    The experiment has nothing to do with punctuation. You’re supposed to hand the sentence to someone and ask them to read it out loud. And it should read: ‘A WOMAN -line break- WITHOUT HER -line break- MAN IS NOTHING’.

    • Tessa K says:

      Martha – if you read it aloud, you are punctuating it in your head in order to decide where to pause/ place stresses.

  13. mattjfisher says:

    A woman without Herman is nothing

  14. It doesn’t strictly lead to the second punctuation, because in that case it would inconsistently refer to women and men in general “A women” (with the indefinite article) versus “man” (without it). Should be “Woman without her man is nothing” or possibly “A woman without her a man is nothing”. Pedantic, but so is the rest of this…

  15. Lazy T says:

    It’s up to the person who wrote the sentance to punctuate it and clearly express their opinion, I wouldn’t say either of the re-punctuated options

  16. Tessa K says:

    “A woman without Herman is nothing” – Lily Munster.

  17. Ian says:

    Well, as a man, I initially punctuated it as (according to your survey) a woman supposedly punctuates it; but then I saw quite a few ways to punctuate the sentence as well, including: “A woman; without her, man is nothing,” “A woman without; her man is nothing,” “A woman without her man is nothing,” and (same thing, just with better grammatical emphasis) “A woman, without her man, is nothing” (with which I disagree anyway). Interesting one, this, Richard. Thanks for that delightful brain workout :D

  18. Mervulon says:

    Opinions without understanding are less than nothing. But seriously, the difference lies in whether “her” is being used as a pronoun or an adjective. And to clarify this distinction certainly DOES rely on punctuation. Unless you simply don’t care about how your words are being interpreted.

  19. Zach says:

    It’s fine the way it is… this is the Internet punctuation doesnt matter

  20. One Eyed Jack says:

    Yo, pedants… it’s about how the meaning of the sentence changes given different punctuation and how that ties to gender. It’s not about how many different ways it could be punctuated.

  21. John Appleby says:

    Eats shoots and leaves.

  22. luigifun says:

    You’re being one-eyed, Jack. It’s about anything we want it to be.

  23. Ronald says:

    A woman without; her man is nothing.

  24. Badgerwocky says:

    If you’re gay or lesbian, both versions interpretations are untrue!

  25. Reblogged this on Classics reloaded and commented:
    A really intriguing sentence to punctuate; what does your punctuation reveal about your attitudes towards men and women?

  26. Adam says:

    not to sound like a pretentious douche against women, but in the females punctuation “A woman” is singular, and “man is nothing” (meaning all man kind) is plural.. mixing singular and plural in a manner such as this is considered poor grammar. therefore, it should be “women: without her, man is nothing” or “Woman: without her, man is nothing” making the “males” punctuation the only correct one for the given words. so if you’re a girl and you punctuated it the “boys” way, congratulations. you probably passed English in school.

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