Thursday, 21 August 2014

Carrot, Stick..... Or Carrot Stick? Why grammar matters!

Grammar - Using Commas

Our little guinea pig, Pickle has proved to be incredibly intelligent, affectionate and (for a rodent) pretty smart.

He's even been known to host his own talent show:-

He is also a perfect individual to teach you about Commas and their use!

Commas tell readers to pause and take a moment to understand what a sentence is about.
  • Put a comma after each item in a list
  • Don't put a comma before the word "and" - although many grown ups will tell you this is OK and called the "Oxford Comma"!
  • Put a comma after a group of words that belong together

They separate ideas within a sentence or items within a list.
for example - The shopping trolley was piled high with cereals, drinks, fruit, vegetables and bread.

Commas help you by showing you where to take a breath. They also show meaning.
Pickle likes carrot sticks and we use them to persuade him to do things! There is also another method of persuasion which grown ups often talk about called "carrot, stick". This means that you offer a reward and a consequence when you want children to do things! 

This method would never work with Pickle, he needs encouragement and no threat as with most animals. Adding that comma makes all the difference - even to a Guinea Pig.

Initially, getting him in from his outside run proved rather challenging. At times, it took upwards of 45 minutes to persuade him to come close enough to grab him and if he hadn't finished eating no amount of calling or treat offering would work!... (I told you he was smart!)

Eventually, after a year of training this is how I get him in.

With the emphasis on "I". He refuses to do this for anyone else!

Thing is, if you are a young guinea pig about town who values his street cred. it's not so cool to be seen to be cooperating so diligently. Treat-offering with shouting has absolutely no impact whatsoever. The "carrot, stick" (where "stick" is the shouting!) option is utterly ineffective.

Seems it was really a matter of grammar - same words, correctly put.  
A "carrot stick" works every time!

Just as long as there is no audience!!


  1. You could do quite a series about such topics. Please do one on 'you're and your' and also 'there and their'.

  2. Great post and very cute Guinea Pig! x

  3. Love this post and the lesson too

  4. love this, lots of fun to be had on this topic x

  5. Lovely tale. Pickle is a great grammar teacher. ;) I didn't know you should never use a comma before the word "and".

  6. I have to double check my grammar constantly as my brain works faster than my typing and I am always spotting mistakes after I have popped a post live! Very cute guinea pig!

  7. Awww how cute, have been thinking of getting one to join our rabbit .x

    1. Don't make the mistake of trying to get them to live together though - it rarely works and the guinea pig comes off worst :( Pet stores often put baby guinea pigs together but it's ok before puberty apparently!

  8. I love how you have made grammar fun and agree on the first comment on here!

  9. It's great to make grammar fun. We have the Eat, shoot and leave book which is very funny.

  10. What a very clever guinea pig, so cute

  11. Like the first comment, I hope to see more of these kind of posts. They're great fun :)

  12. Grammar is so important, as is spelling - I am so frustrated with spell check and suggestions as it's all americanised!!

  13. A very smart guinea pig! And your daughter is very cute :)

  14. Grammar is important. Cute guinea pig.
    Thanks for linking #LetKidsBeKids

  15. Aw what a sweet guinea pig, if we didn't travel so much I would love to get one. Great lesson too!!

  16. I like this fun way of teaching grammar - please do one on two, to and too!


Thank you for commenting!
Dorothy xx