Punctuation Test Answers

Vivian Cook 
Writing System Home

Note: these are not necessarily ‘right’ but are those used in the original texts. Click PRINT to print them out.

a) newspaper (Telegraph) [117 words] [13 punctuation marks]

Dutch tourist found alive after 18 days 'trapped in hole' in Spain

Civil Guard spokesperson Hector Ortega said that a group of mountaineers had found Mary Anne Goossens, 48-years old, caught among boulders close to the source of the Chillar River outside the resort town of Nerja early Wednesday.

The mountaineers were unable to rescue Goossens, but left her food and clothing before alerting regional emergency services. She was reported to be weak but uninjured.

Ortega said police mountain rescue teams had been dispatched to the area to find her.

He said Goossens had some food when she set out walking. Water from a nearby spring also helped her survive, he added.


b) cookbook Delia Smith p.78 [139 words] [15 punctuation marks]

Sift the flour and salt into a large mixing bowl, holding the sieve up as high as possible to give the flour an airing. Then cut the fat into small cubes and add them to the flour. Now, using your fingertips, lightly and gently rub the pieces of fat into the flourlifting your hands up high as you do this (again to incorporate as much air as you can) and being as quick as possible.

When the mixture looks uniformly crumbly, start to sprinkle roughly 2 tablespoons of water all over. Use a round-bladed knife to start the mixing, cutting and bringing the mixture together. Carefully add more water as needs, a little at a time, then finally bring the mixture together with your hands to form a smooth ball of dough that will leave the bowl clean.


c) literary novel Paul Auster (2002), The Book of Illusions [118 words 19 punctuation marks]

Before the body, there is the face, and before the face there is the thin black line between Hectors nose and upper lip. A twitching filament of anxieties, a metaphysical jump rope, a dancing thread of discombobulation, the mustache is a seismograph of Hectors inner states, and not only does it make you laugh, it tells you what Hector is thinking, actually allows you into the machinery of his thoughts. Other elements are involvedthe eyes, the mouth, the finely calibrated lurches and stumblesbut the mustache is the instrument of communication, and even though it speaks a language without words, its wriggle and flutters are as clear and comprehensible as a message tapped out in Morse code.



d) letter (adapted from on-line specimen) [114 words] [17 punctuation marks]

Dear Sir/Madam,

Re: Job as a part-time spy (reference: hyf3417)

I would like to apply for the job of a part-time spy in MI5, as advertised in The Times on 3rd September. My CV is attached.

My previous jobs include two years as an undercover agent in a tattoo shop in Brighton. This has given me experience of finding out secrets, as well as marksman skills and a basic knowledge of codes.

I would welcome the chance to discuss the job with you on the telephone or at an interview. I can be contacted most easily on my mobile telephone or through my usual drop behind the first bench on the left in St Jamess Park.

Yours faithfully,



e) thriller Lee Child, The Hard Way (2006) p.148-149 [121][15]

Pauling adjusted the position of her right arm. Brought her hand south and chopped the air a fraction to the left of the cafés most northerly table. That cut the view to just a slim section of the streetscape. Half of the building with the flower store in it, and most of the building with the café in it. Above the flower store were three storeys of windows with vertical blinds behind them and printers and spider plants and stacks of paper on their sills. Fluorescent tubes on the ceilings.

Office suites”, Pauling said.

Above the café were three storeys of windows filled variously with faded drapes made of red Indian cloth, or macramé hangings, or suspended discs of stained glass.