The Phantom Tollbooth Questions and Answers
by Norton Juster

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Explain how the writer humorously emphasizes the importance of using the correct words in the right order.

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In Chapter 4, while Milo and Tock, the dog, are wandering around the market, they encounter the Spelling Bee and the Humbug. These two creatures argue over the importance of education overall and of spelling in particular. While the bee thinks it is important to spell everything correctly, the bug characterizes that as the approach of a “bankrupt intellect.” When the two get into a physical fight, they knock over all the market stalls, and the words in them end up scattered all over.

Chapter 5 opens with people uttering sentences in which the words are completely out of order. One of the market stall keepers, for example, shouts “Done what you’ve looked” instead of “Look what you’ve done”; the mixed-up words come out as nonsense. As they start reorganizing everything, another word seller bemoans their situation: “Do going to we what are!"

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