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Tuesday · May 18 2004

Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation

Who cares about punctuation? Me, I suppose. Like the author, I cringe at the sight of apostrophe abuse, but I am not a stickler. (Though “c u l8r” and substituting “yr” for “your” put me in a cold sweat.) Lynne Truss takes square aim — armed with dry British wit — at those who fumble with its and it's and display “Book's for Sale” signs. She gives due to the neglected semicolon and the ubiquitous dash (see me above), but the apostrophe and comma are the main characters. Punctuation's history is covered from the illuminations of medieval monks up to the most popular graphic bastardization: the emoticon or smiley.

Eats, Shoots & Leaves is a quick, humorous read. It's not a style guide nor is it filled with laugh out loud jokes. I learned a few things and felt sufficient guilt for my email shortcuts. True sticklers will take issue with Truss's flippant style; others may be turned off by her smug, grammar cop approach. I am in the middle, content to be entertained and educated by the quick lesson.

Archived: Read » May 2004
© 2004 Jason Keglovitz