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

~by Lynne Truss
2004 British Book Award Winner

The English language (British or otherwise) seems to be in grave danger. Atrocious use of punctuation is only one symptom of the continuing decline of the language, and according to Truss, appropriate use of punctuation and spelling must be vehemently defended and employed.

Because this book was originally written to address a British audience, some discrepancies creep into the American publication since British English and American English differ in grammar, spelling, punctuation, meaning, and nuance. Truss notes this briefly in her introduction to the American version; the book is still useful in addressing punctuation, although it shouldn't be used as substitute for a style manual.

Part punctuation manual, and part satirical and cynical commentary, Eats, Shoots & Leaves alternates between being informative, amusing, and sometimes even annoying. Some of her examples could have been better chosen; she didn't always convince me of her arguments in some cases. Perhaps I was just being difficult, but better examples would have helped her make her point. A little bit of the history of the use and development of punctuation found its way into the text, providing a welcome diversion from the somewhat lengthy and sometimes contradictory "lessons."

No comments: