Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Book 3: Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation by Lynne Truss

I've been meaning to read this book for a while. Truss, a British journalist, fed up after years of witnessing major abuse to the use of punctuation in all walks of life, has written a witty guide meant to teach and illuminate its finer points. She delves into each separate punctuation mark and discusses its history from inception to modern-day uses (and abuses). Her writing is sharp and funny, and her examples are clever. From the chapter on apostrophes, here are some examples of the use of "it's":

It's your turn (it is your turn)
It's got very cold (it has got very cold)
It's a braw bricht moonlicht nicht the nicht (no idea)

It's Truss's wit and true love for punctuation that keeps her writing from turning condescending and dull. Of course, I'm the person at work who takes down signs that have errant commas, so I'm pretty much her intended reader. I love her idea of "sticklers" coming together to fight for correct usage of apostrophes and so on.

The book is a quick, enjoyable read. The version I read wasn't adapted for American audiences, so a few of the references were lost on me, and I had to remind myself that some of the English rules don't apply to American printing. But overall, I would recommend this book to anyone who loves grammar... and those who could use a few pointers.

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