Eats, Shoots and Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation, by Lynne Truss

Book 11

I am sorry to tell you that I am one of those people that judge people by the way they use “to, two and too” and “there, their and they’re”.  That is not to say that my grammar is perfect.  My mother will tell you that my editing skills suck.  Regular readers of this blog may understand why.  But I am interested in knowing the rules, even if they change all the damn time.

Side note:  My favorite example is how to highlight the title of a book.  I seem to remember being taught, in grade school, that book titles are to be underlined and the titles of newspaper or magazine articles are to be in quotations.  My last boss, Dave, majored in journalism.  He is the first person that told me book titles should be italicized.        This books notes that italics are the print equivalent of underlining.  Makes sense.  I suppose.

Truss does some home work on the rules and the cranky old men that enforce them.  She takes a look at the origins and the evolution.  She even delves into texting and emoticons (ugh).

Another Side Note:  I was just going to write, “she even gets into texting”, but I can still here the voice of my 8th grade teacher in my head.  Mrs. Trahanas used to say, “Never use the word ‘get’ in your writing.  It is a lazy, undescriptive word.  There is always an alternative.”  Damn English teachers.  (Sometimes I ignore her, though.)

I realized, about halfway through the audio, that the audio book was from the radio series, rather than a reading from the actual text.  But a lot of it is the same, so I am counting this as a read book.  But before I go back and flip through it again, here are some things I learner:

  1. Women use exclamation points more than men do.  This makes sense, I suppose, but I never thought about it before.
  2. Green grocers are terrible with punctuation.  This was a half-joking observation.  Apparently, some people think that if you do not use an apostrophe, the word bananas might be pronounced ba-nan-ass.  Listening to this in the audio, I wondered if this was a British problem.
  3. The lawyers don’t seem to be able to evolve.  Apparently, their templates just can’t handle it.  Actually, I knew this from their continued insistence on Latin phraseology.
  4. The British like to blame every grammatical transgression in the English language on the Americans.  What.  Ever.  (See how I did that?)

One thought on “Eats, Shoots and Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation, by Lynne Truss

  1. Jim McKee says:

    I go by the old classic, “The Elements of Style”.

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