Most helpful positive review
22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
Never a Misplaced ,.!;:"?'()][- Again
on December 3, 2001
First, I sadly confess that I much prefer the earlier edition of this book. I can't really tell exactly what has been added to this edition, except to acknowledge that it is longer. The beauty of the first book was that after you looked up whatever you needed to look up, you couldn't put it down. The book still has the same effect, but with a more compelling sense that you really ought to put it down because you have something better to do. I suspect that what has been added is mere "filler": stuff to puff the book up so that people won't mind paying more for it.
Nonetheless, this still is the best manual of form to have. It is so remarkably clear, that a textbook review committee would probably wonder whether some mistake had been made. Simply look up the punctuation mark in question in the clearly labeled table of contents, and your question will be answered in no time. Better yet, reserve a Sunday afternoon to read the book cover to cover, and never have a punctuation question again.
Yes, I did say read it cover to cover. Ms. Gordon has done for manuals of grammar what Dorothy Parker did for book reviews, or Judith Martin does for etiquette. This is quite an enjoyable romp with cross-eyed scholar-poets, that prima donna [Too-Too LaBlanca], and Torquil and Jonquil, (who will accompany you to the spa on Epiphany, if you accompany them to Ornette Coleman's recital afterwards [sic]).
So I must admit, even though I don't think the second edition is any improvement over the first, I still think this book is miles beyond any other of its kind. You may wish to have a more complete manual of style, as this book covers punctuation only, but you will still benefit from having this book. A complete manual of style will devote only a few pages to punctuation, and give few examples; its instructions will never be clear. With The Well-Tempered Sentence by your side, however, you will never punctuate incorrectly again.