- Paperback: 240 pages
- Publisher: Avery; Reprint edition (April 11, 2006)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1592402038
- ISBN-13: 978-1592402038
- Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.6 x 7.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars See all reviews (1,003 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,733 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation Paperback – April 11, 2006
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From Publishers Weekly
Who would have thought a book about punctuation could cause such a sensation? Certainly not its modest if indignant author, who began her surprise hit motivated by "horror" and "despair" at the current state of British usage: ungrammatical signs ("BOB,S PETS"), headlines ("DEAD SONS PHOTOS MAY BE RELEASED") and band names ("Hear'Say") drove journalist and novelist Truss absolutely batty. But this spirited and wittily instructional little volume, which was a U.K. #1 bestseller, is not a grammar book, Truss insists; like a self-help volume, it "gives you permission to love punctuation." Her approach falls between the descriptive and prescriptive schools of grammar study, but is closer, perhaps, to the latter. (A self-professed "stickler," Truss recommends that anyone putting an apostrophe in a possessive "its"-as in "the dog chewed it's bone"-should be struck by lightning and chopped to bits.) Employing a chatty tone that ranges from pleasant rant to gentle lecture to bemused dismay, Truss dissects common errors that grammar mavens have long deplored (often, as she readily points out, in isolation) and makes elegant arguments for increased attention to punctuation correctness: "without it there is no reliable way of communicating meaning." Interspersing her lessons with bits of history (the apostrophe dates from the 16th century; the first semicolon appeared in 1494) and plenty of wit, Truss serves up delightful, unabashedly strict and sometimes snobby little book, with cheery Britishisms ("Lawks-a-mussy!") dotting pages that express a more international righteous indignation.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
This impassioned manifesto on punctuation made the best-seller lists in Britain and has followed suit here. Journalist Truss gives full rein to her "inner stickler" in lambasting common grammatical mistakes. Asserting that punctuation "directs you how to read in the way musical notation directs a musician how to play," Truss argues wittily and with gusto for the merits of preserving the apostrophe, using commas correctly, and resurrecting the proper use of the lowly semicolon. Filled with dread at the sight of ubiquitous mistakes in store signs and headlines, Truss eloquently speaks to the value of punctuation in preserving the nuances of language. Liberally sprinkling the pages with Briticisms ("Lawks-a-mussy") and moving from outright indignation to sarcasm to bone-dry humor, Truss turns the finer points of punctuation into spirited reading. Joanne Wilkinson
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Top customer reviews
I can't remember the last time I laughed so hard at a book. She has some really clever insight into grammar without being overcome by cynicism.
It is interesting to read about the state of grammar in the UK as well. It really defies the stereotype that many Americans have about Brits being stuffy and proper all the time.
Even though it isn't a grammar guide, she does offer some tips on usage. I was pleased she clarified the semicolon and colon issue and included several examples. At the same time this wasn't a "montage" of real-world grammar blunders with her corrects and/or snide comments, either.
But if you enjoy reading about grammar for fun at all, you'll probably enjoy this book. And even if not, you still might appreciate her witty and sardonic style.
And yes, she probably would disapprove of me starting my sentences with "and"...
...and it's humerous too boot!
While the author is from the UK and explains usage common in that region, she also remarks on US usage where it differs. I was surprised to learn that there were regional differences and also that the proper use of punctuation marks is changing--and it always has over time.
In addition to being a book that comments on the use (or common misuse) of proper puctuation it is also organized in such a way that people who write can reference a certain item (do you have to use a period after Mr?) and read up if they have a question.
People writing e-books might especially appreciate this as many write without an editor; a fun book that makes punctuation accessible without suffering through Strunk and White is very welcome.