Thursday, June 15, 2023

Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation by Lynn Truss ~ A Review


Image courtesy of Amazon.

I have finally, finally finished this book. Well, I finished it a few weeks ago. And promptly put thoughts of it in my rear view mirror.

It was a tough read for me because it was filled with chit-chatty anecdotal examples of the correct and incorrect usage of various punctuation marks.

I understand it would have been a very short book if it had just been the lists of how and when to use the apostrophe, the comma, the exclamation point, etc.

On the other hand, learning the do's and don't's of punctuation, especially commas, was super helpful.

One caveat is that this book was originally written and published in the mid-aughts and some of the do's, especially about commas, has morphed.

My philosophy on commas has been that if you need one for clarity, put it in; if the sentence makes sense without it--leave it out. Of course, sometimes, having or not having a certain punctuation mark changes the meaning of a phrase / sentence, so even if it makes sense either way, it might not mean what the author wants it to mean.

But then...I was reading a passage of one of my own books for some reason, and I realized that just because the sentence makes perfect sense without the comma, doesn't mean there shouldn't be one. If someone is reading aloud--say a narrator reading a book into an audio book--they need to know when it's okay to take a breath.

Read this book at your own peril. You might get more enjoyment out of the anecdotes and the writing style than I did, but, again, the actual rules are helpful to know. Of course, you could read an up-to-date style guide too...

Have a great weekend.


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