|Eats, Shoots and Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation
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"You don't need to be a grammar nerd to enjoy this one...Who knew grammar could be so much fun?" -Newsweek
We all know the basics of punctuation. Or do we? A look at most neighborhood signage tells a different story. Through sloppy usage and low standards on the internet, in email, and now text messages, we have made proper punctuation an endangered species. In Eats, Shoots & Leaves, former editor Lynne Truss dares to say, in her delightfully urbane, witty, and very English way, that it is time to look at our commas and semicolons and see them as the wonderful and necessary things they are. This is a book for people who love punctuation and get upset when it is mishandled. From the invention of the question mark in the time of Charlemagne to George Orwell shunning the semicolon, this lively history makes a powerful case for the preservation of a system of printing conventions that is much too subtle to be mucked about with.
- Lynn Truss should be on the Queen's Honours list!!!!
Lynn Truss should be awarded on the Queen's Honours List for her services to language. After all, the common perception that punctuation is not that crucial to the art of the language is terrifying. After all, a misplaced comma, semi-colon, exclamation point, and period can wreck havoc in the perceptions of those who think that there is nothing wrong. Truss has it right that the definition of a panda is that he eats shoots and leaves and how the comma is purposely misplaced to make a point. A panda doesn't eat, shoot, and leave in actions. He eats shoots (maybe bamboo shoots) and tree leaves possibly. For those of us who teach language arts, I admire Truss' ability to reach out and educate the readers with a sense of humor. Punctuation is never really taught to the extent that it should be in our schools. Two Weeks Notice is missing an apostrophe over the "s" in weeks and we see the author in the back cover of the book trying to put it there....more info
- Eats, Shoots, and Leaves
Pretty good book. Helpful in its area of punctuation. Recommend it to those English strugglers.Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation...more info
- Laughed so hard that the neighbors came to check on me!
Who hasn't received teacher newsletters or PTA flyers in the cubbybag of the sweet urchin returning to the family nest every afternoon. The parent sorts through the spelling tests, free-time drawings, and English writing lessons in search of the weekly newsletter sent by the teacher.
But first, have a spot of tea. Lean back and relax in anticipation of the sweet innocence and unfailing optimism about to be so touchingly crafted in this message from the teacher. The opening sentence of a paragraph about a recent field trip to the zoo is read. And read again. And reread one more time.
"The kides, excitement, new no bounds. The class brought along it's camera, All most from the time the gates open our class. Different assistant was given too supervise manage, and keep together their group's as their was so much to see and it was! Truly. a sight! . . ."
The newsletter goes on to share amusing stories of the students on their trip, their reactions to the various exhibits, and the gentle sound of snoring that filled the bus on its return trip home. (This remains still open to interpretation since the reader is left with only her own personal skill level in decrypting the remainder of the missive.)
As another writer who is compelled by a Higher (lower?) Power to enforce a Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation, I am in a quandary. Red pen poised above the newsletter, I am ready to strike a blow not ONLY in the name of Punctuation, but Grammar, Syntax, and Spelling as well!
A timely breeze of reality blows through my mind. This was written by my daughter's first grade teacher. She is also the passer-outer of gold stars, smiles, band-aids, security and emotional support for my daughter. Perhaps bleeding all over the paper with what is sure to be a gallon of red ink before all is finished is not the best way to go. Once again, I will request a quiet parent conference for which I will leave my red pen at home and pack my happy pills instead....more info
- Funny and informative.
Who ever would have thought punctuation could be so funny (or controversial)?
I really enjoyed this book, and I'm glad I read it. It surprised me how much I know about punctuation; where did I learn that? I'm certain I was absent most of high school. I did learn a thing or two (like the difference between who's and whose ... who knew?) But I think the tricky areas of punctuation will still remain tricky for me. Also, I'm an abuser of the eplipsis, and will probably stay that way.
Truss's sense of humor is quite keen; the humor alone made the book worth reading.
Plus, my new-found understanding of the semi-colon ....
(p.s. semi-colons seem a bit pretentious, don't they?)
- A humorous take on our growing ineptitude
I'm not certain I have ever read a more humorously insightful essay on the state of notation in our language. Kudos to Ms. Truss on making punctuation fun again (but, then again, was it ever?)....more info
- Informative + Entertaining
Lynne Truss brings an obscure element of language to the fore and in doing so exposes some of the effects of unbridled change in the name of progress. Her second book "Talk to the Hand" is even better. ...more info
- Hilariously useful!
This is a great book for those in your life who are grammatically challenged. It's also a great book for giving youngsters who are preparing for standardized tests, etc. to make them realize that grammar can be fun and funny. Bits of the book get a little heavy to trudge through, but very few such bits. Overall I found it an awesome addition to my library, the kind you can revisit over and over every few months...more info
- Eats, Shoots & Leaves by Lynne Truss
A fabulously witty book that still manages to be educational. "Eats, Shoots & Leaves" is a must-read for those whose school days are a dim memory. Do ellipses leave you puzzled? How about dashes and brackets? If so, have no fear. Lynne Truss will set your punctuation quandaries straight with punctilious humor.
Those of who are 'sticklers' can hold our heads high; we now have a champion who's not afraid to crack the whip on errant apostrophes and misplaced commas. Ms. Truss' descriptive prose and laugh (or groan) out loud examples make this a laudable contender for "least boring book on punctuation" ever published.
If you fume when you come across blatant errors in the books you read; if you've ever deleted an email because the sender didn't know the difference between they're/there/their; if you've actually offered to correct a restaurant's menu (is that just me?) - then you shouldn't miss adding this book to your library - or maybe leaving it casually on your desk for your illiterate boss to see?...more info
- I NEVER GOT MY BOOK
I have never received my book. The seller rushed me leave her a positive feedback, before I received the book, by sending me multiple emails. In the end, I still do not have that book. Neither did I receive a refund......more info
- When was the last time a book changed your life?
Seriously, when was the last time you read a book where you could literally say, "This book has changed my life." Eat, Shoots and Leaves by Lynn Truss is one such book.
At first I thought a zero tolerance approach to punctuation sounded a bit extreme. That is until Truss mentioned one of my favorite movies ("Two Weeks Notice"), pointing out that the title should be "Two Weeks' Notice". I was shocked. I had always assumed an apostrophe was there. Then I started listening to The Plain White T's, a band whose name makes no sense with an apostrophe, and I knew things were getting serious.
Nonetheless I will admit that it was a challenge reading the chapters about the apostrophe and the comma (although I have learned a few knew tricks for commas). Then I came to a chapter entitled "Airs and Graces." From there onward, the book was a revelation.
I learned my punctuation from my mom and copious reading. I still have a hard time explaining dependent clauses and why it is appropriate to use "well" instead of "good" even though I can tell when a sentence is complete/written correctly if I can read it. I am sharing this background so that when I say Truss explains all of the punctuation rules presented in her book you will know I mean really clear.
Truss has illustrated that there is a time and place for the dash and double-dash in all good literature. She has also shown that, to avoid over-using the dash, a colon can easily replace a dash in certain situations. I never knew that!
What's nice about Eats, Shoots and Leaves is that it's not a dry read. Yes, Truss is talking about punctuation. Yes, she is deadly serious about it. But she maintains a sense of humor throughout: including witty examples and poking fun at punctuation (and punctuation sticklers) as much as she explains it. In addition, Truss includes abundant historical information about the punctuation marks she discusses ranging from the first names for parentheses to the first appearance of an apostrophe in printed documents.
I would recommend this book highly to anyone with an interest in writing. Even if you know the basics, Truss has a few tricks up her sleeve that are sure to give your writing a little extra flair. ...more info
- Wonderfully entertaining and educational!
What a fantastic book. I consider myself a stickler, too, and this book helped me laugh at both myself and the mistakes of those around me in all aspects of life. Thanks to the author for a great book full of humor and useful instruction....more info
- From someone who actually read the book
After reading some of the negative comments listed here, I am left wondering again how often people review books they haven't actually read. As near as I can tell, all of the criticisms of Lynne Truss' book (and yes, she does comment on the ambiguity of punctuating her own name), are actually addressed by her. She is very aware that the rules of punctuation are often vague and self-contradictory. She is too self-deprecating to be characterized as pedantic, and she is very funny (and very British). Her skill at sneaking up on you repeatedly with the same recycled punchlines rivals that of the master, Dave Barry. I mean that as high compliment.
If readers just remembers that Truss writes for laughs as much as she writes for education, they will be very happy. As for the humorless reviewers here, I refer you to her own jokes about the insufferablity of "sticklers". Lighten up. ...more info
- A joy to read
This book was a joy to read for me, and it was also research at the same time. I never realized how many punctuation errors people make. Some of these errors drive me crazy, too. I can't stand when people confuse their, there, and they're. This book was good research for me because I wrote my own book about English grammar, but only one chapter deals with punctuation.
The humor in this book is dry. So if you're not a grammar nut, you're definitely not going to like this book.
Brandon Simpson...more info
- The content is engaging
It's a fun read, with some educational value to it. As long as you choose to have fun with the book, you will be glad you picked it up....more info
- Interesting Read Whether You Care About Punctuation or Not
This is a wonderful book. If you are a stickler for punctuation, and want a hilarious refresher course, this is the book for you. Among other topics, Truss covers commas, dashes, and little used punctuation marks. Her examples are funny and prove that punctuation does matter. If you are a stickler for punctuation, this is a must-read. If you are not a punctuation fanatic, you will still get a few laughs and learn something along the way- not a bad deal for a book on punctuation. ...more info
- Interesting and pathetic at once.
This book would be difficult to read for someone who doesn't use such words. Dry, dry, dry humour. Somehow leaves you expecting more. A bit sarcastic, this book is merely a time passer at best. If only it was more present based than history lesson like. Sorry, just my opinion....more info
- "Why don't you just tell me..."
This book was recommended to me for my bad grammar, but it didn't do much to help. My problem with this book is that after you read it, you feel like a third-grader. I'd prefer less opinion and more instruction ,but that's not the case in this book. The author wants you to know her opinion but offers little instruction. If you want to read a rant on grammar then this is the book for you, but if you want a black-and-white approach with examples ( instead of someone repeatedly telling you how easy it all is)don't even think about using this book as a reference. ...more info
- A mostly overdramatic punctuation companion
Perhaps a book best enjoyed by English majors, writers, and general punctuation loonies. This manifesto otherwise provides ammunition for the `get a life and just use grammar check' crowd. Truss is quite militant in both her indictment of and attack plan against bad punctuation; she WILL NOT stand the assault of comma misuse any longer. Rectification includes: white out, felt markers, and a gun. So it's easy to see why she sometimes feels the Sisyphus of the punctuation realm and at least she acknowledges her neurosis. This short exercise primarily serves as her steam vent via humorous anecdotes and some punctuation genealogy with general pointers (otherwise found in your beloved Strunk and White or MLA Handbook) on commas, apostrophes, parentheses, periods, dashes, and my beloved semicolon....more info
- humor for grammar geeks
If you've been living in a cave, the subtitle explains what Eats, Shoots and Leaves is about: "The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation." Since I'm a bit of a grammar geek (albeit an imperfect and occasionally lazy one), I absolutely loved it.
There wasn't much that was news to me. Ones vs. one's was helpful, though I understand that's controversial. I spent far too much time one day googling to chase down which was correct. For the most part, I vastly prefer the practicality of the British usage of such things as putting punctuation inside or outside quotation marks depending on where it makes sense and whether to add an extra S when forming the possessive of words ending in S:
British: When did John say "stop"?
U.S.: When did John say "stop?"
I do, however, much prefer the logic of the terminal comma in a list, since it makes it clear whether or not the last two items are separate or a pair.
More entertaining than the facts, however, was the humor. I laughed every couple of pages, and read so many excerpts aloud that my 12-year-old picked it up to read as soon as I'd finished it.
The bottom line here, though, is that this is a very subjective book. If you're the kind of person who knows the difference between there, they're, and their, cringes at new car's and truck's, and daydreams about taking a Sharpie to the 10 items or less sign, you'll probably love this. If that sounds obsessive to you, and like I should get a life, you'll probably hate it.
- A must have for anyone without anything valuable to contribute!
Do you lack a sense of humor? Do you often find yourself lost in a conversation for want of facts or background? Does it bother you that you can't keep up while your friends are making nuanced and critical observations? Then you, my friend, have nothing valuable to contribute. This can often lead to feelings of inadequacy but, now, there's help. Thanks to this marvelous little manifesto of pig-headedness, you can learn how to be an enormous pedantic jerk in only a few days. Now you don't need to make valuable contributions to a conversation to make the others look stupid! You can just appeal to an arbitrarily contrived set of social conventions like grammar, and then sit back with a self-satisfied grin on your face. Your friends are guaranteed to love your newfound lack of personality, your smug demeanor, and your love of formalism and vacuous procedure. In no time at all, they'll be sure to stop assailing you with a misused jumble of symbols. In fact, they'll probably stop talking to you altogether. Call now!...more info
- Perfect for grammar nerds!
This book was funny and informative. I recommend it to all English teachers and grammar nerds. The only reason I didn't give it five stars is because the humor is redundant so I found myself rolling my eyes a bit by the end....more info
- funny and insightful
This is a great book and makes a subject that can easily be boring funny....more info