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Book Review : Eats, shoots & leaves

October 1, 2009

I really enjoyed reading, Eats, shoots & leaves : the zero tolerance approach to punctuation by Lynne Truss (Profile, 2003). I didn’t know punctuation could be so amusing!

Lynne has a delightfully humorous approach to the English rules of punctuation while at the same time pointing out many of the common errors people make. Encouraging people to laugh at themselves is a subtle, but effective way of promoting change. In particularly she discusses the use of apostrophes, commas, semi colons, colons, dashes, and hyphens. I found the book instructive without being pedantic. Lynne tells interesting stories of how the wrong use of punctuation can give an entirely different meaning. She also uses quotes from famous people, historical stories, as well as sign writers to make her point.

In addition Lynne points some of the discrepancies between American punctuation and English punctuation styles which I found particularly helpful as I often finding myself writing for an American audience.

I also found the title very clever. It is based on a joke about a panda which has a double meaning because of the placement of the comma. This fits so well with the tone of the book.

by Susan Barnes
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Susan Barnes

~ writer of insightful posts about God and faith