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Of Grammar, Punctuation, and Usage

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
Started as separate thread from this one on Men's Clothing, there's best seller in the UK about this topic: Eats Shoots and Leaves. The book concentrates mosly on the apostrophe, but also addresses quotation marks, punctuation inside them, punctuation outside them, American usage, and of course the comma -and the myriad forms of possesives whose singular ends in "s". Or "s." Brush up on your Shakespeare, uh, British culture; there are several pun-ny (though not puny) references to literature and poetry.
post #2 of 12
I saw this on Amazon, and I am glad such a subject has become a best seller. I have had to forcibly resist ripping apart people's grammar and spelling many a time. Maybe this will improve the average grammar and spelling in the world.
post #3 of 12
Thread Starter 
I have enjoyed the book. It took a little editing to get the title italicized in the URL; apologies for the italics and the underlining, but I can't turn off underlining in a link.
post #4 of 12
Aha, but underlining is the proper way to set off a title of a book.
post #5 of 12
I believe that Eats, Shoots and Leaves was on the New York Times bestseller list for some time this past summer. I read it a couple of months ago and found it amusing, if occasionally irritating. The author tends to be a bit full of herself, and her righteous indignation is excessive. If anyone is interested in a serious book or two on the subject, I'd recommend The Elements of Style by William Strunk, Hodges' Harbrace College Handbook (which has carried me from prep school through grad school), or the latest edition of either the MLA Handbook or the Chicago Manual of Style.
post #6 of 12
Quote:
Aha, but underlining is the proper way to set off a title of a book.
Not in the age of computers, when you italicize (per MLA and Chicago style). Though when you write a book title by hand or type it up on a manual typewriter, you still underline.
post #7 of 12
I recently devoured this book after my wife received it as an office gift. It seems either you're the sort to get irritated by pervasive mistakes in written English, or you're not. As an admitted member of the former group who often empathizes with the author's desire to carry a permanent marker around town with her, I found it entertaining and not a little vindicating. It was also interesting to learn how many of the details we agonize over when writing--the necessity or superfluity of certain commas, for example--are not governed by hard-and-fast rules, but fall instead within the realm of artistic preference or even political debate (witness the rise of "house" style manuals). Naïvely, perhaps, I was a bit surprised that Ms. Truss found enough material to fill a book after having restricted herself to punctuation errors alone. There's certainly much more mud to sling in the broader postmodern quagmire of solecisms, malapropisms, and wanton lexical blurrings that obliterate precision and foster ambiguity: For instance, I cringe when I read that some newly contrite soul, recognizing that his actions are beyond the pail, is resolved to reign in his criminal behavior, lay low for a while, tow the line, stop flaunting the rules, keep the Good Book at his beckon call, and generally set himself on the straight and narrow path for all intensive purposes. How can you write archly about, say, a child of privilege, when half your target audience thinks "to the manor born" is the original form of the expression? I suppose many of these objections can be made to sound prissy and pedantic, but when we can no longer reliably distinguish between imply and infer, prescribe and proscribe, or continual and continuous even in formal writing, we've lost part of our capacity for expression and understanding. I think someone here has a .sig line quoting Lewis Carroll thus: "If it was so, it might be; and if it were so, it would be; but as it isn't, it ain't. That's logic." Coarsen the language sufficiently, and little gems like this become incomprehensible. Now, punctuate the following so that it makes sense. That that is is that that is not is not that that is is not that that is not that that is not is not that that is is that not it
post #8 of 12
Quote:
I believe that Eats, Shoots and Leaves was on the New York Times bestseller list for some time this past summer. I read it a couple of months ago and found it amusing, if occasionally irritating. The author tends to be a bit full of herself, and her righteous indignation is excessive. If anyone is interested in a serious book or two on the subject, I'd recommend The Elements of Style by William Strunk, Hodges' Harbrace College Handbook (which has carried me from prep school through grad school), or the latest edition of either the MLA Handbook or the Chicago Manual of Style.
And most amusing of all, there are several errors in the book of a grammatical/punctuation nature, heh. koji
post #9 of 12
I too read Eats, Shoots and Leaves. I am one of those people who gets peeved by incorrect grammar and punctuation. 'Course, as a lawyer, when so much of what we do is reading and writing, it's pretty important to know one's grammar, punctuation, etc. Not that I'm perfect by any means.... But, I'd highly recommend the book. It describes the rules and is relatively entertaining about it too. My favorite: Her description of the proper use of "its" versus "it's" -- use "it's" if "it is" or "it has" fits; otherwise use "its." Simple, short and sweet.
post #10 of 12
Quote:
Quote:
(jasonpraxis @ 10 Dec. 2004, 5:37) I believe that Eats, Shoots and Leaves was on the New York Times bestseller list for some time this past summer. I read it a couple of months ago and found it amusing, if occasionally irritating. The author tends to be a bit full of herself, and her righteous indignation is excessive. If anyone is interested in a serious book or two on the subject, I'd recommend The Elements of Style by William Strunk, Hodges' Harbrace College Handbook (which has carried me from prep school through grad school), or the latest edition of either the MLA Handbook or the Chicago Manual of Style.
And most amusing of all, there are several errors in the book of a grammatical/punctuation nature, heh. koji
English isn't my native tongue, yet I found mistakes in the book as well. I didn't appreciate the tone at all, and typically shy away from bestsellers, but a colleague insisted I would find it funny and "pushed it on me". With such a subject matter, I do prefer a serious approach. My position is difficult, for a non-native: since I collaborate with Americans, I often find myself having to correct their mistakes, because otherwise they will get printed for thousands of people to see.
post #11 of 12
Of course, the accepted style within the publishing industry is to capitalize the entire title of the work you are referencing. Thus, if I were to write a post on EATS, SHOOTS, AND LEAVES, well, you get the point. The book was a tremendous best-seller in the UK last year, and has left booksellers searching for this year's E,S, AND L. The author's next book will be on manners.
post #12 of 12
Quote:
The author's next book will be on manners.
Or was that 'manors'?  
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