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Eats, Shoots & Leaves by Lynne Truss

July 14, 2011

According to Lynn Truss, I’m a stickler. I get all sorts of annoyed if I see a sign that says “Apple’s $1.99” – do these apples somehow own that dollar and 99 cents? And WHY can people not figure out that if you did it also, you did it “too,” not “to” or “two”? So, yes, ok, I’m a stickler, and Eats, Shoots & Leaves was the perfect book for me.

Lynn Truss fully describes the who-what-where-why-and-when of apostrophes, commas, dashes, quotation marks. Every lovely grammatical question you’ve ever had is laid out here in thorough – and hilarious – terms. In fact, the best part of Eats, Shoots & Leaves is that Lynn Truss is very, very funny. Maybe just because I completely relate to her grammatical intensity, but I found myself laughing out loud:

  • People who put in all the commas betray themselves as moral weaklings with empty lives and out-of-date reference books.
  • “Ted locked himself in the shed; England lost to Argentina.” With the semicolon in place, Tom locking himself in the shed and England losing to Argentina sound like two things that really got on the nerves of someone else. “It was a terrible day, Mum: Tom locked himself in the shed; England lost to Argentina; the rabbit electrocuted itself by biting into the power cable on the washing machine.”
  • In the family of punctuation… the exclamation mark is the big attention-deficit brother who gets over excited and breaks things and laughs too loudly.

If you are a stickler, pick up this book! If you aren’t, pick up this book and figure out all the grammatical things you are doing wrong! 🙂

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One Comment leave one →
  1. July 15, 2011 12:45 pm

    I loved this book! I’m one of those people who goes through the express grocery line muttering “8 items or FEWER! FEWER!” Read it a while back. My favorite example is one I can’t repeat – you know which one I’m talking about, right? “When will he be back?” – it’s so good, but it’s impossible to repeat because the more you preface it with explanation, the worse you come off.

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