19 September 2011

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

Do you love the printed word?

Do typos drive you crazy? 

Lynn Truss has written a gem of a book that is all about punctuation and its use...or mis-use.
She writes about the modern-day state of punctuation in the UK and US. Her writing is both humorous and educational. 

If you read the book and find punctuation that you disagree with in the text, realize that the British differ from Americans on some points.

The title of the book is based on this:

"A panda walks into a café. He orders a sandwich, eats it, then draws a gun and proceeds to fire it at the other patrons.
'Why?' asks the confused, surviving waiter amidst the carnage, as the panda makes towards the exit. The panda produces a badly punctuated wildlife manual and tosses it over his shoulder.
'Well, I'm a panda,' he says, at the door. 'Look it up.'
The waiter turns to the relevant entry in the manual and, sure enough, finds an explanation. 'Panda. Large black-and-white bear-like mammal, native to China. Eats, shoots and leaves.'"


  1. :-) That was cute.

    I might add this to my to be read list. I know I need to brush-up on this subject and was actually thinking about taking a classroom course.

    Proper proof reading methods help a lot too. I re-read everything before I post but what I'm learning is that I need to step away and come back to it to catch the smaller errors. I can't tell you how many times something goes live and the next day I catch a typo!

  2. I feel the same way, Shannon. We are often too close to our own written word and our mind can so quickly absorb what we've already written that we don't see our own mistakes.

    It was a fun and interesting book!

  3. I checked that book out from the library a few years ago: it sure was fun!

    I think the major societal issue is that it's not so much typos as it is sheer grammatical ignorance.

    The abuse of punctuation is a frequent topic over on one of my favorite websites, Cake Wrecks. How sweet it is!

  4. Yes, Susan, you are correct. Typos are basically mistakes; mistakes that were overlooked by an editor or that a computer program didn't recognize as mistakes. Ignorance is a big part of the problem.


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