Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Eats, Shoots and Leaves: The zero-tolerance approach to punctuation

That's the name of the book, on punctuation ailments of the world, by Lynne Truss. The book started with quite silly examples of improper punctuation but eventually it got interesting. It gives examples of how the meaning of text changes based on punctuation and my favourite is:

A woman, without her man, is nothing.
A woman: without her, man is nothing.

I agree that you can find such examples easily on the internet but that's not all to it. It talks about various rules of punctuation. Again everyone would've read them in their primary school but I'd conveniently forgotten them. Though the author says that this book is not learn punctuation but to see how punctuation evolved, I still feel that it'll be interesting to only those who are also inclined towards revising their punctuation. It's only after reading this book that I've become particular about the use of "its" and "it's", not to start a sentence with "and" or "but" and so on.

A chapter each is devoted to a punctuation mark which elaborates on its rules, common mistakes and it's evolution. Since I've read this book I've become quite punctuation-conscious; and I totally agree with her that with the spread of electronic communication english is losing its style.

Bottomline: A good read.

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