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March 13, 2006

Truss, Eats, Shoots & Leaves 1 -- Jerz: Intro to Literary Study (EL150)

Before reading Eats, Shoots and Leaves, I thought to myself, "Oh here we go...another boritng grammer book is what Elyse Branam will be reading for the next hour and will probably be falling asleep only to wake up again and try to figure out where she had left off." WRONG! I have to say, this book is so much better than any thing I have ever read in the past. It is not only comical, but it is educational in a fun kind of way. For instance, when reading the introduction, I came across two very comical sentences:

A woman, without her man, is nothing. (meaning a woman without a man is nothing at all...)
A woman: without her, man is nothing. (meaning a man is nothing without a woman...)

I think I would have to say that the second sentence is true because obviously, we all know that behind every strong man is a stronger woman holding him up!

While reading the introduction, I also found this section interesting. "...Well, ours will be 'Pipe Up'. Be a nuisance. Do something. And if possible use a bright red pen. Send back emails that are badly punctuated..."
Does this NOT remind you of Professor Jerz? I believe he even said himself, that he has sent back badly punctuated emails to the sender.

After reading the first section, "The Tractable Apostrophe", I now feel sorry for that stupid apostrophe that we miscommonly use! I wish I would have the chance to see a sigh with misused grammar and apostrophe use. (Thanks Kevin for posting one your blog) But honestly, where are these signs? I hope I'm not one of those people who see the signs and don't recognize it... :/ This chapter was interesting and shed the light on some things that I new, but never really paid attention to. Thanks Lynne Truss!!

Posted by ElyseBranam at March 13, 2006 09:03 PM


I think I may have gotten carried away a bit and exaggerated a little. There have been a few times when I have gotten a student e-mail that has bothered me so much that I went ahead and answered the student's question without compaining about the grammar, but then the next time class met given a general lecture about formality and professionalism in e-mail.

We regularly communicate in both formal and informal settings. In formal settings, the rules are more strict. For an informal situation, a few typos are nothing serious. While I welcome and always respond positively to good wriitng, I'd much rather read lots of brilliant ideas in a blog entry that has a few mistakes in it than read only a few lines of dry, unimaginative, but perfectly correct prose.

When I get an e-mail from a stranger, I'll respond more seriously to the person who seems to have put more effort into the request. So I'm actually more likely to trash a poorly written e-mail than send it back with corrections.

I'm glad you're enjoying the book, Elyse. My main goal is to get us thinking about and talking about this stuff, and we're doing that already.

I know that Truss's attitude is a bit risky... but I'm happy that the build-up I gave the book has prepared you to enjoy it.

Posted by: Dennis G. Jerz at March 13, 2006 11:18 PM

Professor Jerz, I didn't mean it in a bad way. I'm sorry if that's how my comment about you sounded. I was just making reference to the book and relating it to our class. But yes, I have been enjoying this book. It's much different from the other English grammar books I have read. Once again, I'm sorry. I did not write that for you to explain yourself. I'm sorry!!

Posted by: ElyseBranam at March 14, 2006 01:18 PM

I'm glad you liked the book, Elyse. Congrats that you read the whole thing without sleeping. Truss, to me, have this "wake up" attitude toward the English major community. It's the things that we take for granted that we forget the quickest. The fact that when know most of the rules in English grammar and not all of them, might not look well when we graduate. I just what to know what Lynne Truss thinks about ebonics? (BTW: Thanks for mentioning the sign.)

Posted by: Kevin "Kelo The Great" Hinton at March 14, 2006 01:23 PM

Don't worry, Elyse. I didn't take it that way at all.

Posted by: Dennis G. Jerz at March 14, 2006 02:58 PM

Elyse, I know what you mean about not wanting to be the one who doesn't notice the sign. Who writes they're instead of thier or it's instead of its. I loved Truss's approach to this but it can seem intimidating at times. What I liked the most was that she made us all feel like we're on the same side, with her writing. I liked it too :)

Posted by: Andy Lonigro at March 14, 2006 04:52 PM

I never seem to notice the signs, unless they are humorous... but then sometimes I'll be driving down Route 30 or something with Karissa and suddenly she'll start screaming! Usually I freak out and start swerving all over the road, then she tells me that she saw a sign that said "Mens' Big and Tall" or something.

It's good to have people that notice this stuff, otherwise we'd be ignorant to some of our biggest social issues... like punctuation.

Posted by: Mike Rubino at March 14, 2006 08:08 PM

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