It Is a Puctuation Book, Not a Grammar Book

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"Eats, Shoots & Leaves is not a book about grammar.  I am not a grammarian.  To me a subordinate clause will for ever be (since I heard the actor Martin Jarvis describe it thus) one of Santa's little helpers.  A degree in English language is not a prerequisite for caring about where a bracket is preferred to a dash, or a comma needs to be replaced by a semicolon...So if this book doesn't instruct about punctuation, what does it do?  Well, you know those self-help books that five you permission to love yourself?  This one gives you permission to love punctuation."

-From pages 32-33 of Eats, Shoots & Leaves by Lynne Truss

Okay, so I jumped the gun about declaring this writer's idea.  I've learned the lesson: Finish the chapter before making a claim (see my other blog on Eats, Shoots & Leaves).  I'm actually very glad that Truss chose to reveal these sentiments so early in the book.  Truss' use of historical background about the punctuation that we use is also an interesting addition.  Instead of just presenting the rules as if they magically appeared out of thin air one day and were printed into the most boring book ever created, Truss provides the reader with a background as to how and why we have these rules today.  This perspective is really helping me to better understand some of the areas of punctuation that I did not understand before.  This historical background coupled with references to popular culture, really make the book unique.

 

(P.S. if you are like me and don't read the back of the book until you are finished with it, please read the back of this one because it is really funny)

 

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