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Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance…
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Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation (original 2003; edition 2004)

by Lynne Truss

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
14,433319303 (3.81)283
We all know the basics of punctuation. Or do we? A look at most neighborhood signage tells a different story. Through sloppy usage and low standards on the internet, in email, and now text messages, we have made proper punctuation an endangered species. In Eats, Shoots & Leaves, former editor Lynne Truss dares to say, in her delightfully urbane, witty, and very English way, that it is time to look at our commas and semicolons and see them as the wonderful and necessary things they are. This is a book for people who love punctuation and get upset when it is mishandled. From the invention of the question mark in the time of Charlemagne to George Orwell shunning the semicolon, this lively history makes a powerful case for the preservation of a system of printing conventions that is much too subtle to be mucked about with.… (more)
Member:AngiePen
Title:Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation
Authors:Lynne Truss
Info:Gotham (2004), Hardcover, 209 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:
Tags:nonfiction, reference, language, punctuation, English

Work Information

Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation by Lynne Truss (2003)

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» See also 283 mentions

English (314)  Italian (2)  Dutch (1)  Hebrew (1)  All languages (318)
Showing 1-5 of 314 (next | show all)
Although Eats, Shoots & Leavesis well-written and witty, I just didn’t like it. The reason? Simple: Lynne Truss is pretentious. It’s clear that she believes her way is the only right way, looking down on the hoi polloi that dares to punctuate the ‘wrong way’. At times (a lot of times), Eats, Shoots & Leavesreads like an Op-Ed as she sprinkles her own opinion among historical and grammatical facts. Moreover, the book is completely disorganized. Some chapters read like a grammar textbook, while others are rambling history lessons. (Chapter 4 is just a grab bag with whatever Truss felt like throwing in.) If you want to learn about grammar, just grab a textbook. If you want a history lesson on punctuation, just check out Shady Characters by Keith Houston. Eats, Shoots & Leaves offers both, but in too unsystematic and little a quantity to be of much use. ( )
  astronomist | Oct 3, 2021 |
What does this book teach?

- Apostrophes are important; you should use them.
- Commas are important; you should use them.
- Colons are important; you should use them.
- Semi-colons are important; you should use them.
- Exclamation marks are important; you should use them.
- Question marks are important; you should use them.
- Quotation marks are important; you should use them.
- Dashes are important; you should use them.
- Hyphens are important; you should use them.

But that's not all what I learnt. The writer also tells where to use what, and where not. ( )
  abhijeetkumar | Aug 22, 2021 |
I'll admit I have many pet peeves – too many when I start to think about it. One of them is misused punctuation, which is especially prominent on handmade signs, be it at the front of grocery stores, on marquees, wherever. (A documentary I watched recently showed a sign inviting "employee's and families" to an event. Argh!) Lynne Truss shares that pet peeve, but unlike me she went and wrote a book about it. I could never have done so, since outside of obvious things like possessive apostrophes, I'm not very stringent with punctuation, especially commas. Truss is very strict in the use of punctuation, but also very clear, commonsensical and funny. The title, the cover and the "punctuation repair kit" inside the cover clearly indicate her sense of humor. Every so often I pick up a book on writing to improve my own. I'm glad I came across this one in a used bookstore. Even after reading it I keep it on my shelf at work as a handy reference when doubts about punctuation use spring up. ( )
  archidose | May 27, 2021 |
bought at Bogie's and enjoyed every time I've picked it up - Feb 18, 2021 ( )
  Overgaard | Feb 18, 2021 |
For someone who is obsessed with grammar like myself, this is a joy to read, full of humour and correct punctuation! ( )
  OperaMan_22 | Feb 16, 2021 |
Showing 1-5 of 314 (next | show all)
The first punctuation mistake in “Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation” (Gotham; $17.50), by Lynne Truss, a British writer, appears in the dedication, where a nonrestrictive clause is not preceded by a comma. It is a wild ride downhill from there.
added by SR510 | editThe New Yorker, Louis Menand (Jun 28, 2004)
 
When [Truss] stops straining at lawks-a-mussy chirpiness and analyzes punctuation malpractice, she is often persuasive
 
The passion and fun of her arguments are wonderfully clear. Here is someone with abiding faith in the idea that ''proper punctuation is both the sign and the cause of clear thinking.''
 
Lynne Truss's book is (stay with this sentence, and remember the function of punctuation is to 'tango the reader into the pauses, inflections, continuities and connections that the spoken word would convey') as much an argument for clear thinking as it is a pedantic defence of obsolete conventions of written language.
added by mikeg2 | editThe Guardian, Nigel Williams (Nov 9, 2003)
 

» Add other authors (6 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Truss, Lynneprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Byrnes, PatIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
McCourt, FrankForewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Nunn, JamesCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
Dedication
To the memory of the striking Bolshevik printers of St Petersburg who, in 1905, demanded to be paid the same rate for punctuation marks as for letters, and thereby directly precipitated the first Russian Revolution
First words
Either this will ring bells for you, or it won't.
Quotations
On the page, punctuation performs its grammatical function, but in the mind of the reader it does more than that. It tells the reader how to hum the tune.
But I can't help feeling that our punctuation system, which has served the written word with grace and ingenuity for centuries, must not be allowed to disappear without a fight.
A panda walks into a cafe.

He orders a sandwich, eats it, then draws a gun and fires two shots in the air.
"Why?" asks the confused waiter, as the panda makes towards the exit. The panda produces a badly punctuated wildlife manual and tosses it over his shoulder.
"I'm a panda," he says at the door. "Look it up."
The waiter turns to the relevant entry and, sure enough, finds an explanation.
"Panda. Large black-and-white bear-like mammal, native to China. Eats, shoots and leaves."
Last words
Disambiguation notice
This is not the same work as:

1.  "Eats, Shoots and Leaves: Why, Commas Do Make a Difference!", which is the children's version of the book;

2. the various calendars inspired by this book;

3. "Eats, Shoots and Leaves: Cutting a Dash", which is a recording of a radio show associated with the book.
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We all know the basics of punctuation. Or do we? A look at most neighborhood signage tells a different story. Through sloppy usage and low standards on the internet, in email, and now text messages, we have made proper punctuation an endangered species. In Eats, Shoots & Leaves, former editor Lynne Truss dares to say, in her delightfully urbane, witty, and very English way, that it is time to look at our commas and semicolons and see them as the wonderful and necessary things they are. This is a book for people who love punctuation and get upset when it is mishandled. From the invention of the question mark in the time of Charlemagne to George Orwell shunning the semicolon, this lively history makes a powerful case for the preservation of a system of printing conventions that is much too subtle to be mucked about with.

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We all know the basics of punctuation. Or do we? A look at most neighborhood signage tells a different story. Through sloppy usage and low standards on the internet, in email, and now text messages, we have made proper punctuation an endangered species. In Eats, Shoots & Leaves, former editor Lynne Truss dares to say, in her delightfully urbane, witty, and very English way, that it is time to look at our commas and semicolons and see them as the wonderful and necessary things they are. This is a book for people who love punctuation and get upset when it is mishandled. From the invention of the question mark in the time of Charlemagne to George Orwell shunning the semicolon, this lively history makes a powerful case for the preservation of a system of printing conventions that is much too subtle to be mucked about with.
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