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Eats, Shoots and Leaves Kindle Edition

4 out of 5 stars 376 customer reviews

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Length: 252 pages Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled

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Book Description

Everyone knows the basics of punctuation, surely? Aren't we all taught at school how to use full stops, commas and question marks? And yet we see ignorance and indifference everywhere. "Its Summer!" says a sign that cries out for an apostrophe. "ANTIQUE,S," says another, bizarrely. "Pansy's ready", we learn to our considerable interest ("Is she?"), as we browse among the bedding plants.

In Eats, Shoots & Leaves, Lynne Truss dares to say that, with our system of punctuation patently endangered, it is time to look at our commas and semicolons and see them for the wonderful and necessary things they are. If there are only pedants left who care, then so be it. "Sticklers unite" is her rallying cry. "You have nothing to lose but your sense of proportion--and arguably you didn't have much of that to begin with."

This is a book for people who love punctuation and get upset about it. From the invention of the question mark in the time of Charlemagne to Sir Roger Casement "hanged on a comma"; from George Orwell shunning the semicolon to Peter Cook saying Nevile Shute's three dots made him feel all funny", this book makes a powerful case for the preservation of a system of printing conventions that is much too subtle to be mucked about with.


‘A punctuation repair kit. Passionate and witty…fresh and funny.’ Independent

‘If Lynne Truss were Roman Catholic I’d nominate her for sainthood.’ Frank McCourt

‘I laughed, I howled, and I immediately wanted to join the militant wing of the Apostrophe Society. This is great stuff: genuine, heartfelt and rousing.’ Jenny Colgan

‘Enchanting, full of jokes and anecdotes and information. It makes you love punctuation; you want to conserve what is left and perhaps call for more of it.’ Sunday Telegraph

‘It can only be a matter of time before the government seizes the chance to appoint [Truss] minister for punctuation. The manifesto is already written.’ Guardian

‘Truss deserves to be piled high with honours.’ John Humphrys, Sunday Times

‘Worth its weight in gold.’ Independent

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 749 KB
  • Print Length: 252 pages
  • Publisher: Fourth Estate (26 May 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0007329067
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007329069
  • ASIN: B0051UH6YM
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars 376 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #8,204 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
"Eats, Shoots & Leaves" is not a grammar guide per se, as it doesn't really teach the basics of punctuation. Instead, it's a grammarians dream come true - an enjoyable and illuminating discussion of the history and importance of punctuation (Hmmmm, did I use that dash correctly?). Lovers of punctuation have been decrying the use of "netspeak" with no or minimal punctuation. Accordingly, Truss wrote this engaging book with the rallying cry: "Sticklers unite!" However, Truss does not simply attack the web; indeed, she asserts that text messaging and email have made reading more important than it has been of late. However, to paraphrase Bill Clinton, "It's the punctuation stupid!"
Truss's dry British wit (e.g., talking about wanting to marry the inventor of the colon) is used to great effect in her writing. And amusing vignettes are peppered through the text, including the introduction of the "interrobang" as well as the spread of the "Strukenwhite" virus. She even manages to make punctuation seem, well, sexy. If you've ever found yourself in a spirited debate about the Oxford comma (i.e., the second comma in the phrase "red, white, and blue"), then you'll likely enjoy this book.
Some reviewers have asserted that American readers may be a bit lost; however, Truss is careful about pointing out American versus British punctuation uses. I was never confused. Overall, this book is delightful - most highly recommended.
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Format: Paperback
I have for many years been what the author calls a "stickler", i.e. someone who exercises total pedantry where punctuation is concerned. Her book has, therefore, given me the utmost pleasure: whilst reading it I nodded and smiled my agreement at just about every paragraph. In addition, Ms Truss's humour made me laugh out loud on occasion (much to my embarrassment and to the consternation of people around me who observed that I was merely reading about what they saw as boring old punctuation). This book must surely amuse and delight all those "sticklers" who flinch (or worse) when they encounter errors of punctuation (sadly, not just by greengrocers) and should be compulsory reading for all office workers (including the bosses, who dictate commas to their poor, beleaguered secretaries, intending them to go in totally inappropriate places and who have no idea what a semicolon is for). Good on yer, Lynne, and more power to your apostrophe (not to mention your sadly misunderstood semicolon)!

Interestingly, this book gave me reasons for the punctuation I have used (possibly inappropriately at times), as a matter of course over the years without really knowing why, and has corrected me in areas where I was unsure and may have been at fault. It's a book to keep by one's side as a guide for times when in doubt - and who isn't in doubt from time to time? I'm sure someone will answer me on this review to point out where I've failed to punctuate it correctly!!!

I bought "Talk to the Hand" for my husband, who is a "manners stickler", last Christmas and he also sat nodding and smiling (and even quietly commenting, "Oh my goodness, yes!") whilst reading it (or even more colourfully now and again!). I therefore think Ms Truss must have a real talent for getting people to nod and smile (and be even more colourful!!!). Good for her! I urge you to read both books, to learn and enjoy the (very painless) lessons!
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By Beansmummy TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 30 July 2009
Format: Paperback
I borrowed this from the library; what a delight! I did not expect to enjoy it (got it through curiosity more than anything) but it was superb. Very entertaining, especially for anyone who just despises the huge ignorance constantly displayed in everyday signs, emails and official letters.

It also taught me the name of those 3 little dots... (ellipsis in case you cared), and a great deal of other useful punctuation information that I'd forgotten or never knew (ways to use a semicolon; apostrophe clangers...). Definitely a book for sticklers. Those who are too ignorant to care about punctuation will not enjoy the book. Those that make the effort to write well for the benefit of the reader will worship at the feet of Lynne for her clear, informative and very funny book!
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Format: Hardcover
Punctuation is rather like taxation law - it's a dry old subject but if you don't understand it you can't use it to your advantage. Having left a rather unimpressive comprehensive school at the age of 15, I relished the chance of receiving some, albeit late, tuition in punctuation. And I got it, courtesy of Lynne Truss. OK, professional journalists, English scholars and the like may scoff. They take such skills for granted whilst forgetting that some of us are educationally disadvantaged in this respect.
Although entirely comfortable with apostrophes, I was never really sure on which occasions to use a colon or a semi-colon. I liberally use dashes in my texts as alternatives to commas - but was uncertain whether this was permissible. I now know that it is. Furthermore, I am finally able to appreciate the importance of hyphenation to avoid ambiguity. Thanks, Lynne!
The book was also mildly entertaining but I can't honestly say that I was unable to put it down - especially if there was something more enthralling on the telly. Glad I read it, though.
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Format: Paperback
I highly recommend this book IF you have an interest in the english language, its punctuation, the development and abuse of said. This book is accessible, very funny, and well written. Lynne obviously cares about her subject and actually had a long-running national newspaper column on punctuation and its abuse.
If you are regularly infuriated by the greengrocer's apostrophe (carrot's, apple's, etc.) or wonder who invented the question mark (these things don't just turn up out of the blue, you know) then this is the book for you.
Buy it. Read it. Read it again. Bore everyone you know to tears with it. I did!
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