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43 of 43 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly Entertaining
"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...
Published on 8 Aug 2004 by Westley

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67 of 71 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Informative and mildly entertaining
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...
Published on 4 April 2005 by Mr. S. Foster


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43 of 43 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly Entertaining, 8 Aug 2004
By 
Westley (Stuck in my head) - See all my reviews
"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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61 of 63 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Buy this book for the pedant in your life!, 4 July 2007
By 
Mr. P. G. Smith (Southsea, Hants, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
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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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Edutainment: a tour de force., 8 Mar 2005
It is critical for anyone who picks up Truss' book to remember that this is a book about grammar. If you write text messages or emails that look like the contents of Alphabetti Spaghetti, then this book will most likely seem a pedantic rant. The truth is, of course, that it is. Truss' point is that grammar is essential to language; she worries that as we write more and more, we're communicating less and less. Grammar lends words meaning, order, and emotion, something she demonstrates par excellance. Applications of grammar are illustrated and taught in a light-hearted but thorough way, leaving one entertained and informed. I dare say the book will actually goad some into reviving their grammar.
This book is not an apologetic, which some reviewers criticise it for not being! It is very much a book connected to people. Truss explains her own personal crusade for grammar. The fundamental argument is that, critically, without grammar people will be unable to connect to other people in a comprehensible way. 'Eats, Shoots and Leaves' is a plea, a call to arms to the English-speaking peoples to understand they have a language which can be enhanced, manipulated and nuanced in unique ways with the proper application of grammar.
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67 of 71 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Informative and mildly entertaining, 4 April 2005
By 
Mr. S. Foster (Doncaster, Yorkshire United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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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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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars This woman is brilliant!, 30 July 2009
By 
Beansmummy (Oxfordshire, UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
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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40 of 43 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A pleasure to read - but don't expect to learn much, 10 Feb 2004
By 
Bobby Elliott (Erskine, UK) - See all my reviews
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This little book (204 small pages of large type) is fun to read. The author has an amusing and engaging style that makes it a pleasure to read. You get the feeling that she pretends to be a "punctuation fascist" but actually appreciates the futility of being over-fussy about presentation.
Don't buy this book is you want to learn how to punctuate correctly. Although the book covers the most common errors in punctuation, it's too short to cover any of them in much depth so I'm not sure if you would learn a great deal from reading this book. There are much better books on punctuation if you're serious about mastering it. In fact, I suspect that the book is best for someone who already has a good grasp of (and interest in) punctuation and simply wants to learn a little more about it. I found particularly interesting the historical background to punctuation marks that is scattered across the chapters.
So if you have already mastered punctuation, have an interest in this subject, and you want a light, amusing read then this little book comes highly recommended.
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400 of 435 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Witty, intelligent and fun, 24 Nov 2003
This book is a must read for anyone who feels alone in their own love and obsession with the English language. In a consistently tongue-in-cheek style Lynne Truss has managed to explain the straightforward and oft-abused rules of correct English punctuation in a manner that made me laugh out loud.
It could be very difficult to write a book such as this, which points out people's widespread ignorance of correct punctuation, without sounding insulting or patronising, but the author manages this perfectly by always maintaining the appropriate level of self-deprecation. Yes it IS obsessive, it IS unfashionable, and it IS a little geeky, but her near-obsession with an exacting standard of English punctuation is refreshing, educational and, with her sense of timing and delivery, absolutely hilarious.
"Eats, Shoots and Leaves" is the perfect book for anyone who takes their English, but not themselves, seriously.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Very clever, but not as wonderful as some believe, 6 Jan 2007
By 
Rowena Hoseason "Hooligween" (Kernow, Great Britain) - See all my reviews
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I have huge admiration for Lynne Truss and for what she has accomplished with this book. She has provoked a debate about the written English language which will serve it well, and has stimulated many thousands of people to actually care about what they are writing and how they are writing it.

I expected to love the book, but was surprised by how difficult it was to enjoy.

The problem is not in the meat of the book, the middle section, which is all about the history, evolution and use of popular punctuation. That's the best bit of it and is thoroughly informative and good reading.

The opening chapters are the major issue; Lynne hectors and rants and has a good old moan about how awful everything is. Frankly, it's hard going even if you are a perfect punctuator. For someone who has learned a little grammar the hard way, by picking it up as I go along and by figuring out the rules from well-written examples, I found it all rather oppressive. 15 years ago I was one of those people who didn't know where on earth to put an apostrophe, and it was hard not to feel vaguely insulted and rather embarrassed by the opening section's torrent of scorn and outrage.

If you persevere then you'll be rewarded by the middle sections which are much more fun, more fact-based, and as a result are more educational.

The end, again, slithers back into a rant against modern communication and a gloomy, miserable outlook that we're all doomed, laddy, to use emoticons and thus forsake the elegance of language itself.

Lynne says that this is not a textbook, nor a grammatical guide, and she recommends several other books for people who really want to know more about the hard rules (and soft rules) of written English.

"Eats, Shoots and Leaves..." is not such a book.

It's an entertainment.

It's probably most rewarding for those folk who enjoyed a "proper" education and who can smugly agree with every word Lynne says (probably without having to put those rules into practise very often).

For anyone who has experienced an education in the UK's comprehensive system in the last 25 years, this isn't a particularly helpful or inspiring volume. Try something like the Sunday Times "Wordpower" guide instead; which is full of concise information and which isn't full of judgmental comment.

Must try harder?
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67 of 73 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Join the Campaign to Save Our Language!, 21 Dec 2003
Greengrocer's apostrophes or greengrocers' apostrophes? If you can be bothered by the difference and, more to the point in this age of deteriorating standards, know that there is a difference, then this must be on your wish list! Better still, buy it today.
Truss writes with knowledge and humour, but she has a serious point to make - that quality of expression matters, and that standards of written expression are alarmingly low. Truss is a first class teacher, and she carefully explains both the history and 'rules' of punctuation.
As an English teacher, I don't agree with her every point, but I warmly welcome her message. Since buying this book just two weeks ago, I have already started using the anecdotes in class and plugging this book at every opportunity.
Buy it, read it and spread its message.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hilarious, entertaining and educational at the same time, 4 Aug 2006
By 
Linda Oskam "dutch-traveller" (Amsterdam Netherlands) - See all my reviews
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A panda enters a restaurant, orders a sandwich, eats it, then draws a gun and fires two shots in the air. The reason: according to the wildlife manual that he carries he is supposed to behave this way: a panda "eats, shoots and leaves". How one comma too many can change the life of a peaceful animal like a panda... This hilarious "zero-tolerance guide to punctuation" not only explores why people have problems with punctuation, but also explains in a thought-provoking way how punctuation should be used and what the role(s) of the different punctuation signs sare in helping people to understand the text before them. And not only such well-known signs as the apostrophe (a sign on an American restaurant stating "nigger's out" is NOT the same as "niggers out"), the period and the comma are discussed; the semicolon, the hyphen and the ellipsis are explained as well, with examples that make you snigger and read on. And I have probably made a zillion mistakes in the punctuation of the previous few sentences, but I still have the feeling that the book helped me (as a non-native speaker) to better how and when to use punctuation when writing English.
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Eats, Shoots and Leaves
Eats, Shoots and Leaves by Lynne Truss (Paperback - 1 Oct 2009)
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