51 of 51 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
69 of 73 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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51 of 51 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 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.
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Edutainment: a tour de force.,
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.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Should be compulsory reading for every office worker!,
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!
67 of 70 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Buy this book for the pedant in your life!,
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!
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars This woman is brilliant!,
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!
69 of 73 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 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.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars For Punctuation Vigilantes,
'This book gives you permission love punctuation' says Lynne Truss in the Introduction, and that just about sums it up. If you value clarity of expression, you will enjoy this. If you are already a punctuation expert then you will undoubtedly share the author's frustration with the ghastly errors that seem to be so commonplace these days. If you know that you need a little bit of help in placing your commas, aspostrophes, semi-colons and colons, then the basic rules are here, and clearly explained. The light-hearted narrative makes the whole thing an easy and entertaining read, and it's much more than just a Grumpy Old Woman-type rant because it actually presents the solution rather than just moaning. So get punctuating!
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not great but not bad either,
Subtitled "The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation", this isn't a grammatical how-to book, it's about the correct use of punctuation. It starts by looking at the different meanings you can give to the same passage of text without changing the words, just the placement of the punctuation. For example compare the two passages:
I want a man who knows what love is all about. You are generous, kind, thoughtful. People who are not like you admit to being useless and inferior. You have ruined me for other men. I yearn for you. I have no feelings whatsoever when we're apart. I can be forever happy - will you let me be yours?
I want a man who knows what love is. All about you are generous, kind, thoughtful people, who are not like you. Admit to being useless and inferior. You gave ruined me. For other men I yearn! For you I have no feelings whatsoever. When we're apart I can be forever happy. Will you let me be?
It then spends a bit of time talking about the main punctuation marks including the full stop, comma, apostrophe, exclaimation mark, question mark, colon and semicolon. She gives you the correct use of each and then a little time is spent on some examples showing how correct use changes the meaning of a sentence.
It was quite funny in places, but it didn't really tell me much that I didn't know already (except perhaps about the semicolon which I have never used). I think the main problem with this book is that people who already use punctuation are the type of people who will be interested in reading this book. Those who are unsure or don't really bother with it will see it as boring and pedantic and therefore not read it. This mostly defeats it's purpose!
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,
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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.
400 of 435 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Witty, intelligent and fun,
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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Eats, Shoots and Leaves by Lynne Truss (Paperback - 1 Oct. 2009)