Eats, Shoots & Leaves

Even though English is my second language, there is no excuse for my improper use of punctuations; however, I don’t feel so bad for not getting it correctlyt because Lynne Truss’s Eats, Shoots & Leaves, the Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation, shows British and American make mistakes too. As a stickler, Truss is fed up with the incorrect use punctuations and she shows no love for the ones who misused them.

Unlike other grammar books, Eats, Shoots & Leaves is concise, humorous, and approachable. Truss demonstrates how misplaced punctuation could alter the communication and she does it in a witty manor. She has done a great job of providing correct and incorrect usage of basic punctuation side by side for comparison. The best part of the book is the little history of punctuation such as: who invented italics, semicolon, coma, etc. Thanks to Truss, I am now clear on the use of ellipses and [sic].

I am not an expert on this subject. On the contrary, I am not even close to average; therefore, reading this book and writing this review is a hard task. Not only I have to read it slowly and carefully, I also have to write down useful advices. There is one usage of punctuation in the book I am quite confused and hoping Truss would explain it but she didn’t. From what I can recall from reading grammar books, the punctuation always goes before the quote; however Truss uses it interchangeably throughout the book. For Example:

Punctuation is “a courtesy designed to help readers to understand a story without stumbling”.

Notice how Truss uses the period after the quote. Shouldn’t it be before the quote? One time she uses it after; other time she uses before. Can someone explain to me when to use it after/before appropriately?

I can easily see how this book would make it to English classes required reading. Eats, Shoots & Leaves is both invaluable and enjoyable for anyone who would like to punctuate properly.