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Who would have thought a book about punctuation could cause such a sensation? Certainly not its modest if indignant author, who began her surprise hit motivated by "horror" and "despair" at the current state of British usage: ungrammatical signs ("BOB,S PETS"), headlines ("DEAD SONS PHOTOS MAY BE RELEASED") and band names ("Hear'Say") drove journalist and novelist Truss absolutely batty. But this spirited and wittily instructional little volume, which was a U.K. #1 bestseller, is not a grammar book, Truss insists; like a self-help volume, it "gives you permission to love punctuation." Her approach falls between the descriptive and prescriptive schools of grammar study, but is closer, perhaps, to the latter. (A self-professed "stickler," Truss recommends that anyone putting an apostrophe in a possessive "its"-as in "the dog chewed it's bone"-should be struck by lightning and chopped to bits.) Employing a chatty tone that ranges from pleasant rant to gentle lecture to bemused dismay, Truss dissects common errors that grammar mavens have long deplored (often, as she readily points out, in isolation) and makes elegant arguments for increased attention to punctuation correctness: "without it there is no reliable way of communicating meaning." Interspersing her lessons with bits of history (the apostrophe dates from the 16th century; the first semicolon appeared in 1494) and plenty of wit, Truss serves up delightful, unabashedly strict and sometimes snobby little book, with cheery Britishisms ("Lawks-a-mussy!") dotting pages that express a more international righteous indignation.
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This impassioned manifesto on punctuation made the best-seller lists in Britain and has followed suit here. Journalist Truss gives full rein to her "inner stickler" in lambasting common grammatical mistakes. Asserting that punctuation "directs you how to read in the way musical notation directs a musician how to play," Truss argues wittily and with gusto for the merits of preserving the apostrophe, using commas correctly, and resurrecting the proper use of the lowly semicolon. Filled with dread at the sight of ubiquitous mistakes in store signs and headlines, Truss eloquently speaks to the value of punctuation in preserving the nuances of language. Liberally sprinkling the pages with Briticisms ("Lawks-a-mussy") and moving from outright indignation to sarcasm to bone-dry humor, Truss turns the finer points of punctuation into spirited reading. Joanne Wilkinson
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
A comma is enticing. A semi-colon is seductive. A colon....well....promises so much more!Published 1 month ago by Mary Hemmings
great read on what would normally be a a boring topic- punctuation. Injected humour, historical info and clear writing (note the omission of the serial comma) help clear up our... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Klang
Two reasons may account for this book becoming The Runaway #1 British Bestseller. The first is, “Many people who couldn’t punctuate their way out of a paper bag are still... Read morePublished 3 months ago by Gaboora
A very well-written book.Entertaining to read and also informative. I always had issues with punctuation. The little things that drive one mad. Read morePublished 4 months ago by anthony ramnarine
Too many of us have forgotten how to use punctuation correctly and may not appreciate how it impacts on meaning.Published 17 months ago by Thomas Hasek
Great read with very funny examples of common english grammatical errors. Which makes me loathe to write too much since I am sure to make at least one myself....... Read morePublished on Jan. 8 2012 by C. Obonsawin
The book is excellent.
The delivery was too long. I ordered it on the 17th of December and it didn't arrive until well after Christmas via Europe !!!