Customer Reviews


237 Reviews
5 star:
 (126)
4 star:
 (48)
3 star:
 (28)
2 star:
 (12)
1 star:
 (23)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Friendly Read
I picked this book up after seeing the book shoot up the best seller list. I figured if a book on punctuation could be a number one best seller, then I should probably give it a read; and I am happy to report that I was not disappointed.
The author does a great job of writing about punctuation and explaining why certain things (like the missing comma in Two Weeks...
Published on June 21 2005 by NorthVan Dave

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars Educational but a Disappointment.
It is quite surprising that a book about grammar would become a runaway bestseller in America today, particularly as there are fewer people reading than ever before, but Lynn Truss's Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation has defied all expectations for the genre.
The author is a successful British journalist who decided to pen a book about...
Published on July 11 2004 by Bernard Chapin


‹ Previous | 1 224 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Friendly Read, June 21 2005
I picked this book up after seeing the book shoot up the best seller list. I figured if a book on punctuation could be a number one best seller, then I should probably give it a read; and I am happy to report that I was not disappointed.
The author does a great job of writing about punctuation and explaining why certain things (like the missing comma in Two Weeks Notice) drive her batty. Batty to the point of advocating those legions of punctuation devotees get themselves sets of commas and apostrophes, and enter into the world to rid it of all the bad grammar that is taking place out there.
For anyone who has been annoyed to see things spelt incorrectly or witnessed first hand the poor use of grammar that gets put on street signs and advertisement, this book is definitely up your alley. And for those of us, like me, who just want a good comical read this book is definitely a must have too.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly Entertaining, July 10 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.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Is John Updike a Menace to Society?, May 27 2004
By 
Readers, check your reaction to the following sentence:
Lynne Truss, an English grammarian is bloody fed up with sloppy punctuation.
Does that sentence leave you feeling confused, irritated, or angry? Do you feel you have to second-guess the author of the sentence, forced to ascertain whether s/he was writing to Lynne Truss or about Ms. Truss?
But that sort of thing is almost the norm these days, on both sides of the Atlantic. Of course, we Americans have been struggling for years with FRESH DONUT'S DAILY and Your Server: "MILLY" -- not to mention the archy-and-mehitabel school of e-mail that neither capitalizes nor punctuates and reading through this kind of sentence really gets confusing i think it does at least do you too?
Turns out that even the British--including the elite "Oxbridge" inteligentsia--are wildly ignorant of punctuation's rules and standards. Lynne Truss, an English grammarian and author of EATS, SHOOTS & LEAVES, is bloody fed up with it! So she wrote this handy little book that is ever-so-correct but not condescending, sometimes savage but not silly, full of mission and totally without mush.
Think of Truss as punctuation's own Miss Manners, a combination of leather and lace, with maybe a bit more emphasis on the leather. (She advocates forming possees to paint out incorrect apostrophes in movie placards.) But her examples of bad punctuation serve a purpose: bad punctuation distorts meaning. EATS, SHOOTS & LEAVES includes numerous hilarious backfires of punctuation -- statements and missives that use the exact same words but convey totally opposite messages due to inappropriate punctuation.
Do commas go where they go for breathing, as the do-it-naturally school of non-grammar so many of us were exposed to would have it? Or were they for Medieval chanting or, more analytically, for grammar? Truss explains that it's a mish-mosh of all three, and proceeds to make useful sense of it all. Along the way she confesses she would have gladly borne the children of the 15th-Century Italian typographer who invented Italics and the forward-slash.
With its blend of high dudgeon and helpfulness, Truss steers the reader through the shoals of possession and apostrophes, quotations (British use is a bit differerent from North American, but only a bit, and she notes the difference), the useful if forlorn semicolon, the mighty colon, the bold and (mea culpa) overused dash and other interrupters like parenthesees and commas.
It's important to note that Truss, while something of a true believer, is a believer who lives in the 21st Century. She does not advocate turning back the clock to the 1906 version of Fowler's MODERN ENGLISH USAGE; she is not a snob; she does not overwhelm us with technical terms of grammar and punctuation for their own sake. Just good, common-sense English prescriptive lessons in grammar. People who know they don't know their stuff will learn the right stuff there. People who felt that "the rules" have somehow become archaic in the last thirty years will be happy to see that there are still rules, and while they have become more fluid and pragmatic, they haven't changed inordinately. "It's" still means "It is" and "Its" is still a possessive: "It's a wise publisher that knows its public," say.
Best of all, the teaching is conveyed with wit, bite, and in a snappy tome easy to carry and inexpensive. I'm a former English teacher and I couldn't help but learn and laugh. Highly recommended.
Oh, John Updike? He uses comma faults all that time, that's a sentence like this that splices main clauses together with a comma, maybe using semicolons or starting a new sentence would be better. For us mere mortals, though, standard punctuation fits the norm: once we become world-famous, then we can punctuate at will.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Harry Potter of Grammar Books, Aug. 22 2004
By A Customer
I don't normally read books on grammar or writing but maybe I ought to since this one was so interesting and entertaining. Some people I see have complaints about some of the inconsistencies in the grammar Truss herself uses. I don't know about that. I can say she has done a tremendous service to get the public talking about the nuts and bolts of the English language. That's amazing!
If you're looking for a powerfully good novel to read, I can vouch for A SECRET WORD, AMAGANSETT, and BIRTH OF VENUS.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A quick read -- and you'll learn something!, May 20 2004
By 
Amazon Customer "habek" (Cincinnati, OH United States) - See all my reviews
This is a great book (and a quick read!) that will appeal to several kinds of people:
- those who are sticklers for punctuation
- those who missed out on learning about punctuation in school
- and those who don't understand why some people care so much about punctuation.
The book presents many basic rules of punctuation in a fun way. It's a good book for people interested in learning or reviewing punctuation marks: apostrophes, commas, semicolons, colons, exclamation marks, question marks, quotations marks, and dashes.
Don't skip the last chapter. It's an insightful discussion of the future of punctuation and the impacts of email and text messaging on traditional punctuation, grammar, and spelling rules. Truss makes a good case for not abandoning traditional punctuation conventions, while still being open to changes caused by technology and social norms.
As an English teacher, I would have liked to have seen a little more coverage of basic grammatical concepts to help readers understand the "why" of punctuation. However, by keeping her focus on punctuation, Truss makes the book a quick, entertaining and insightful read.
As a little bonus, because the author is British, the book also makes the reader aware of the differences between British and American punctuation conventions. U.S. readers, in particular, may be surprised to know that the conventions they learned in school regarding whether to put the puncutation inside or outside of quotation marks are different in British English. There are many other subtle differences as well, which are great for anyone to know in this global economy.
So overall, take the time to read this book. You may not agree with every bit of it, but it will make you think, and you'll definitely learn something!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4.0 out of 5 stars An Amusing Guide to Grammar, July 22 2004
My initial thought regarding Eats, Shoots & Leaves was that it is indeed, startlingly funny. Lynne Truss creates an enjoyable and amusing guide to grammar, centering around the old grammarian joke of a Panda that, quite literally, eats, shoots and leaves. The book covers the basics: commas, apostrophes, colons, semicolons and more.
The book was regretably quite short, weighing in at 204 pages. I highly recommend that if anyone is particularly interested in reading this book, that they should consult their local library prior to making an investment, due to the outrageous cost of hardcover books.
Within the last chapter of the book, Ms. Truss includes some interesting commentary concerning the future of punctuation in general. It appears to be a bleak one, with increasingly less formal instruction dedicated to the practice. However, this may not be the death of grammar itself. Perhaps the language is evolving to a level of sophistication where by punctuation is no longer needed. Alas, only time will tell.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars Text Book Writers Take Note, July 18 2004
By 
Rulon D. Foster (Siloam Springs, AR United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Why can't all educational nonfiction be this entertaining? If Truss can succeed with a subject as unpromising as punctuation it ought to be possible with any subject, right? She shows a sure touch for explanations that immediately make one's light bulb go on: For anyone who doubts that the movie title "Two Weeks Notice" needs an apostrophe, she simply asks, "Can you give One Week Notice?" Aside from the many hilarious examples of bad punctuation fracturing a writer's intended meaning, she has an ingenious way of building examples right into her explanations. I often had the feeling that there was cleverness going on here that I wasn't even aware of.
I was a little concerned at first that this was a British book but impressed that the publisher declined to revise it for U.S. publication. Truss is careful to point out differences with American usage and the mother-tongue perspective actually becomes another of the book's charms. Finally, despite her consistently funny viewpoint, I think she achieves a more serious end with her many illustrations of the improbable power of these nonverbal squiggles, dots, and lines to convey subtle shades of meaning. It seems miraculous, really, that we can express so much with so little when both writer and reader are paying attention.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars Remarkable : Interesting, July 18 2004
By 
D S H (Upstate New York, United States) - See all my reviews
Lynne Truss has done an excellent job educating (and entertaining) the public on punctuation. At least, she's done a great job educating and entertaining me.
I began this book with the outlook that I'd finally read a non-fiction book that stood for the truth, and was neither ashamed about it nor self-flattering. This is exactly what I received from Miss Truss' (or perhaps Truss's) Eats, Shoots & Leaves. (Note the George Bernard Shaw style in the writing of the title.)
Let's begin with organization (or perhaps organisation). Truss has done an excellent job organizing this book. Each section deals with a certain portion of punctuation, and sticks to that section (unlike some books such as Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus). When rules apply to the punctuation, Truss lists these rules in a very organized manner and elaborates where extra information is needed. Beginning with an Introduction, then the main sections of punctuation,[<- Notice this Oxford Comma] and following a Concluding section. During all portions of the book she acknowledges the necessary information as well as making references to examples that help to explain certain things or perhaps to offer an opposition.
Writing. Truss' writing is un-matched. She has a simple technique that includes intelligence and advanced ideas. Never does she attempt to step outside her boundaries and write (...let's say: showy) in a showy way. She is quite reserved, but expresses herself and the truth when necessary.
Overall position. Truss stands by herself. She is not afraid to correct those who are incorrect; she is not ashamed to admit her inconsistencies and mistakes. Often non-fiction books take a strong stance and things and don't budge. These stands are commonly outrageous and obviously incorrect in some people's eyes. Truss makes subtle stands for what she believes in, and she believes in the truth.
This is an excellent, quick read. A recommended weekend reader.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars Long live the Oxford comma!, July 18 2004
By 
Salvatore Ruggiero "vatore" (Ithaca, NY) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
I am proud to place this little, handy book next to Strunk and White's "The Elements of Style". It is very pleasing to see that the English language, or the care for it at least, hasn't completely died out, as exemplified by Truss's "Eats, Shoots & Leaves".
Now, I definitely admit that I am slanted on this topic of discussion. Editing is my thing. I cringe at misspelled words, bad syntax, and the misuse of the bloody apostrophe; and this can be seen as a fault. However, this book proves the importance of the little marks that most people don't know how to use. It reveals that if employed improperly, what is meant can be totally changed.
There are moments where sometimes I don't agree with her usage of punctuation; but like the study of English, there can be multiple answers and multiple ways of getting there. For example, she is not into the whole Oxford comma, the last comma in "red, white, and blue". But that is the English language at its (not it's) best - creation by manipulation. No one can have the one guide to doing it right, but precision in style is key.
And if this kind of stuff doesn't interest you, it's rather amusing to read an English woman poking fun at society. She writes with such a humorous and biting tone that I find it to be impossible not to like her style. But, of course, I could be wrong.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3.0 out of 5 stars Educational but a Disappointment., July 11 2004
By 
Bernard Chapin "Ora Et Labora!" (CHICAGO! USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
It is quite surprising that a book about grammar would become a runaway bestseller in America today, particularly as there are fewer people reading than ever before, but Lynn Truss's Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation has defied all expectations for the genre.
The author is a successful British journalist who decided to pen a book about punctuation as it happens to be one of her greatest passions. She dedicated it to "sticklers" everywhere and urged them to unite as the only thing they had to lose was their "sense of proportion." Truss is a perfectionist who dreams of stickler brigades running through the streets and whiting-out misused apostrophes or adding missing question marks to sentences upon advertisements.
There is much that is right about this book. Entire chapters are devoted to individual forms of punctuation. Over 130 pages of the text concern apostrophes, commas, colons, semicolons, dashes, question marks, and exclamation marks. Her work is strong when she is discussing the specifics of grammatical usage. Considerable historical background on language is shared and most of it is quite fascinating. We learn of a controversy created by a deathbed bound Graham Greene adding a comma to a document, and also the situation of Sir Roger Casement whose legal defense hinged on a bizarre grammatical interpretation of the Treason Act of 1351. In the end, Casement was "hanged on a comma."
Eats, Shoots & Leaves can be very educational for those who have difficulty remembering the essentials of grammar. Many will welcome instruction regarding terms like stet, interrobang, and the "yob's comma."
Unfortunately, this reviewer cannot recommend the book as its parts are infinitely greater than its whole. Truss's illuminations are handicapped by her narrative voice. At first, her cheeky and hyper-adrenaline style charm the reader, but by page 50 one longs for a voice that is content to merely inform as opposed to one that seeks to entertain. The incessant asides are tiresome and a source of distraction. Here is an excellent example:
"Look at that sentence fly. Amazing. The way it stays up like that. Would anyone mind if I ate the last sandwich?"
In the sentence below the narrator manages not only to disrupt but to disturb as well:
"That man was Aldus Manutius the Elder (1450-1515) and I will happily admit I hadn't heard of him until about a year ago, but am now absolutely kicking myself that I never volunteered to have his babies."
There is also an irritability about Ms. Truss that cannot be denied. In the following passage, she shares her views regarding someone with whom she once had a transatlantic correspondence,
"In hindsight I see it was unrealistic to expect a pen-pal from the 8th grade in Detroit to write like Samuel Johnson. But on the other hand, what earthly use to me was this vapid mousey moron parading a pigmentational handicap?"
Then there is the matter of Truss's relentless personalization of punctuation marks which will strike anyone as being odd. She loves them and we never hear the end of it. It makes one wonder if the author is attempting to over-compensate for a disdain of humanity by swooning lustily for apostrophes and semi-colons. This excessive enthusiasm for punctuation affects the palate like four packets of saccharin in a small cup of coffee.
Yet another defect is that there has been no Americanization of the book. Her rules and procedures often are inappropriate for those who live outside of Britain. A three page discussion of how and where to use quotation marks disappointingly ends with, "[u]nless, of course, you are in America." Given the amount of sales in England, there is little excuse as to why the publisher didn't alter selected passages to meet the needs of those of us in the colonies.
This reviewer certainly cannot deny that Eats, Shoots & Leaves has some value for neophytes, but there are numerous works on the mechanics of writing, such as L. Sue Baugh's Essentials of English Grammar, that are more informative and less expensive.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 224 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

Eats, Shoots and Leaves
Eats, Shoots and Leaves by Lynne Truss (Paperback - April 11 2006)
CDN$ 17.00 CDN$ 12.27
In Stock
Add to cart Add to wishlist
Only search this product's reviews