Saturday, July 08, 2006

Eats, Shoots & Leaves - great passages

Trying to finish this book today, so I can finish my feature tomorrow (I know, priorities!). But at least I may have a better sense of proper punctuation (though I'm happy to say I knew most of the rules I've come across in this book so far).

Anyhoo, here's a passage that showcases Truss's ability to make a dull topic seem interesting, at least to editor nerds such as myself:

"Nowadays the fashion is against grammatical fussiness. A passage peppered with commas -- which in the past would have indicated painstaking and authoritative editorial attention -- smacks simply of no backbone. People who put in all the commas betray themselves as moral weakinglings with empty lives and out-of-date reference books" (95-6).

And here, a list of proper uses of the comma:

1. Commas for lists
2. Commas for joining
3. Commas filling gaps
4. Commas before direct speech
5. Commas setting off interjections
6. Commas that come in pairs

I definitely recommend this to anyone with the slightest interest in language and punctuation (but it is not a grammar book, as Truss points out).


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