This week I thought I’d tell you about a fabulous book I’m reading, Eats, Shoots & Leaves by Lynne Truss, throw in a few lesson on punctuation I found helpful, and maybe a quiz or two because now that we’re older, quizzes are way more fun than they used to be, right?
Anyway. I’ll start with the Preface, written by the author, which explains her obsession with proper punctuation.
“I don’t know how bad things are in America, “ she says (she's British, btw), “but in the UK I cannot emphasise it enough: standards of punctuation are abysmal.”
She goes on to give examples, among them her favorite, a roadside warning that says: CHILDREN DRIVE SLOWLY. “Evidently, this sign – inadvertently descriptive of the disappointing road speeds attainable by infants at the wheel – was eventually altered (but sadly not improved) by the addition of a comma, becoming CHILDREN, DRIVE SLOWLY – a kindly exhortation, perhaps, which might even save lives among those self-same reckless juvenile road-users; but still not quite what the writer really had in mind.”
At which point I’m snickering and in complete admiration of Truss’ wit and style, because the truth is, I can totally relate. I may not be the Princess of Punctuation but whenever I see a public display of bad grammar or punctuation, it grates on my nerves, irritates me like a pea beneath my mattresses.
If you feel the same way or want to improve your punctuation usage, I highly recommend this book.
And now for the promised quiz!
Identify the punctuation problems in the following:
1. Two weeks notice
2. Can you spare any more records.
3. Readers Outlet.
4. The judges decision is final.
5. Childrens Home
6. One months notice
7. Please do not lock this door between the hour’s of 9am and 6:30pm.