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Monday, November 17, 2014

Can we eat Grandma? A few more words about punctuation…and a quiz!

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.

Tomorrow I’ll be back with more thoughts on Eats, Shoots & Leaves and maybe another quiz :)


Liz A. said...

One teacher has altered a sign in his classroom to read "Slow Children Ahead". Or something like that. It gives me a chuckle every time I see it.

1. Two weeks' notice
2. Can you spare any more records?
3. Reader's Outlet.
4. The judge's decision is final.
5. Children's Home
6. One month's notice
7. Please do not lock this door between the hours of 9 AM and 6:30 PM.

dolorah said...

Grandma might be a bit gammy for me to eat now, but during the zombie apocalypse she might be tasty. I'd certainly avoid a Bob though.

Neurotic Workaholic said...

That's a funny book, and she's right about a lot of things too. It always drives me nuts when I see comma splices and spelling errors in news articles; I thought that the writers and the copy editors were supposed to check for stuff like that. It also bugs me when authors begin sentences with "which"; that happens a lot in books

Neurotic Workaholic said...

Oops! I forgot to put a period at the end of my sentence! See, I made a grammatical error too!

mshatch said...

Liz, you got an A+.

Dolorah, good point!

Neurotic, I'm afraid I'm guilty upon occasion of starting a sentence with which - but it's on purpose!

Huntress said...

I've coveted this book from afar. Always loved the title