Nataliya's Reviews > Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation

Eats, Shoots & Leaves by Lynne Truss
Rate this book
Clear rating

by
3672777
's review
Jun 11, 14

bookshelves: nonfiction, favorites, 2011-reads, writing-and-language, 2012-reads
Recommended for: Grammar nerds and punctuation sticklers
Read from June 16, 2011 to June 16, 2012, read count: 2

Bad punctuation can force an innocent animal to live outside the law. Now, instead of peacefully munching, it EATS, SHOOTS, and LEAVES.



I proudly consider myself a punctuation martyr. The setting is an ordinary Soviet elementary school, first grade. I am kicked out of the classroom and sent home with an angry note. My transgression - in my wide-eyed seven-year-old innocence I dared to correct my (very Soviet) teacher on her comma placement and a spelling mistake. This crime landed me on her "black list" for the rest of the year. (*) This was the beginning of my grammar vigilante stickler life.
* Do you think I can sue her for my therapy bills?
Sometimes I discuss punctuation when I talk to my mother on the phone. (**) In my defense, she is a language teacher. Ah, never mind, I don't have a valid defense.
** (Yes, I know I should get a life. But I am ok with being pathetic.)
And then I found this book. And realized that I am not alone. And had a very enjoyable few hours reading the creation of a fellow grammar stickler. And then developed a strong desire to join a militant wing of the Apostrophe Protection Society. (***)
“Why did the Apostrophe Protection Society not have a militant wing? Could I start one? Where do you get balaclavas?”

*** Should I be seeking therapy for this? The bills will, of course, go to the aforementioned teacher.

This book is a must-read for all the grammar and punctuation sticklers out there. It is a witty and entertaining read perfect for those like me who start hyperventilating and breaking out in hives at the misuse of commas, apostrophes, and semi-colons. If you ever felt a surge of rage at those who do not understand the difference between contractions, possessives, and plurals, then this book will be like a breath of fresh air for you. 5 perfectly punctuated stars.

******
Punctuation can save lives. That's right, kids. Take this to heart.
90 likes · Likeflag

Sign into Goodreads to see if any of your friends have read Eats, Shoots & Leaves.
Sign In »

Quotes Nataliya Liked

Lynne Truss
“Proper punctuation is both the sign and the cause of clear thinking.”
Lynne Truss, Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation

Lynne Truss
“For any true stickler, you see, the sight of the plural word “Book’s” with an apostrophe in it will trigger a ghastly private emotional process similar to the stages of bereavement, though greatly accelerated. First there is shock. Within seconds, shock gives way to disbelief, disbelief to pain, and pain to anger. Finally (and this is where the analogy breaks down), anger gives way to a righteous urge to perpetrate an act of criminal damage with the aid of a permanent marker.”
Lynne Truss, Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation

Lynne Truss
“Why did the Apostrophe Protection Society not have a militant wing? Could I start one? Where do you get balaclavas?”
Lynne Truss, Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation

Lynne Truss
“There are people who embrace the Oxford comma and those who don't, and I'll just say this: never get between these people when drink has been taken.”
Lynne Truss, Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation


Comments (showing 1-24)




dateUp arrow    newest »

message 24: by Kim (new) - added it

Kim I used to be a real stickler for language, grammar and punctuation but I've learned to be a lot more forgiving. Now my attitude is more like this - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J7E-ao...


message 23: by Jeffrey (new)

Jeffrey Keeten Oh, my word, my reviews must drive you crazy. When available my master of English wife does clean up my prose with proper punctuation. I chase thoughts and don't always come back and fix my missing commas. Sorry for any anxiety I may have caused you. haha


Nataliya Kat wrote: "Eek! Didn't know I was endangering Grandmas!"

Grandmas: seriously endangered species. Probably due to all the rogue gun-toting pandas.


message 21: by Lyndz (new)

Lyndz "Let's eat Grandma"
Too funny!


Nataliya Lyndz wrote: ""Let's eat Grandma"
Too funny!"


Not for Grandma!!!


message 19: by Jim (new)

Jim Great review, Nataliya! I feel your pain.. But I transgress now and then, too.

But your review does raise a question in my unwashed mind. What will you do if you find a punctuation error in a case note written by, say, your Chief Resident?

Just a thought experiment; you have every right to refuse to answer on the grounds...


Candiss A friend gifted me this book when it was first published, and it became one of my niche favorites. I am another grammar stickler, and grousing about lax punctuation and spelling is one of my less publicly-acceptable hobbies. Your review brought a smile to my face!

If you find yourself in the mood for more humor-tinged grammar writing, allow me to suggest two books by Karen Elizabeth Gordon: The Deluxe Transitive Vampire: A Handbook of Grammar for the Innocent, the Eager and the Doomed and The New Well Tempered Sentence: A Punctuation Handbook for the Innocent, the Eager, and the Doomed. Both are most enjoyable!


Nataliya Ahhhh, Jim.
The notes by most people in medicine make me want to cry. It's not just the punctuation, which is mostly used purely for decorative purposes in medicine. It is not just the atrocious spelling that makes me want to suggest repeating the second grade to some docs ("The staBles were removed from the patient" is a kind example). It is not just the tortured sentence structure and the complete disregard for any rules of the English language. It is the thought of the lawyers - how much must they laugh every time they sue us and then have to wade through pages and pages of notes that make it seem that none of us have graduated from high school.

"Be careful about reading health books. You may die of a misprint." That sadly applies to medical charts as well :(

In short: a painful smile, an eyeroll, a sigh, and a silent attempt to change the world one stray comma at a time by (somewhat) properly punctuating my own medical notes. Since, as much as I hate to admit that, I do commit my fair share of crimes against comma-hood.


Nataliya Candiss wrote: "I am another grammar stickler, and grousing about lax punctuation and spelling is one of my less publicly-acceptable hobbies."

Yes! I am not alone :)
Thanks for the recommendations, Candiss. I added them to my TBR list and will try to hunt them down.


message 15: by Richard (last edited Apr 08, 2012 12:30PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Richard You know, our friend Mr. Zombie (in his previous life Joel, a.k.a. the Rude Little Troll) would probably be in favour of the first option in your last illustration, i.e. "Let's eat Grandma." But I suppose he would not be alone in this; the Big Bad Wolf and a few other folktale celebs would probably rally behind him. Baba Yaga, on the other hand, might have some inner turmoil on this question, because, despite her documented cannibalistic tendencies, she is also a grandmother.


message 14: by Jim (new)

Jim Nataliya wrote: "Ahhhh, Jim.
The notes by most people in medicine make me want to cry. It's not just the punctuation, which is mostly used purely for decorative purposes in medicine."


Great response, Nataliya! And I completely get it - Docs don't have time for sentence structure or proper punctuation! It is true, no doubt.

I have worked with enough engineers over the years to know that a lot of them can't spell either. There's an important lesson about (some or many) smart people in all of this somewhere, but I don't think I really want to know what it is.

Love the Twain quote. Quotable lines were among his many gifts to all of us.

Overall, I think you make an outstanding career choice in the tactical approach you outline. Jim makes a prediction: you will be hugely successful in your career, but you won't change the attitudes of very many colleagues toward punctuation, let alone the world.


message 13: by Robbyn (new) - added it

Robbyn The sign about Grandma does not have a period after either sentence. I'm sorry. I can't help myself!


Nataliya Robbyn wrote: "The sign about Grandma does not have a period after either sentence. I'm sorry. I can't help myself!"

Hehe, I know that. That's what happens when the magical powers that create internet memes are not well-versed in grammar.


Richard Nataliya wrote: "Robbyn wrote: "The sign about Grandma does not have a period after either sentence. I'm sorry. I can't help myself!"

Hehe, I know that. That's what happens when the magical powers that create inte..."


I thought the meme generation was over... [Sigh].


message 10: by Catherine (new) - added it

Catherine I feel your pain Nataliya! I am English...and it really drives me up the wall (or round the bend), living here, in New Jersey....I find myself always correcting others grammar!! I know, commas and semi-colons, and other punctuaion, can cause great hassles in writing too! and I sometimes find myself laughing as I am reading something that has been punctuated incorrectly! It also bothers me to some degree when people text, but don't use English! I mean, honestly...did they not learn how to spell?

nice pictures...I love the pandas, and I hope Grandmas are safe the world over! :)


Sahir D'souza. It's a solace to me to find a fellow stickler in you. Quite recently, I had a geography exam. You should the notes that the teacher gave us to study. They are covered in my pencilled handwriting: grammatical corrections, alterations, etc. It makes me upset. I'm glad there's someone like Lynne Truss and me out there. Fellow stickler, I salute you. (Oh, and by the way, please inform me when the militant wing of the APS is formed. I'll be the first to sign up.)


Richard Sahir wrote: "It's a solace to me to find a fellow stickler in you. Quite recently, I had a geography exam. You should the notes that the teacher gave us to study. They are covered in my pencilled handwriting: g..."

Hooray for sticklers!


Nataliya Sticklers of all countries unite!


Richard Nataliya wrote: "Sticklers of all countries unite!"

Now that's a manifesto to which I can happily subscribe. :)


Masih I cannot sympathize with your cause any less. Get a life and care about matters that do have impact on our real world.


Nataliya Masih wrote: "I cannot sympathize with your cause any less. Get a life and care about matters that do have impact on our real world."

I cannot sympathize with your inability to understand humor any less. Get a sense of humor and realize that it can have impact on our real world.


Derek (Guilty of thoughtcrime) Nataliya wrote: "Sticklers of all countries unite!"

No, no, no. "Sticklers ... untie!" Dyslexia and grammar just cannot coexist.

Masih wrote: "I cannot sympathize with your cause any less. Get a life and care about matters that do have impact on our real world."

I can't figure out how anybody can have time to write even two sentences about how little they care about such a thing. Only those who care would bother.

Of course, Masih hasn't bothered to look at anything else you've written, to know that despite the fact that you spend a lot more time than most of us caring about real world issues, you still seem to find time to write humor about books. Where do you find the time?


Derek (Guilty of thoughtcrime) Catherine wrote: "It also bothers me to some degree when people text, but don't use English! I mean, honestly...did they not learn how to spell?"

No (well, maybe yes, but it's unprovable), they just didn't learn to type. Or get better software for their phones.


message 1: by Catherine (new) - added it

Catherine Derek wrote: "Catherine wrote: "It also bothers me to some degree when people text, but don't use English! I mean, honestly...did they not learn how to spell?"

No (well, maybe yes, but it's unprovable), they ju..."


lol...ok...I'll give you that! :)


back to top