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The Best Punctuation Book, Period

4.40  ·  Rating details ·  370 ratings  ·  55 reviews

Confused about punctuation? There's a reason. Everywhere you turn, publications seem to follow different rules on everything from possessive apostrophes to hyphens to serial commas. Then there are all the gray areas of punctuation--situations the rule books gloss over or never mention at all. At last, help has arrived.

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Paperback, 243 pages
Published April 15th 2014 by Ten Speed Press (first published January 1st 2014)
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Sarah (needs a break from reviewing)
25/5 - Okay, I haven't read every page of this book, but I have read enough to know that it's fantastically useful for those in the writing and editing world. I now know when to use an em dash, that there is such a symbol as an en dash and what the consensus is on writing out numerals in fiction. All information that's very important for an up and coming editor (or author) to know. I can see myself referring to this over and over for years to come (or at least until some annoying 'in charge' typ ...more
I love that this book starts by asking you to add punctuation to an unpunctuated paragraph. This is a great example of how a comma here, an apostrophe there, isn’t necessarily right or wrong depending on the style guide you use.

Each punctuation mark has its own chapter. The rules that pertain to that punctuation mark are broken down by the four major style guides: book (CMOS), news (AP), scientific (APA), and academic (MLA). I like this format because it allows you to see the different styles in
Fred Kohn
Nov 10, 2016 rated it really liked it
Well, I can't say that I actually enjoyed reading this book, but if you are a detail oriented (or is it detail-oriented?) person, it is a must-read (or, perhaps, a must read). The chapter on hyphens was excruciating, but they do say that whatever doesn't kill you makes you stronger. This is a great book to have knocking around in order to grab in a pinch, and if I ever get my wife to increase my book allowance, I am going to add this book to my personal library, along with the dictionary that th ...more
Jan 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A thorough, go-to reference book for all punctuation problems in American English. (Though, except for quotation marks and a few other details, it should be good for British English too.) It gives general advice and points out the occasional minor deviations in four styles: Book-editing, News media and business, Science, and Academia. A panel of experts gives their opinion on the thornier issues.

Useful, and would serve most homes very well.
Jan 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Better than any grammar book I’ve ever had.

The first part goes over the most commonly used punctuations. Each chapter is about a single punctuation mark; you’re presented with the rule, an example, and exceptions that can occur in different situations. The exceptions are broken down by four major editing styles: academic, scientific, book, and news.

One thing I really like is that the author admits there isn’t always a clear rule for every situation. While she did have panels for the 4 major ed
Dec 31, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A priceless helper for all questions punctuational, this book was very different in tone from the previous Casagrande novel I read, "It Was the Best of Sentences, It Was the Worst of Sentences". Whereas the book on sentence structure was dominated by a tongue-in-cheek tone of voice, Casagrande plays it straight with this one. That makes for more challenging reading, perhaps, but the high standard of quality is all there, regardless. ...more
Jun 10, 2021 rated it really liked it
Very helpful book on a (much needed) refresher of punctuation rules!
Brian Dingle
Sep 06, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This is excellent. Now, I am not an editor, nor even much of an author (yet), so it is possible that someone far more knowledgable than I will find fault...but I cannot.
You don't have to be a Grammar Snob to want to punctuate properly. It is one of the most confusing parts of the tools of writing, so a reference book like this is helpful.
In fact, in my opinion most people disdain Grammar Snobs because they can't find the rules and so can't play the game. With this book it all becomes easy.
The ke
Oct 09, 2014 rated it liked it
Do you know the difference between an em dash and an en dash? Or when you should spell out numbers and when you should write the numerals? Do you care? If you answers were no, no, and yes, then I have a book for you. It is part narrative and part reference book, and the type of thing that I want to have at the office for business writing and at home for things like Cannonball Read reviews and personal blog posts. It's functional and easy to navigate, although it is a bit dry.

I can't remember whe
Meghan Pinson
Mar 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Great resource for people who want to know why the rules seem to change all the time -- or why so many people just do it WRONG, damn it! I love the Punctuation Panels that reveal editors' varying preferences, and the entry on using en dashes in unwieldy compound adjectives was the icing on the cake for me. This is good middle ground between Jane Straus's "Blue Book of Grammar and Punctuation" and Casagrande's "It Was the Best of Sentences, It Was the Worst of Sentences." ...more
Jane Mackay
Aug 24, 2015 rated it it was amazing
For US English usage conventions, this book lives us to its title. Direct, succinct, and comprehensive. As an editorial professional, I found the classification of punctuation rules and guidelines by style (i.e., academic, scientific, book, and news) to be the most valuable aspect of this book.
Erick Corona
May 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
A comprehensive reference on punctuation. The general discussions in the first part are a must-read for new writers. It covers the subtle differences for different types of publications, which I wasn't taught at school. ...more
Catherine Turner
This book is my punctuation bible! Every punctuation mark is explained in such a clear and thorough way that I instantly feel more confident in knowing when to use the mark. If you're struggling with commas or quotation marks, read this book! ...more
May 11, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: writing
Wow! English can be really difficult! This book is great to keep at hand when there are those horrible dilemmas. I loved it. It is short, light, and to the point. Great!
Roger Harned
Aug 19, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Very succinct; a great writing resource.
Trisha Andrews
Excellent review for any writer.
Apr 13, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: practical
A book which does what it says on the cover. Quite well done and concise.
Feb 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Essential reference for wordsmiths.
12/9/17 $2.99 for Kindle.
Amanda Dickson
Jun 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
Covers some good basics, but I would have prefered more depth.
May 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing
The Best Punctuation Book, Period includes all that you need to know about punctuation. It is split into two parts, one of them explaining the uses for specific punctuation, and the other explaining punctuation for specific words. When I first read this book, my first thought was "Oh great, another boring punctuation book." But instead, it was very helpful, clearing up some common misunderstandings about punctuation. Her writing was to the point and easy to understand. I found the first part of ...more
Jun 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is a book I borrowed from the library and soon purchased for my personal library. One can’t read a reference book, check it off as read and set it aside. There is a wealth of information to absorb and utilize here, all delivered with good humor and relevant details.

My organization-loving heart adored her chosen format. Each section is tabbed and structured in tables detailing which type of publishing prefers which rules, as well as which rules are merely preferences debated by all.

May 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I never thought I would retire my old spiral bound copy of The Gregg Reference Manual. But it was the Ninth Edition, published back in the day before the web really caught on. The current edition is ridiculously expensive. You can rent it though on Amazon but that is still also expensive. I am not suggesting you can replace it with this, only that I am.

Disclaimer: I am a college graduate (1994) and not a college student. Since I will be 50 this year (2020), I am now in a position to do as I ple
Oct 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This book is a wonderful guide to have on hand for anyone working in the written word. As someone going into publishing, I wanted a refresher on punctuation as a whole.

I didn’t read every single page of this book, because it covers each symbol and circumstance in incredible and thorough detail! I really appreciated differentiating between various styles like book, science, news and the addition of the publishing panel weighing in.

I’m glad I own this book and can see myself returning to it to c
S. Gregory
May 10, 2021 rated it it was amazing
It may sound silly to label this as a book to be read annually, but this book is quintessential to properly punctuate your writing. Whether you are a student, a professional, or anything in between, it's clear that English punctuation can be tricky. This book makes it very clear as to what is accepted in news/journalism writing as opposed to fiction writing, academic writing, or even scientific journals. Who knew there were so many different styles? I will be using this book for reference for th ...more
Mar 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
This book did not so much as mention the interabang as an option for a sentence which is both an exclamation and a question, instead stating that writers should use both an exclamation point and a question mark. Although the use of this combination has become more accepted in recent years, I feel the exclusion of the interabang to be an unfortunate oversight in an otherwise useful book. How could Casagrande have forgotten the interabang‽
Mark Mathes
Dec 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
The title is a strong claim, and I have found it useful in book editing and journalistic editing. Quick to find what you need: Punctuation A to Z. The author has invited a novel Punctuation Panel in newspaper publishing, academic, trade copy editing, science and tech. These experts help define alphabetized terms. They tag a term, like AC/DC in A (academic), B (book) N (news) or S (science.) This abbreviation is B, N, S. As the band, this is also N (news style). Get the book. You'll use it. ...more
Jul 04, 2021 rated it it was amazing
So... I didn't read this for fun.

I don't disagree with the title. The book is laid out well and does a great job of explaining the rules of punctuation. Where there is disagreement, the author notes the rules for each style guide (AP, Chicago, etc.). Basically, a really concise collection of all the style guide rules as they pertain to punctuation. Invaluable.

Hopefully there are no punctuation mistakes in what I just wrote. :-/
Hyacinth Grey
Jan 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This isn't the kind of book I'd read cover to cover, but I did read the chapters dealing with the punctuation marks that I find most troublesome, i.e., the comma and quotation marks. The book is clear, with examples of how to use and not use each punctuation mark, and I love that there is information about which style guides use which rules. It really is the best punctuation book, period. ...more
KimberlyAnn Rose
Apr 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Truly the best punctuation book, ever. It’s easy to look up a topic while working, so you don’t lose your concentration. Spells out general punctuation rules in a quick, easy-to-understand way, and also lists the major editing styles so you have a one-stop shop for all your punctuation needs. Would highly recommend to any writer, editor, or anyone who works with words and needs to punctuate.
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Punctuation in Classic Books 1 1 Jun 22, 2019 10:02PM  

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