What do you think?
Rate this book
209 pages, Paperback
First published January 2, 2003
* (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. (Should I be seeking therapy for this? The bills will, of course, go to the aforementioned teacher.)
“Why did the Apostrophe Protection Society not have a militant wing? Could I start one? Where do you get balaclavas?”
Punctuation can save lives. That's right, kids. Take this to heart.
A comma... catches the gentle drift of the mind in thought, turning in on itself and back on itself, reversing, redoubling, and returning along the course of its own sweet river music; while the semicolon brings clauses and thoughts together with all the silent discretion of a hostess arranging guests around her dinner table.____________________________________________
In the family of punctuation, where the full stop is daddy and the comma is mummy, and the semicolon quietly practises the piano with crossed hands, the exclamation mark is the big attention-deficit brother who gets over-excited and breaks things and laughs too loudly.Every section in the book has sharp and clever humor, a description of something as simple as a comma made in such a way that you find yourself laughing out loud on the train.
...[B]etween the 16th century and the present day, it became a kind of scary grammatical sheepdog. As we shall shortly see, the comma has so many jobs as a “separator” (punctuation marks are traditionally either “separators” or “terminators”) that it tears about on the hillside of language, endlessly organising words into sensible groups and making them stay put: sorting and dividing; circling and herding; and of course darting off with a peremptory “woof” to round up any wayward subordinate clause that makes a futile bolt for semantic freedom. Commas, if you don’t whistle at them to calm down, are unstoppably enthusiastic at this job.
A colon is nearly always preceded by a complete sentence, and in its simplest usage it rather theatrically announces what is to come. Like a well-trained magician’s assistant, it pauses slightly to give you time to get a bit worried, and then efficiently whisks away the cloth and reveals the trick complete.
A little still she strove, and much repented,
And whispering “I’ll ne’er consent” – consented.
To those who care about punctuation, a sentence such as "Thank God its Friday" (without the apostrophe) rouses feelings not only of despair but of violence.
If you still persist in writing, "Good food at it's best", you deserve to be struck by lightning, hacked up on the spot and buried in an unmarked grave.
Why did the Apostrophe Protection Society not have a militant wing? Could I start one? Where do you get balaclavas?
I apologise if you all know this, but the point is many, many people do not. Why else would they open a large play area for children, hang up a sign saying "Giant Kid's Playground", and then wonder why everyone stays away from it? (Answer: everyone is scared of the Giant Kid.)
Phrases abound that cry out for hyphens. Those much-invoked examples of the little used car, the superfluous hair remover, the pickled herring merchant, the slow moving traffic and the two hundred odd members of the Conservative Party would all be lost without it.