Lynne Truss

Eats, Shoots and Leaves

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    Soliloquios Literarioshas quoted2 years ago
    They regard us as freaks. When we point out illiterate mistakes we are often aggressively instructed to “get a life” by people who, interestingly, display no evidence of having lives themselves.
    Soliloquios Literarioshas quoted2 years ago
    But best of all, I think, is the simple advice given by the style book of a national newspaper: that punctuation is “a courtesy designed to help readers to understand a story without stumbling”
    krauklishhas quoted2 years ago
    Do I have any objection to the construction “a friend of mine” or “a friend of yours”? Well, no. I would never say “a friend of me” or “a friend of you”. And yes, you would say “a cousin of my mother’s”, “a child of hers”. Well, “a friend of the footballer’s” is the same thing! The only time you drop the double possessive is when, instead of being involved with an animate being, you are “a lover of the British Museum”, because obviously the British Museum does not – and never can – love you back.
    krauklishhas quoted2 years ago
    Current guides to punctuation (including that ultimate authority, Fowler’s Modern English Usage) state that with modern names ending in “s” (including biblical names, and any foreign name with an unpronounced final “s”), the “s” is required after the apostrophe:
    Keats’s poems
    Philippa Jones’s book
    St James’s Square
    Alexander Dumas’s The Three Musketeers
    With names from the ancient world, it is not:
    Archimedes’ screw
    Achilles’ heel
    If the name ends in an “iz” sound, an exception is made:
    Bridges’ score
    Moses’ tablets
    And an exception is always made for Jesus:
    Jesus’ disciples
    However, these are matters of style and preference that are definitely not set in stone, and it’s a good idea not to get fixated about them
    krauklishhas quoted2 years ago
    2 It indicates time or quantity:
    In one week’s time
    Four yards’ worth
    Two weeks’ notice (Warner Brothers, take note)
    3 It indicates the omission of figures in dates:
    The summer of ’68
    4 It indicates the omission of letters:
    We can’t go to Jo’burg
    krauklishhas quoted2 years ago
    When the possessor is plural, but does not end in an “s”, the apostrophe similarly precedes the “s”:
    The children’s playground
    The women’s movement
    But when the possessor is a regular plural, the apostrophe follows the “s”:
    The boys’ hats (more than one boy)
    The babies’ bibs
    Julia Oulikhas quoted3 years ago
    Square brackets are most commonly used around the word sic (from the Latin sicut, meaning “just as”), to explain the status of an apparent mistake. Generally, sic means the foregoing mistake (or apparent mistake) was made by the writer/speaker I am quoting; I am but the faithful messenger; in fact I never get anything wrong myself:
    She asked for “a packet of Starbust [sic]”.
    Julia Oulikhas quoted3 years ago
    should remember the fine example of Perekladin, who found catharsis in an exclamation mark, and also of the French 19th-century novelist Victor Hugo, who – when he wanted to know how Les Misérables was selling – reportedly telegraphed his publisher with the simple inquiry “?” and received the expressive reply “!”
    Julia Oulikhas quoted3 years ago
    our system of punctuation is limited enough already without us dismissing half of it as rubbish.
    Julia Oulikhas quoted3 years ago
    Unintentional sense from unmarked possessive:
    Dicks in tray (try not to think about it)
    New members welcome drink (doubtless true)
    Julia Oulikhas quoted3 years ago
    We are like the little boy in The Sixth Sense who can see dead people, except that we can see dead punctuation.
    мария-анна гущинаhas quoted4 years ago
    2. Commas for joining
    мария-анна гущинаhas quoted4 years ago
    Go get him, surgeons!” (It’s supposed to be “Go, get him surgeons.”)
    мария-анна гущинаhas quoted4 years ago
    1. Commas for lists
    мария-анна гущинаhas quoted4 years ago
    the Oxford comma. Here, in case you don’t know what it is yet, is the perennial example, as espoused by Harold Ross: “The flag is red, white, and blue.”
    мария-анна гущинаhas quoted4 years ago
    True History of the Kelly Gang
    мария-анна гущинаhas quoted4 years ago
    as a statement, “no dogs please” is an indefensible generalisation,
    мария-анна гущинаhas quoted4 years ago
    since many dogs do please,
    мария-анна гущинаhas quoted4 years ago
    After dinner, the men went into the living-room’?” And his answer was probably one of the loveliest things ever said about punctuation. “This particular comma,” Thurber explained, “was Ross’s way of giving the men time to push back their chairs and stand up.”
    мария-анна гущинаhas quoted4 years ago
    1 To illuminate the grammar of a sentence
    2 To point up – rather in the manner of musical notation
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