The Core Dump

A strong conviction that something must be done is the parent of many bad measures

[By Nic Lindh on Monday, 14 February 2005]

Review: Eats, Shoots & Leaves

Subtitled The Zero Tolerance Guide to Punctuation, Lynne Truss’s Eats, Shoots & Leaves is a funny and lighthearted romp in the fields of punctuation. While the book does go into the mechanics and history of punctuation, it’s really not a primer, but more of an opportunity for us nerds who actually care about commas and semicolons to get some validation that it’s okay to feel strongly about something that seems beneath contempt or notice for many people.

If you like your wit dry and British and your subject matter somewhat esoteric, Eats, Shoots & Leaves is a lot of fun and well worth reading.

Some items of interest from the book include the fact that there is actually a term for the comma before an “and” as in: “The flag is red, white, and blue.” It’s called an Oxford comma, which is a really great name—although the origins are not explained in the book.

And yes, I stand in favor of the Oxford comma. Think about it. It just makes sense.

Also, the editorial sic is from the Latin sicut, meaning “just as.” I’d been wondering about that for years, although obviously not enough to actually go out and look it up…

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