BOOK REVIEW: Truss punctuates salience of grammar

While I was secretly hoping to get some perverse pleasure from reading some grammatically incorrect press releases, Truss' (or is it Truss's?) mission extends far beyond the many media manglers we have in our PR field.

While I was secretly hoping to get some perverse pleasure from reading some grammatically incorrect press releases, Truss' (or is it Truss's?) mission extends far beyond the many media manglers we have in our PR field.

This punctuation vigilante and author of Eats, Shoots & Leaves rails against an apathetic populace where grocers advertise "potatoe's" and where ambiguous grammar can prove a life-or-death matter in court.

Punctuation for Truss is serious business - and fun too. She quotes George Bernard Shaw and Gertrude Stein, writes about the comma wars between James Thurber and Harold Ross, notes the debt of gratitude we owe Aldus Manutius the Elder and, of course, explains why that gun-toting panda "eats, shoots & leaves."

It's enjoyable reading, but be warned that those who already find mistakes in menus will become even more aware of the bad punctuation all around us.

Title Eats, Shoots & Leaves

Author Lynne Truss

Publisher Gotham Books (April 2004), 209 pages

Reviewed by Jay Rubin, president of Rubin/Rubin Marketing Communications and an adjunct associate professor of communications at NYU

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