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Eats, shoots, leaves, and hats - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
Eats, shoots, leaves, and hats
I just finished Eats, Shoots, and Leaves, and I understand why it's a runaway bestseller. Permission to go and punctuate the world! Have at it!

I just love the rallying cry, "Sticklers unite! You have nothing to lose but your sense of proportion (and arguably you didn't have a lot of that to begin with)." It's fun that she recognizes it as a kind of mania, but at the same time leads the quixotic charge against rogue apostrophes and misplaced commas.

I didn't realize some of the differences between American and British punctuation, and have now added the Oxford comma issue to the color/colour one--people who keep correcting my Oxford commas, they're still proper in American usage. And as long as I'm on punctuation, here's why I like the Oxford comma:

I like corn, peas and carrots, and beans. (Oxford comma is the one after "carrots")


I like corn, peas and carrots and beans. (Just looks like someone got and-happy.)

True, that's not going to be the case with every list--not every list has items which include the word "and"--but why not have a rule that will handily cover all scenarios?

That said, I'm willing to trade the American spelling of "travelers" and "marveled" for the British "travellers" and "marvelled." Especially if we could trade it for putting the period/full stop back in Mr. and Mrs. on the other side... I mean, without the period, I try to pronounce them as words in my head--"Mir" and "Merse," maybe. :p

Truss doesn't have all of the comparative stuff she mentions right (she tends from time to time to say, "We do this x way, which is proper here, while the Americans do it y way, which is proper there." The place where she misses it is in salutations to letters, claiming that where the British fashion is to think it might be too fancy to put a comma after Dear Andrew, in the States, we'd put a colon after it.

Nope--that one's actually an easy rule. Colons for business correspondence only, and that means "Dear Andrew:" can only appear improperly. (Not that it never occurs, of course; only that it's always improper American usage. Even easy rules are ignored.) It would be "Dear Mr. Doobiddy:" or "Dear Andrew," to start a letter. The comma goes for friendly letters. Of course, the current fashion is to omit the endearment and replace the punctuation with a dash, eg,

Just dropping you a line...

More later, maybe.

BTW, SW friends, I made my first post at fanfic_hats to showcase Her Royal Clotheshorse-ness.
2 comments or Leave a comment
sreya From: sreya Date: July 28th, 2004 05:47 am (UTC) (Link)
Ooo, pretty hats!

I think it's a shame that the first comment over there is someone saying the style of Amidala's costumes will keep him away from the movies. :( Her costumes are gorgeous and, incredibly, they really add to the imagery of the movies. Although I still can't stand Trisha Biggar's comment that girls just wanna be Amidala for her costumes, grr...

I found it really interesting when you pointed out that Padme's BIG MOMENTS are in simpler costumes, while her BIG MISTAKE (for TPM anyway) is in one of the fanciest costumes. I'd never thought about that. Now I just KNOW in Episode III I'll be paying much more attention to her costumes and thinking "Okay, fancy costume, what's going wrong?!"
kelleypen From: kelleypen Date: July 28th, 2004 02:02 pm (UTC) (Link)
Dear Fernwithy:

Well, I teach the Oxford comma to my students. And thank you for that excellent example of why it makes sense.


2 comments or Leave a comment