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Book: Eats, Shoots, and Leaves

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The rallying cry of this book is, "Sticklers Unite!" This doesn't fit me very well: more than one of you has corrected my usage of "it's" and "its." I do feel compelled to re-edit a post to correct punctuation and grammatical mistakes if I bother to spot them, but personally I find the illogical rules of punctuation usage to be humanity's method of delaying the robot uprising from taking over our publishing -- the Brits will probably be taken over first as they are allowed to sanely place terminal punctuatoin outside of quotation marks like "so".

I realized I was probably a stickler, though, when I couldn't stand the fact that author lynne truss constantly refers to the Internet as "the internet." I realize that the economist, the financial times, the guardian, the times, and the sydney morning herald (source) all make this same mistake, but I was hoping that truss would shed some sanity on UK publishing. There is only one Internet and it even has a sequel, Internet 2, not "internet 2." Presidential dubya malapropisms about "internets" are not fiat internets -- capitalize the darn thing.

The book is a quick read, even with pauses to grimace at uncapitalilzed "internet"s. My punctuation probably won't change a bit, except to start placing terminal punctuation outside of quotes when I see fit and to continue my abuse of the dash -- Truss kindly points out that "it is hard to use wrongly." The more fascinating aspect of the book for me was absorbing the differences between British usage and terminology for punctuation like "inverted commas" and "full stops" and "brackets" that should be parenthesis -- it was almost as fascinating as when I found out that a billion still often refers to 1012 in the UK.

Comments (1)


Forgive the times you must grimace at my writing -- me being one who deliberately writes "internet" lowercase. Take it as a badge of honour that the internet has become familiar, in the same way that "newtonian" is lowercase.

(The next comment would go on your billion entry, if comments could still be posted there.)

Billion = 10^12 in the UK, except for government statistics, and finance. The government switched to billion = 10^9 in 1974.

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