Sunday, October 24, 2004

The trasher trashed

A while back, I read Lynne Truss' book "Eats, Shoots and Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation". I found it very funny and as a sometime editor, I could empathise with what she said about incorrectly punctuated signs and literature. Things like "Childrens Menu's available" on a menu card, or "potatoe's sold here" at a greengrocer's, or "Your not right".

Homonyms are a real boobytrap for people who spell phonetically. There are too many words that sound alike but are spelt differently and mean different things. However, since all this has been said before - and perhaps said better - by many people, I'll get down to what caught my attention.

Lynne Truss, in her amusing book, trashed trashy language and guesswork punctuation. The New Yorker, perhaps taking umbrage to some of her potshots at American "English", has trashed her book, and oh SO comprehensively, pointing out what appears to be plenty of guesswork punctuation on her part in her own book! That was roughly the first half of the review by Louis Menand; the second half is a rather pompous lecture about what defines good writing, and how writers have to find their "voice" and how that "voice" can be defined.

Anyway... if Ms Truss has read the review (and chances are she has - this was in the New Yorker, after all), she's probably been kicking herself for not editing her own writing and checking for punctuation...

The link: http://www.newyorker.com/critics/books/?040628crbo_books1


3 comments:

None said...

shyam,

very very cool blog! i love the pink! u have trousers that shade, dont u? :)

cheers!
ramya

Shyam said...

"Shyam, cool post" would have been WAY better than "Shyam, cool (looking) blog" ;) But I'm happy to accept whatever compliments come my way! And yes, I have pink trousers but they're not as flashy as this!

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