JUST finished reading a rather amusing book called, ‘Eats, Shoots and Leaves’, which extolls the virtues of correct punctuation and sentence structure. A couple of years ago, I wouldn’t have dreamed of reading such a book, but now I’m doing a bit of writing in work’s time too, I thought it might prove enlightening.
I must admit, if anyone needed to improve their grammar, it was most definitely me. Unfamiliar with the difference between ‘it’s’ and ‘its’, my command of such grammatical nuances left something to be desired. Along came Declan Berridge, and after editing many of my works and explaining the error of my ways in a most constructive way, I feel I’m beginning to grasp many of the rules underpinning the written version of our great language.
‘Eats, Shoots and Leaves’, certainly made me realise just how far I had come in the last couple of years, and I really felt myself identifying with the author. Especially when it came to an underlying intolerance of badly constructed sentences. On one level, because I was that person abusing my elipses and committing grave crimes of tautology – but on another, because I now find myself inwardly groaning at some of the poorly-written copy I sometimes find myself editing at work (oh, how times have changed)…
A strange world, then.
Having said that, the written word and its presentation is changing at an alarming rate right now. Much of that is down to the Internet, and the rapid deployment of self-published works (such as this website) – it is quite unlikely you’ll find articles presented on websites, which have been through the beady eyes of a good Editor (we are here – sometimes), and as such we’re more likely to make allowances; or more likely, accept the incorrect as correct.
More than that – we’re all writing a damned sight more than we used to be. e-mail is now used by 80 per cent of people in office-based jobs, and that means, 80 per cent of us are writing, on at least, a daily basis. It is interesting to note since I left full-time education, some fifteen years ago, many of the grammatical rules I held dear have either been changed or abolished. And in most cases that is down to the needs of desktop publishing…
We do like to maintain a high standard here at austin-rover.co.uk, but in the un-edited world of instant online publishing, mistakes can creep out. So, please, please, please – if you see any errors make sure you email me… I’ll be very glad to hear from you. You – the reader – are our eyes and ears.
Oh – and why was that book called, ‘Eats, Shoots and Leaves’?
Look under ‘Panda’ in one online dictionary – and under the section ‘diet’, it says: ‘Eats, Shoots and Leaves’.
Now try that again without the comma.