Comma Sense: A Fun-damental Guide to Punctuation
Richard Lederer, John Shore
Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub
Are you confounded by commas, addled by apostrophes, or queasy about quotation marks? Do you believe a bracket is just a support for a wall shelf, a dash is something you make for the bathroom, and a colon and semicolon are large and small intestines? If so, language humorists Richard Lederer and John Shore (with the sprightly aid of illustrator Jim McLean), have written the perfect book to help make your written words perfectly precise and punctuationally profound.
Don't expect Comma Sense to be a dry, academic tome. On the contrary, the authors show how each mark of punctuation―no matter how seemingly arcane―can be effortlessly associated with a great American icon: the underrated yet powerful period with Seabiscuit; the jazzy semicolon with Duke Ellington; even the rebel apostrophe with famed outlaw Jesse James. But this book is way more than a flight of whimsy. When you've finished Comma Sense, you'll not only have mastered everything you need to know about punctuation through Lederer and Shore's simple, clear, and right-on-the-mark rules, you'll have had fun doing so. When you're done laughing and learning, you'll be a veritable punctuation whiz, ready to make your marks accurately, sensitively, and effectively.
as enticing as yours. Just look at the difference between these two love notes: My Dear Pat, The dinner we shared the other night—it was absolutely lovely! Not in my wildest dreams could I ever imagine anyone as perfect as you are. Could you—if only for a moment—think of our being together forever? What a cruel joke to have you come into my life only to leave again; it would be heaven denied. The possibility of seeing you again makes me giddy with joy. I face the time we are apart with great
squiggly, swinging comma creates something quite new—the semicolon. It don’t mean a thing if it ain’t got that swing. The innovative melding of the rhythms of disparate elements. The improvisational meeting of tradition and originality. Eclectic. Sophisticated. It Don’t Mean a Thing If It Ain’t Got That Swing. Are we Talking about the semicolon, or are we talking about … Duke Ellington? Well, we’re talking about both, baby. He was the Duke—Duke Elegant. Duke Eloquent. One of the most famous
addict,” Edema confessed, “a slave to the seductions of sequential syllables starting with the same sound.” The longest word reposing in our dictionaries is “pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis.” Semicolons and colons always go outside quotation marks: Edema confessed, “I am an alliteration addict, a slave to the seductions of sequential syllables starting with the same sound”; then she proceeded to recite the entire contents of “Eenie meenie minie moe,” “Peter Piper picked a peck of
italics (underlining on some keyboards) to indicate the titles of longer works—books, anthologies, magazines, record albums, motion pictures, operas, and the like: “I Love Punctuation” became the lead article in the August 2005 issue of Semicolon Fanciers Quarterly. Use quotation marks (or italics) to distinguish words-as-words: The word “punctuation” derives from two ancient roots: “punc,” meaning “a hoodlum,” and “tuation,” meaning “desire to become.” Or: The word punctuation derives
word it modifies: The contestant who can balance a piano on her nose while imitating the mating call of the wild yak will win first prize. Here the clause who can balance a piano on her nose while imitating the mating call of the wild yak is restrictive: It identifies which contestant. The voice that speaks this sentence knows that there are no pauses before and after that clause. Hence, no commas. Myrtle Finchfeather, who can balance a piano on her nose while imitating the mating call of the