I'm in shock.
Lynne Truss, the author, in the process of bemoaning the perils of being a punctuation stickler, makes mistake after mistake.
In the acknowledgements she thanks those who responded to her articles in "The Daily Telegraph, The Author and Writers' News". As it lacked the correct number of commas, I had to use other clues to determine the names of the publications. Looking carefully, I noticed that the word "and" was not in italics. So, I can deduce, there is no publication called, "The Author and Writers' News". OK, I can make a similar deduction from the fact that "Author" is not plural possessive. But why cause such confusion? For NO better reason that to save a keystroke?
Only a page later she criticizes the use of the word "enormity" in association with 9/11. While the word is commonly misused, in this case the usage would seem to be a perfect fit.
Dare I read on?

Peace,
Mike Long
To Reply to me by email
Change my country code
From Netherlands to New Zealand
1 2
I'm in shock. Lynne Truss, the author, in the process of bemoaning the perils of being a punctuation stickler, makes ... that "Author" is not plural possessive. But why cause such confusion? For NO better reason that to save a keystroke?

I recommend you research the debate about the 'Oxford Comma' aka 'Harvard Comma' aka 'Serial Comma'.

John Dean
Oxford
I'm in shock. Lynne Truss, the author, in the process ... confusion? For NO better reason that to save a keystroke?

I recommend you research the debate about the 'Oxford Comma'aka 'Harvard Comma' aka 'Serial Comma'.

Yes, Mike, and then report back. I will, at that time, offer official support to the notion that a comma was needed in the example you offered.
This business of saving a keystroke or an itty-bitty bit of ink is going to cause us all to end up as inhabitants of a confusion-ridden English-speaking community wherein way too many people do not know what they are reading or writing. (Please say that sentence aloud, and with the emotion befitting helplessness and anger yes, anger! about the possible downfall of all we hold dear and correct.)
I trust my sentiments are shared by the right-thinking and careful among us.
Maria Conlon, Southeast Michigan, USA.
Just trying to be helpful to my co-groupers.
(Should that be "cog-roupers"?)
OBediting: I've edited this post a few times for clarity. It may now
contain some inexplicable errors. (MConlon 2004)
Students: We have free audio pronunciation exercises.
I'm in shock. Lynne Truss, the author, in the process of bemoaning the perils of being a punctuation stickler, makes ... that "Author" is not plural possessive. But why cause such confusion? For NO better reason that to save a keystroke?

Before you presume to prescribe the "correct number of commas", you'll need to do some research.
Only a page later she criticizes the use of the word "enormity" in association with 9/11. While the word is commonly misused, in this casethe usage would seem to be a perfect fit.

I think the key point isn't what you think it means. Whether the term is being used correctly or not depends on what the speaker (or writer) intends it to convey.
Dare I read on?

Hmmm.

Michael West
I'm in shock. Lynne Truss, the author, in the process ... confusion? For NO better reason that to save a keystroke?

I recommend you research the debate about the 'Oxford Comma' aka 'Harvard Comma' aka 'Serial Comma'.

Is it that or is it a case of a comma being where an 'and' ought to be, plus the lack of italics Mr Long mentioned? For the OC, aka the HC and the SC, to come into play, don't we need three items or more?
Charles Riggs
- Primarily northeast US upbringing
- Currently living on the west coast of Ireland; passingly familiar with Hibernian-English expressions
- No discernable Irish accent
My email address: chriggs/at/eircom/dot/net
I recommend you research the debate about the 'Oxford Comma' aka 'Harvard Comma' aka 'Serial Comma'.

Is it that or is it a case of a comma being where an 'and' ought to be, plus the ... For the OC, aka the HC and the SC, to come into play, don't we need three items or more?

Yep. And those are:
- The Daily Telegraph
- The Author
- Writers' News

Michael West
Site Hint: Check out our list of pronunciation videos.
I'm in shock. Lynne Truss, the author, in the process ... confusion? For NO better reason that to save a keystroke?

I recommend you research the debate about the 'Oxford Comma' aka 'Harvard Comma' aka 'Serial Comma'.

Or perhaps he could read what Ms Truss has to say on the subject in the section "Commas for Lists" (p83); she is Sound on the matter.

Here's an example of a genuine error:- a missing or misplaced comma on p182:
But when we look around us at the state of literacy ... it just has to be borne in mind that books are no longer the main vehicles for language in modern society, and that if our fate is in the hands of the barbarians, there is an observable cultural drift that can only make matters worse.
The phrase 'if our fate is in the hands of the barbarians' is clearly parenthetical, but its opening comma is missing; perhaps it's actually the one after 'society' and has simply been misplaced.

She discusses a similar sentence on p94:
'Belinda opened the trap door, and after listening for a minute she closed it again.'
Truss prefers this to the "grammatically fussy" and "unfashionable" version:
'Belinda opened the trap door, and, after listening for a minute, she closed it again.'
If she had followed this pattern in the sentence I'm complaining about, therefore, she would have omitted the comma after 'barbarians'.

There's a similar example on p185:
It is a measure of Shaw's considerable monomania, by the way, that in
1945 he wrote to The Times on the issue of the recently deployedatomic bomb to point out that since the second 'b' in the word bomb was needless (I'm not joking), enormous numbers of working hours were being lost to the world through the practice of conforming to traditional spelling.
Matti
I recommend you research the debate about the 'Oxford Comma' aka 'Harvard Comma' aka 'Serial Comma'.

Yes, Mike, and then report back. I will, at that time, offer official support to the notion that a comma ... of all we hold dear and correct.) I trust my sentiments are shared by the right-thinking and careful among us.

I'd be astonished if the Trussmeisterette had any thoughts of 'saving a keystroke'. She probably did the instinctive thing and omitted the 'Oxford comma'. If she thought about it at all, she probably thought 'Some people would put an Oxford comma here but I* won't because I never went to Oxford so f** 'em.'
I haven't got a copy of the book but if the last words of that particular sentence are '... The Daily Telegraph, The Author and Writers' News.' then isn't it obvious from the absence of 'and' before 'The Author' that the last item on the list is a publication called 'Writers' News' and not a publication called 'The Author and Writers' News'?

John Dean
Oxford
"John Dean" (Email Removed) schrieb im Newsbeitrag
Yes, Mike, and then report back. I will, at that ... sentiments are shared by the right-thinking and careful among us.

I'd be astonished if the Trussmeisterette had any thoughts of 'saving a keystroke'. She probably did the instinctive thing and ... item on the list is a publication called 'Writers' News' and not a publication called 'The Author and Writers' News'?

Not to mention that "The Daily Telegraph", "The Author" and "Writers' News" are all in italics, signifying that they are titles of publications, while "and" isn't. That ought to be a better clue than the existence or otherwise of a comma.
On the other hand, of course, if there happens to be a publication entitled "The Daily Telegraph, The Author" (unlikely, but not impossible), then we really do have a problem.
Students: Are you brave enough to let our tutors analyse your pronunciation?
Show more