Needing something to read while standing in a long checkout line at Costco, I bought a copy of Lynne Truss's Eats, Shoots and Leaves .

I was startled to see on page 1 a quite questionable use of the word "redundant". It referred to her quotation of a banner. In her words

"Come inside," it says, "for CD's, VIDEO's, DVD's, and BOOK's."

She calls the apostrophes in that banner "redundant". Something is redundant if it's superfluous, unnecessary, or excessive. Calling the apostrophes redundant implies that they're acceptable but not necessary. Actually, they're simply erroneous and not acceptable.

I wonder, too, about her comma after "inside". According to the British punctuation rules she says she follows, if the banner actually said "Come inside for CD's, VIDEO's, DVD's, and BOOK's", then the comma after "inside" is wrong: It should go after the quotation mark. The comma is correct only if the banner said "Come inside, for CD's, VIDEO's, DVD's, and BOOK's".
I choose to believe that the banner did not have the comma after "inside" and that her punctuation is not in accordance with the rules stated in the Oxford Style Manual .
I must say that I was pleased to see the comma after "DVD's". That's the one that's called the serial comma, or the Oxford comma. Elsewhere in the book, including in the title, she eschews it. Too bad.
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Bob Cunningham wrote on 12 Jun 2004:
Needing something to read while standing in a long checkout line at Costco, I bought a copy of Lynne Truss's Eats, Shoots and Leaves .

Too bad, Bob. You could have had it for 40% off (.50, down from $17.50) from Amazon.com.
I was startled to see on page 1 a quite questionable use of the word "redundant". It referred to her ... or excessive. Calling the apostrophes redundant implies that they're acceptable but not necessary. Actually, they're simply erroneous and not acceptable.

Certainly wrong and not at all redundant for "BOOKS" and "VIDEOS"; that is simply illiterate. The other two I consider wrong, but so many people don't know the difference that we who think the apostrophe incorrect are not allowed to shout down the crowd who say "That's the way we do it".
I wonder, too, about her comma after "inside". According to the British punctuation rules she says she follows, if the banner actually said "Come inside for CD's, VIDEO's, DVD's, and BOOK's", then the comma after "inside" is wrong: It should go after the quotation mark.

You bought a copy sold in the USA, I believe. It was probably altered for American readers, who would understand "Come inside", it says, "for ..."
The comma is correct only if the banner said "Come inside, for CD's, VIDEO's, DVD's, and BOOK's". I choose to ... the serial comma, or the Oxford comma. Elsewhere in the book, including in the title, she eschews it. Too bad.

She doesn't like it, and the one you see in the quoted banner was put in by an illiterate, so it should not be pleasing at all, only perplexing, I think. The writer obviously knew not what it had wrought.

Franke: EFL teacher & medical editor.
For email, replace numbers with English alphabet.
Needing something to read while standing in a long checkout line at Costco, I bought a copy of Lynne Truss's ... referred to her quotation of a banner. In her words ... I wonder, too, about her comma after "inside" ..

So much for the top book on the non-fiction best seller list. Next someone will be suggesting that "The Da Vinci Code" is trailer trash.

Is nothing sacred?

Good luck and good sailing.
s/v Kerry Deare of Barnegat
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Bob Cunningham wrote on 12 Jun 2004:

Needing something to read while standing in a long checkout ... "Come inside," it says, "for CD's, VIDEO's, DVD's, and BOOK's."

I wonder, too, about her comma after "inside". According to ... "inside" is wrong: It should go after the quotation mark.

You bought a copy sold in the USA, I believe. It was probably altered for American readers, who would understand "Come inside", it says, "for ..."

The UK edition is exactly as Bob quoted it. That comma inside the quotes is standard when the text is interrupted in that way. I disapprove.
Matti
Bob Cunningham wrote on 12 Jun 2004:

Needing something to read while standing in a long checkout ... copy of Lynne Truss's Eats, Shoots and Leaves .

Too bad, Bob. You could have had it for 40% off (.50, down from $17.50) from Amazon.com.

I bought it at Costco for .99.
Anyway, I was about to stand in line at Costco, and I needed something to read
then and there: Buying from any other source was not an option.

The book as published in the US has a "Publisher's Note" that says, in part,
Lynn Truss's Eats, Shoots & Leaves has been reprinted exactly as it was in the original British edition, complete with British examples, spellings, and, yes, punctuation.

Any attempt at a complete Americanization of this book would have been akin to an effort to Americanize the Queen of England: futile, and, this publisher feels, misguided.
The comma is correct only if the banner said "Come ... book, including in the title, she eschews it. Too bad.

She doesn't like it, and the one you see in the quoted banner was put in by an illiterate, so it should not be pleasing at all, only perplexing, I think

All I said was that I was pleased to see the serial comma. I side with the illiterate in this case. Omission of the serial comma always rubs me the wrong way.
By the way, note that the publisher's note has the serial comma after "spellings". I'm again pleased.
Needing something to read while standing in a long checkout line at Costco, I bought a copy of Lynne Truss's ... the quotation mark. The comma is correct only if the banner said "Come inside, for CD's, VIDEO's, DVD's, and BOOK's".

Huh? I've always seen the "pre-'X-said' comma" in BrE texts, old(1) or new. This sort of thing is perfectly standard punctuation:

"And this," she said proudly, "is my prize marrow."
I choose to believe that the banner did not have the comma after "inside" and that her punctuation is not in accordance with the rules stated in the Oxford Style Manual .

Aha! All is explained. The Oxford Style Manual* is just one style guide referring to *one publisher. And here, as with several other OUP rules ("-ize", the Oxford/Harvard comma...), it clearly flies in the face of standard British editing practice.
I must say that I was pleased to see the comma after "DVD's". That's the one that's called the serial comma, or the Oxford comma. Elsewhere in the book, including in the title, she eschews it. Too bad.

Why is it "too bad" that like the vast majority of British editors she ignores the mandates of a "rogue" style guide, which, notwithstanding the prestige of its publisher (largely gained as a result of the fame of the OED, plus such knee-jerk respect for the Fowlers as may, rguably, remain), have never caught on among British writers or editors, despite having been waved in our faces for the last seventy years or so?
You may like Oxford style, Bob and there's nowt wrong with that; hey, it's a free world but you should accept that most Brits who write or edit for a living see it as being a quirky (hi, Randolph!) piece of weirdness, and so pay it all the attention as it deserves next to none.
If it serves as any consolation, Bob, I find myself in a similar situation, in that I'm a hyphen-happy Brit who is distressed to find next to no support for my standardised-hyphenation theories among my countrymen. That said, if I had been given Truss's brief presumably, to write a guide to best British punctuation practice as practised by the best British punctuators then I'd have to swallow my pride and eschew the use of that hyphen between "standardised" and "hyphenation" above, simply because most British editors wouldn't bother with it, on the grounds that it's not absolutely essential to avoid a glaring ambiguity.

Ross Howard
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Matti Lamprhey wrote on 13 Jun 2004:
Bob Cunningham wrote on 12 Jun 2004: You bought ... believe. It was probably altered for American readers, who would

"not" should've been there, of course.
understand "Come inside", it says, "for ..."

The UK edition is exactly as Bob quoted it. That comma inside the quotes is standard when the text is interrupted in that way. I disapprove.

I'm sorry to hear that there is no difference between the versions. I disapprove as well.

Franke: EFL teacher & medical editor.
For email, replace numbers with English alphabet.
Bob Cunningham wrote on 13 Jun 2004:
Bob Cunningham wrote on 12 Jun 2004: Too bad, Bob. You could have had it for 40% off (.50, down from $17.50) from Amazon.com.

I bought it at Costco for .99.

That's what I love about Costco.
Anyway, I was about to stand in line at Costco, and I needed something to read then and there: Buying from any other source was not an option.

I empathize. I would have done the same thing.
You bought a copy sold in the USA, I believe. ... readers, who would understand "Come inside", it says, "for ..."

The book as published in the US has a "Publisher's Note" that says, in part, Lynn Truss's Eats, Shoots ... book would have been akin to an effort to Americanize the Queen of England: futile, and, this publisher feels, misguided.

Amazing.
She doesn't like it, and the one you see in ... should not be pleasing at all, only perplexing, I think

All I said was that I was pleased to see the serial comma. I side with the illiterate in this case. Omission of the serial comma always rubs me the wrong way.

Me too, but I'm going to ask my shrink if I can adjust my medication to eliminate that annoyance. I see him on Tuesday afternoon.
By the way, note that the publisher's note has the serial comma after "spellings". I'm again pleased.

Again I empathize. I am a fan of the serial comma myself and use it whenever I can, and change non-serial commas whenever possible in the articles I edit.

Franke: EFL teacher & medical editor.
For email, replace numbers with English alphabet.
Bob Cunningham wrote on 12 Jun 2004:

The comma is correct only if the banner said "Come ... book, including in the title, she eschews it. Too bad.

She doesn't like it, and the one you see in the quoted banner was put in by an illiterate, so it should not be pleasing at all, only perplexing, I think. The writer obviously knew not what it had wrought.

I fear Mrs Truss probably thought it was part and parcel of the banner's badness. I can usually summon up some latitude for views on these matters which vary from my own, but for some reason I can't deal with the anti-serial comma crowd from any but a fundamentalist position of absolute and Torquemadan intolerance.
Somebody must have omitted a crucial comma when I was a baby, and left me scarred for life.
Mike.
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