Here, There be a Writer

Thursday, April 5, 2018

E is for Eats, (Shoots, and Leaves)

Everyone needs a little humour, especially when grammar is involved. Grammar is an insane beast.

I am sure nobody liked grammar in school; it's like that weird kid that is always doing impressions and wearing loudly mismatched clothing. That is who grammar represents in my head. It was something that I struggled with, often to the failure of other things. It was the thing that took me the longest to master, and I still struggle with it.

What's a writer to do?

You have one super snarky friend that gets you Eats, Shoots, and Leaves, a book that takes me through the principles of grammar, especially the ones that are often overlooked or missed, and to do so with a bit of humour. It was an enjoyable read. It was also fun to scan the pages of this book for this blog; there are a lot of passages of famous authors that are used as examples  that excites me quite a bit).

But seriously, it is a really good read for people curious about grammar and how to properly use many of the symbols we use, or at least encounter on a daily basis. You even get a bit history too.

Eats, Shoots, and Leaves is written by Lynne Truss. She openly admits to using grammar to get her point across. It is amusing. It is a solid read if you really want to improve your grammar, or if you are just curious about what your grammar Nazi friends are complaining about. What makes Eats, Shoots...a book that I enjoyed was that even though it was an educational book about the functions of commas, semi-colon, and apostrophes, specifically; there really was a good blend humour and the intellectual.

The thing I took most from reading Eats, Shoots... is the semi-colon. It is a oft forgotten punctuation mark; also it is very versatile. I was asked once by a teacher. Mrs. Kolo in 12th grade, she asked why I used a semi-colon in a sentence of one of my poems, probably for an assignment or something. I don't even remember now. I couldn't really answer her, because I didn't really know what a semi-colon did, or why I used it. I admit it, I was ashamed by the end of class...

Now I know that you can use a semi-colon to connect two thoughts or fragments into one complete sentence. Amazing! But, what is also amazing was the fact that you can use it to connect to fragments together and have a change the thought of the sentence; while the sentence can still be coherent. On that day I was ecstatic! (Okay, maybe that is an exaggeration).  I understood why I used the semi-colon back then; in that poem, specifically. I am sure I had been having a continuous thought, and maybe  had shifted the thought to a different perspective; something close to that in my high schooler mind anyway.

To this day it is why I use semi-colon. I also see how some people don't fully understand the semi colon's use in writing.

I didn't feel stupid after reading East, Shoots...I was wiser, and better prepared to utilize the punctuation in my daily writings. And now I present a little grammar humour in pantoum-style: enjoy! And the last o my over use of the semi-colon to prove a point. Ha ha!

Laughing at Semi-Colons

So, don't lecture me of the finer points
of comma usage and what a semi-colon is,
But then again, do I really care?
I don't even use a semi-colon.

Of comma usage and what a semi-colon is
can be marked in pencil or pen.
I don't even use a semi-colon;
when writing this sentence.

Can be marked in pencil or pen,
maybe a crayon or washable maker
when writing this sentence
for my daily poetic requirement.

Maybe a crayon or washable marker
will bring to life a lyric masterpiece;
for my daily poetic requirement,
and maybe use two semi-colons as well.

Will bring to life a lyric masterpiece,
but then again, do I really care?
And maybe use two semi-colons as well
so don't lecture ME of the finer points.


  1. Very good - it's hard to write a pantoum! I loved Eats, Shoots and Leaves; read it a long time ago, now. I'm doing the A-Z backwards so today it's 'V' for me. Liz


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