Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Its/it’s Lynne Truss

From a Yorkshire Post article about Lynne Truss, who wrote Eats, Shoots & Leaves (2003):

A 244-page tour through the rules of punctuation, there was no diverting illustrations and not even a whiff of celebrity. And yet when it was released in 2003, it became one of that year’s biggest hits with many bookshops unable to feed the demand. For it’s author Lynne Truss, it also meant being dragged kicking and screaming into the limelight.
I thought at first that this article was a spoof, a count-the-errors exercise. But no. How many errors do you see?

Eats, Shoots & Leaves, by the way, is a highly unreliable guide to punctuation. From Bryan Garner’s withering review of the book:
Why do the experts uniformly disparage a punctuation book that appeals so much to the popular mind? The thing is that many people think they’re sticklers when they’re not. And Lynne Truss happens to be one of them. She’s taken a leaf from Karl Marx in proclaiming that her rallying cry is “Sticklers of the world, unite!” That’s exactly what they’re doing, but not quite in the way she intended. The true sticklers of the world are uniting against Lynne Truss.
A related post
Garner, Menand, and Truss

comments: 3

Daughter Number Three said...

Verb/subject agreement in the first sentence. But is that actually a sentence, or just a fragment? Plus the it's/its author problem.

I will feel stupid when you point out the other problems.

Michael Leddy said...

What other problems?

In truth though, I see one more unambiguous problem: the dangling modifier “A 244-page tour through the rules of punctuation” should be followed by “the book” or “it.” That first sentence is a sentence, but it’s a bad one.

A comma after “hits” would add clarity. And “meet” or “satisfy” seems a better choice than “feed,” though I wouldn’t call the word an error.

Elaine said...

And then there is the "it's" error. I'm disappointed that it wasn't a spoof, because I don't see how anyone who can read could have written that....