September 08, 2006

Commas for kids: the critique

Arnold Zwicky alerted us a few weeks ago that best-selling punctuation nag Lynne Truss had adapted her international blockbuster Eats, Shoots & Leaves into a kiddie edition (perhaps taking her cue from Bill O'Reilly?). Now Neal Whitman at Literal-Minded gives us a well-rounded review, based on a thorough testing with Neal's sons Doug and Adam. Here's the conclusion:

Despite my criticisms of ES&L for kids, I had fun reading it with Doug and Adam. Many of the examples were well chosen, as noted above, and the pictures were always fun, and sometimes pretty clever. (Can you guess how they illustrated I've finally decided to cheer up, everybody!? I couldn't have.) But as an educational experience, the book ranges from unhelpful to misleading or false. The grammar lovers/parents that it targets should expect more.

And for more Truss-busting, see this article in the Guardian's Sunday Observer all about David Crystal's new book, deliciously titled The Fight for English: How Language Pundits Ate, Shot, and Left.

Posted by Benjamin Zimmer at September 8, 2006 02:10 PM