Eats, shoots and leaves

Embracing the fact that I am a bit of a nerd, this is my new favorite book. It is all about punctuation – that’s right, I said punctuation. We often forget how important punctuation can be to our message, but this book provides many examples of ‘information gone wrong’ as a result of faulty punctuation. Here are two of my favorite examples:

The first is from the back cover of the book and explains the title –

A panda walks into a cafe. He orders a sandwich, eats it, then draws a gun and fires two shots in the air.

“Why?” asks the confused waiter, as the panda makes towards the exit. The panda produces a badly punctuated wildlife manual and tosses it over his shoulder.

“I’m a panda,” he says at the door. “Look it up.”

The waiter turns to the relevant entry, and sure enough, finds an explanation.

Panda. Large black-and-white bear-like mammal, native to China. Eats, shoots and leaves.”

The second example is either a love letter or a Dear John letter depending on how you read it-

Dear Jack,

I want a man who knows what love is all about. You are generous, kind, thoughtful. People who are not like you admit to being useless and inferior. You have ruined me for other men. I yearn for you. I have no feelings whatsoever when we’re apart. I can be forever happy – will you let me be yours?



Dear Jack,

I want a man who knows what love is. All about you are generous, kind, thoughtful people, who are not like you. Admit to being useless and inferior. You have ruined me. For other men I yearn! For you I have no feelings whatsoever. When we’re apart I can be forever happy. Will you let me be?



As the author, Lynne Truss, states, “So, punctuation really does matter, even if it is only occasionally a matter of life and death.”

P.S. Please don’t expect my blog to be free of spelling and grammar errors – it’s just not going to happen!! 🙂


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