A joke on the back of a punctuation book I’ve started to read:
A panda walks into a café. 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 toward 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.
So, punctuation really does matter, even if it is only occasionally a matter of life and death!
The book, Eats, Shoots and Leaves by Lynne Truss is proving to be a very entertaining read, although not incredibly instructive, at least not so far. Then again, I’ve only made it into the second chapter.
Most hysterical so far is a point where the author quotes Churchill to emphasize that prepositions are not something one should end sentences with:
There is a rumour that, in parts of the Civil Service, workers have been pragmatically instructed to omit apostrophes because no one knows how to use them any more — and this is the kind of pragmatism, I say along with Winston Churchill, “…up with which we shall not put”.