Menard's review of Truss (was RE: How to Use English Punctuation Correctly - wikiHow)

Subject: Menard's review of Truss (was RE: How to Use English Punctuation Correctly - wikiHow)
From: "Combs, Richard" <richard -dot- combs -at- Polycom -dot- com>
To: <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 12 Jul 2007 08:42:38 -0600

Janice Gelb wrote:

> For a negative review of this book by Louis Menard that
> points out several flaws, see

I don't have my copy of Truss at hand, but I don't think Menard's
criticisms are entirely fair. I'm pretty certain, for example, that
Truss used "printers' marks" quite correctly, as the context involved
plural printers. His example of parentheses used wrongly strikes me as a
very effective sentence.

Menard said Truss deployed commas "as the mood strikes." He apparently
keeps his in a salt shaker, and deploys them with abandon. I thought at
first he was overusing commas as a kind of running gag.

And is this really a book review? It starts out as nitpicky criticism,
spends just a bit of time discussing the message and purpose of the book
(making some good points in the process), and then veers off into an
extended discussion of voice -- a complete non sequitur -- from which it
never returns.

I think Lauren's on to something -- Menard's primary purpose was to
punish Truss for daring to speak disrespectfully of The New Yorker. The
rest was just to hit the word count target.

That said, it was an entertaining read that made some very good points.

By the way, the same is true of _Eats, Shoots & Leaves_.


Richard G. Combs
Senior Technical Writer
Polycom, Inc.
richardDOTcombs AT polycomDOTcom
rgcombs AT gmailDOTcom


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Re: How to Use English Punctuation Correctly - wikiHow: From: Janice Gelb

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