Friday, 18 January 2013

Book Review: "Punctuation..?" (User Design)

User Design 2012
ISBN 9780957071223
Sample blurb: "Punctuation..? explains the functions and correct uses of 21 of the most used punctuation marks. It is humorous, fully illustrated using real life scenarios and is for a wide age range (young to ageing) and intelligence (emerging to expert).
This book also makes an ideal gift, birthday present or special occasion gesture."

Ingenuous, somewhat endearing line drawings combined with simple and straightforward punctuation rules and examples make Punctuation..?, from User Design, a bit of a one-off.

I must admit I didn't even know there were 21 punctuation marks, much less how to use some of the more obscure ones such as the Pilcrow (so that's what it's called), the Guillemets (so that's what they're called - despite living in France) and the Interpunct (so that's what... etc.). See the contents page below if you're not sure what I'm talking about either.

The book is aimed at a general audience and seems to be gunning for the Eats, Shoots and Leaves (by Lynne Truss) category of fun-but-frightfully-useful-if-this-is-your-thing literary self-help volumes.

Curiously, for a self-proclaimed humorous book (see blurb) there isn't any in the actual explanations or examples, which are dry enough to have been lifted directly from a scholarly grammar tome, but there's no denying their clarity and indeed brevity, err, efficacy.

In the end it's a pleasant little book, certainly original in its design, and if you are looking for some crystal clear explanations, especially on things like the dreaded apostrophe, which gets six pages, or the subtleties between dashes and hyphens, commas, colons and semi-colons, you could do worse than to check out Punctuation..?.

You need to know that it's slim though - Amazon call it a pamphlet - and at £10 new (although check Amazon, hint, hint) a little steep considering...


Sab Will is, or has been, a freelance teacher, teacher trainer, director of studies, ELT writer, fanatical blogger, Facebook freak and website weirdo. He is also a well-known street photographer, abstract artist, poet and Paris city chronicler. The 'well-known' bit only applies to those who know him well, however.
Hotch Potch English: 'The ELT Resources Review Blog' ~ Book Review: "Punctuation..?" (User Design)
© 2013 Sab Will / Hotch Potch English

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