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Punctuation [semi] Outdone

#DailyFixEA

Lynne Truss on punctuation:

“But colons and semicolons — well, they are in a different league, my dear! They give such lift! Assuming a sentence rises into the air with the initial capital letter and lands with a soft-ish bump at the full stop, the humble comma can keep the sentence aloft all right, like this, UP, for hours if necessary, UP, like this, UP, sort-of bouncing, and then falling down, and then UP it goes again, assuming you have enough additional things to say, although in the end you may run out of ideas and then you have to roll along the ground with no commas at all until some sort of surface resistance takes over and you run out of steam anyway and then eventually with the help of three dots . . . you stop.

But the thermals that benignly waft our sentences to new altitudes — that allow us to coast on air, and loop-the-loop, suspending the laws of gravity — well, they are the colons and semicolons.”

Truss’s book, Eats, Shoots & Leaves, is an excellent resource for writers of all kinds. You can find it here.

Punctuation Hilarity

[found on dailywritingtips.com]

“I’ve finally got round to reading Eats, Shoots and Leaves by Lynne Truss.

Here’s a book that is not only useful and fun to read, its phenomenal popularity carries a moral for every writer:

Don’t worry about following the market. Don’t try to produce another DaVinci Code or Harry Potter. Write what you’re enthusiastic about and kindred spirits will find your book.

Who could have guessed that a book about punctuation would hit the top of the charts?

First published in April of 2004, Eats, Shoots and Leaves spent 25 weeks on the NY Times bestseller list and by October of that year had gone back to press 22 times to bring the total of copies in print to a million. I can’t guess how many copies are out there by now.

At a bit more than 200 pages including the bibliography, this little book describes the rules that govern the use of:

    • apostrophe
    • comma
    • colon
    • semi-colon
    • dash
    • hyphen
    • period

Plenty of other writing guides exist that describe the use of punctuation symbols, but the Truss book livens the discussion by throwing in history, examples of offensive punctuation, and the cheeky attitude that any English speaker smart enough to achieve an elementary school education ought to be smart enough to use apostrophes correctly.”

[found on http://www.dailywritingtips.com/review-of-eats-shoots-and-leaves]