Eats, Shoots, and Blogs

New York Times bestselling author Lynn Truss takes a zero tolerance approach to punctuation.

If ever it occurred to you to downplay the importance of commas, get ready to change your mind after reading the book Eats, Shoots & Leaves. To understand the book’s title, think of:

  • a panda or koala, who eats the shoots and leaves of plants
  • a cowboy who enters a diner, eats, shoots (his gun), and leaves (departs)

Without proper punctuation (in this case a single comma), readers would have a hard time understanding what the writer had meant to convey.

According to Compendium Blogware CEO Chris Baggott, blogging for business is about instant customer gratification. So, think about this for a moment: If online searchers can’t tell whether you’re referring to a panda or a cowboy, they will simply click and leave! Ignoring clarity by failing to use proper punctuation in blog posts is done at business owners’ peril.

In her chapter That’ll Do, Comma, Truss explains that commas serve two functions:

  • to illuminate the grammar of a sentence
  • to point up rhythm and tone

Basically, commas can help your blog post (as Niecy Nash might put it on Clean House) do "what it came to do", which is to clearly convey what you do and what you’d like readers to do about that..

Speaking of "you’d", as a business blogging trainer I preach reading ten other blogs or articles for every post you write.  If you try that, paying attention to punctuation, you’re sure to notice that the apostrophe is the most misused punctuation mark in our language.

(More about the apostrophe in a later blog post, but IT"S a shame about ITS abuse, isn’t it?


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