It may terrify you that I, who can sit at assessment centres, (arrogantly) picking out mistakes on instruction sheets (likely to my own demise), and hope, nay expect, that writing of one variety or other will be in my future, have only just finished reading Lynne Truss’ delightful “flagship” tome Eats, Shoots & Leaves. (Goodness knows I started it ages ago.)
Regardless of the length of the reading process, it was marvellous. So much so, that I plan to move on to some of the referenced works in the bibliography. The book is not a style guide or an instruction manual; in fact, some may even call it a coffee-table- or glove-compartment book – perfectly entertaining and informative read from cover to cover, or by chapter.
For me, the book has also sparked renewed interest and attention into how punctuation is used in different languages; by different, I do not only mean between countries – “netspeak” and body language can well be included in the party. At the same time, I have noticed my own downfalls/weaknesses: I am a serial abuser of semicolons (and sometime abuser of brackets); I still include foreign-isms into my language use no matter what language in which I am operating at any one time; and sometimes I do not stand up sufficiently for said language use – after all, it is my personal style*, is it not? Oh, and I am occasionally overly pedantic (though this, I have been told, is typical of anybody who undertakes postgraduate studies).
What about you? Are you an ardent editor of your own (and everybody else’s) work? Or do you prefer to leave that task to somebody else?
*In the event that somebody takes an interest in my writing, I would like to add that I am fully capable of adapting to house styles, and sticking religiously to them at work. Foreign-isms usually kick in when I indulge in free speech/writing/other forms of expression. Surely a bit of poetic licence is allowed in the age of mass-self-publication?
** For Swedish speakers and other cool-words-in-foreign-languages-enthusiasts: I went looking for a word that meant “maffig”. When I finally succumbed to google translate, it offered me “groovy”. “Groovy” will – reluctantly – do me for now, but I shall continue my quest for “maffig”.