[Review] The New Well-Tempered Sentence, A Punctuation Handbook for the Innocent, the Eager, and the Doomed by Karen Elizabeth Gordon

Title: The New Well-Tempered Sentence, A Punctuation Handbook for the Innocent, the Eager, and the Doomed
Author: Karen Elizabeth Gordon
Publisher: Mariner September 19, 2003/First published in 1983 and then again in 1993.
Genre: Non-fiction
Theme: Punctuation
Format: Paperback
Age: Adult or young adult
Rating: 4 1/2 Stars
Source: Self-purchase

I found out about this book when I read Eats, Shoots and Leaves by Lynne Truss. The New Well-Tempered Sentence was used as a reference for Truss's book.

Gordon's book, The New Well-Tempered Sentence is unique, with edgy illustrations and a coquette style of writing. Gordon makes learning punctuation fun. Can punctuation be fun? Yes, with the right teacher. Karen Gordon breaks up the monotony of learning with unique drawings and dry humor. Punctuation is divided into chapters: exclamation point, question mark, period, comma, semicolon, colon, hyphen, dash, italics, parentheses, brackets, slash, and the apostrophe.

My Thoughts:
I enjoyed reading both Truss's and Gordon's books on punctuation, I felt I learned a great deal from both. The authors have a similar writing style, they are quirky and witty. I feel both books compliment each other. In some instances one of them wrote more on a punctuation than the other: Gordon wrote more on the comma and Truss wrote more on the apostrophe. Gordon had additional punctuation included in her book: ellipses, brackets and slash bar.
Personally, I prefer Truss's method on commas in lists: "This is probably the first thing you ever learn about commas, that they divide items in lists, but are not required before the and on the end." Truss does go on to say "don't be too rigid about the Oxford comma. Sometimes the sentence is improved by including it; sometimes it isn't."  If there is a "list of adjectives, again the rule is that you use a comma where an and would be appropriate-where the modifying words are all modifying the same thing to the same degree." From pages 83-86 in Eats, Shoots and Leaves.

Link for book @ Amazon:
Available in paperback $8.58.


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