in eats, shoots and leaves,” punctuation marks are compared to what highway safety device, because they keep words from banging together?
Punctuation marks are the traffic signals of language: they tell us to slow down, notice this, take a detour, or stop. Of all the punctuation marks, the comma is the most used and misused.
Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation is a non-fiction book written by Lynne Truss, the former host of BBC Radio 4’s Cutting a Dash programme.
In the book, published in 2003, Truss bemoans the state of punctuation in the United Kingdom and the United States and describes how rules are being relaxed in today’s society. Her goal is to remind readers of the importance of punctuation in the English language by mixing humour and instruction.
Truss dedicates the book “to the memory of the striking Bolshevik printers of St. Petersburg who, in 1905, demanded to be paid the same rate for punctuation marks as for letters, and thereby directly precipitated the first Russian Revolution”; she added this dedication as an afterthought after finding the factoid in a speech from a librarian
“…punctuation marks are the traffic signals of language: they tell us to slow down, notice this, take a detour, and stop.”
― Lynne Truss, Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation