Eats, Shoots and Leaves


Eats, Shoots and Leaves

Astrid has a tremendous link over at

Missing Comma Gets Woman Out Of A Parking Ticket. (“Let’s eat, Grandpa” – “Let’s eat Grandpa”!) Strunk & White “The Elements of Style” a must – 07.08

Seems that the ticket was for parking more than 24 hours in a zone that didn’t allow a “motor vehicle camper.” The Ohio woman had a truck. She said that there needed to be a comma between vehicle and camper.  The Judge agreed. Strunk & White aren’t the only the law on commas.

There is a great story about a panda that walked into a bar, had a salad,  pulled out a gun, shot out the mirror, and then walked out.  The headline was:

Panda Eats, Shoots and Leaves

The next day the panda came into the bar, had his salad, and walked out. The headline was

Panda Eats Shoots and Leaves.

Funny things, those commas.  Many people use too many, I usually use too few.

Grammar is always fun.  I love dangling participles. The most famous is the tag line on Star Trek — “To boldly go where no man has gone before.”  Lest ye forget, “To” and “Before” are participles and Gene Roddenberry got one right and  dangled another in the same sentence.  (He also split an infinitive “To boldly go” but I’m not going to get into that fight. There is no agreement as to whether splitting infinitives is proper, it seems that its OK if it sounds right) And then there is a famous song “Do you know where you are going to.” But would it sound right “Do you know to where you are going?”

Winston Churchill would have no truck with silly participle rules. He was a master at spoken as well as written prose. When making a correction on the margin of a particularly pedantically written document he sarcastically wrote: “This is English up with which I will not put.”




Picture of John Van Horn

John Van Horn

One Response

  1. How important that English Grammar book was in elementary school. We grow in our careers and share our education with others we meet in life from other countries.

    I hope the students today are learning the same basic English grammar rules as we did. We and they need it everyday.

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