NonFiction Review: Actually, the Comma Goes Here

Actually, the Comma Goes Here by Lucy Cripps
Actually, the Comma Goes Here: A Practical Guide to Punctuation
by Lucy Cripps

3 out of 5 stars

In case you missed it in elementary school, here are the rules for using punctuation so that your writing will make sense. There are snippets from history about how punctuation was first invented in the library at Alexandria, and how the Greeks and Romans developed their own styles of punctuation that morphed into what we use today. There are tons of examples of correct and incorrect punctuation in different types of sentences, questions, quotations, and clauses.

The best thing about this book is the comedic writing style. The author uses humor to make the punctuation rules memorable and fun.

There are sections for the period, comma, apostrophe, question mark, colon, semicolon, and a dozen others, and an entire chapter for markings that look like punctuation but aren’t, like the & and @ symbols.
One of the things I really appreciated was how the author referenced different style guides (Chicago Manual Style, Modern Language Association, The Blue Book, and Associated Press) that are used by newspapers, educational and science journals, and fiction and non-fiction publishers to explain why there is some controversy about different punctuation usage. The press have their own set of rules because of the nature of their format, as do scientific writings because of the subject material. I loved that this book explains the different style guides and the various rules that apply to each.

However, I got tired of the author being so sarcastic about “punctuation snobs”. I mean, it’s fine to have some light-hearted humor and laugh at ourselves when we care so much about each little comma and apostrophe, but the author kept making the same joke over and over about “punctuation pedants”. There is even a recurring section in the book entitled “How to Beat the Snobs”. After 100 pages of non-stop mocking, I got tired of it. The author is a self-proclaimed punctuation snob, so I guess they were poking fun at themselves, but I think they went overboard with it. It was funny the first time; after that, not so much.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the publisher/ author in exchange for a free and honest review. All the opinions stated here are my own true thoughts, and are not influenced by anyone.

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