Review Have you eaten grandma? (A review)

original work by GYLES BRANDRETH reviewed by BARRY TOMALIN

In 2003 the writer and broadcaster, Lynne Truss, published what became an international best seller, 'Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation', a humorous but also serious guide to correct punctuation. She dedicated the book to the memory of the printers of St Petersburg in Russia, who in 1905 demanded to be paid the same rate for punctuation marks as for letters. Now Gyles Brandreth, the broadcaster, humourist, former member of parliament and, currently, Chancellor of Chester University has followed in her footsteps but expanded the brief. 'Have you Eaten Grandma?' is an informal and humorous guide not just to correct punctuation but also to spelling and vocabulary. It contains ten chapters with a useful index although there is no contents list or suggestions for further reading. The ten chapters cover the basic elements of punctuation, the use of dashes and hyphens, when and when not to use apostrophes, spelling rules, plural forms, the influence of American English, the use of homophones, homographs and heterographs, abbreviations and bad language, and concludes with a summary of rules for writers, offered by such luminaries as George Orwell, Martin Amis and William Safire.

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