What am I reading and what have I read recently:

What am I reading and what have I read recently:

Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation

Is one of the best books I have read in a long time. It is a very entertaining read and in a very lucid style considering it is a book on punctuation! One of my pet peeves at the moment is poor punctuation. Everybody does it, I am sure there are one or two mistakes in what I have written so far, but the problem is that no one cares that they are doing it and I find this annoying and disturbing. In the age of mass communication of emails, txt msgs and blogs people now write more on a daily basis than our ancestors and it was only the educated amongst our ancestors who would sit down and write a letter or a note, let alone a book or a diary. Today every one can and does, and this has lead to the unfortunate situation where people are sloppy and cavalier with language. One of the most common misuses [abuses] is the apostrophe. If you have more than one CD is it CDs or CD’s? if there is rain do you write “its raining” or “it’s raining”, what if the colour of something is blue do you write “its colour is blue” or “it’s colour is blue”. In my correspondance with friends and other acquaintances I see this on a daily basis. Two particular friends of mine, both well educated and involved in various projects that require written skills, misuse the poor apostrophe!

After reading this book, I have begun to notice signs and adverts that misuse it too. For example in Manchester there is “St. Peter’s Square” and yet the tram stop is called “St Peters Square”! Which do you think is correct? That’s right the first not the second.

You may ask what the heck does it matter, an apostrophe here or there? What I will say is that if you are using a language it should be honoured and learned and the etiquette afforded to it should also be learned. One particular type of writing annoyance that I find particularly annoying is when people send me emails for the Shayukh that they want me to forward and they have written them in abbreviated form, you know “slms shaykh, wud it b poss 2 have yr contact details, as I need 2 ask u a question if it iz ok..” [not a real message but I have received similar ones – “1s”?], now to me this is absolutely terrible adab and I won’t forward such emails to the Shayukh as I believe that when you speak to the Shayukh you should speak to them in the best of manners and that also includes written correspondence too. OK so people make typographical errors, so no problem but downright sloppy grammar and punctuation is inexcusable and also this newfangled txtspk (text speak). Now there is another pet peeve, text messaging…don’t get me started…may be in a future blog entry…insha’Allah.

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