Book review: Punctuation…? by User Design

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Readers of this blog will remember a previous post in which I argue that punctuation errors by students shouldn’t be ignored…

There is a temptation to ignore (punctuation errors) which must be resisted, I think. It’s very easy to think that the priority must be the vocabulary and grammar, and while I would agree with that, it doesn’t have to come at the expense of form. If the students are writing in the first place, they need to understand that in a professional capacity, which is how most students will use their writing abilities in English, poor writing can create a lasting and damaging impression.

So you can imagine how pleased I was when I had the opportunity to get my hands on the book Punctuation…? by User Design. The book is a handy and accessible guide to the rules of punctuation, accompanied by witty and original illustrations.

Each chapter describes how different punctuation marks, from the often confusing apostrophe to the underemployed semicolon, are used in text that clearly and directly explains the rules. As a teacher, I particularly appreciated the straightforward nature of the descriptions and in this respect the book is an excellent resource for teachers who wish to have a quick and easy reference for checking students work and explaining the functions and use of punctuation marks to their students.

I also enjoyed some of the more esoteric punctuation marks described. These include the pilcrow, guillemets and the interpunct. Admittedly, these aren’t very useful for your everyday teacher, but if you’re a bit of a word nerd, you’ll find them interesting.

What sets the book apart from other reference books are the illustrations. Each entry is accompanied by a series of humorous drawings which provide the reader with an amusing visual representation of the rules and examples in the text. I especially enjoyed the apostrophe snakes and the colon footballers, but any of the David Shrigley or Spike Milligan-esque figures with their long noses and longer limbs are a part of the unique look of the book.

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All in all, I’d recommend Punctuation…? as a handy guide for teachers who need a convenient guide to that most underrated aspect of English writing, punctuation.

To find out more about Punctuation…? click here to go to their website where you can see more images and find out all the places it can be bought.

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