A lot of you know that I’m an editor and have been for over 25 years. While my specialty now is Line, Content, and Sensitivity Editing, I got my start as a Proofreader and Copy Editor. I still do it. It’s technical editing. And it’s something that every manuscript needs.
One of the most common questions I get asked is “How can I save money on copy editing?” The answer I give is “Have the cleanest copy possible before you pay a professional to copy edit it.” The more errors a manuscript has the more time it will take to clean up and the more it will cost. But to do this, authors have to bone up on grammar. And one of the biggest pitfalls has to do with punctuation.
Actually, the Comma Goes Here is a light, easy-to-understand resource for people who want to shut up the grammar pedants and bone up on their punctuation. It breaks down what each punctuation mark does and what it doesn’t do. How to use it and how not to use it.
While it’s geared toward those who didn’t get a solid education in the punctuation rules, it absolutely is useful for someone like me, an editor by trade, because it not only explains why a rule exists but also has a quick reference guide in the back for the major differences between the style guides. OMG super useful!
The book makes much over how most grammar confusion comes from the many many different style guides out there and that there are really only a few hard and fast rules to follow. (Never more than two spaces between sentences – for example.) The bigger take away when there is confusion is to pick one rule and be consistent. Using a serial comma aka the Oxford comma? Then you need to use that for all serials.
The book was light and easy to read. The rules were broken up into digestible chunks peppered with anecdotes, historical information, and how to deal with pedants. The author gave examples of both the right and the wrong way to do things and also explained why it was wrong.
I kept thinking that this would be a great resource for authors with ADHD or other neurodivergences for whom understanding all of the rules and their exceptions just becomes too much.
I read this book quickly… which considering this is a book on punctuation was a big deal.
Frankly, I learned stuff. I had fun while doing it. And it’s a useful resource for the future.
And for that, I give this:
If this is your jam, you can get it here.
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I received an ARC of this book via NetGalley