"Eats, Shoots & Leaves"

I have a question about this new book that is real popular in the UK now and coming to Nord Amerika in April. It is entitled or titled or called or named or headlined “Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation.”

Why this title? I cannot figure it out. Guanxi to anyone who can help!

Its the incorrect punchline of a joke:
Q: "What does a chauvinistic man have in common with a wombat?
A: “Eats roots shoots and leaves.”

i don’t think so, sandy

The Economist had a review of it a couple weeks ago. It sounds like the author was using a variation of the joke Sandman mentioned. According to the review, the joke went like this: a panda walked into a bar, then ordered a hamburger. After downing the burger, the panda pulled out a shotgun, blasted a hole in the bar then walked out the door. When asked why, the panda opened up a poorly-punctuated naturalists’ guide and pointed to the section on pandas, reading: “Eats, shoots and leaves.” The author was just pointing out how punctuation really can change the meaning of a sentence.

Hope that helps.

Here’s a review of the book – a best-seller on punctuation. :?

nytimes.com/2004/01/05/books … html?8hpib

This review is consistent with Rachel’s:

As for its title, it comes from a joke that begins, “A panda walks into a cafe.”

The panda orders a sandwich, eats it and then fires a gun into the air. On his way out, he tosses a badly punctuated wildlife manual at the confused bartender and directs him to the entry marked “Panda.”

Whereupon the bartender reads: “Panda. Large black-and-white bearlike mammal, native to China. Eats, shoots and leaves.”

Interesting. So Sandman was partly right all along! I like the panda story better. Thanks, Rachel and MT (and Sandman) for the heads ups. Did I punctuate that right?

The panda version is a newer, cleaned up version.


[quote=“sandman”]The panda version is a newer, cleaned up version.

I wonder which one the writer of that new book knows! Maybe she aint telling.

Definitely with Sandman on this. A very old joke it is too.


Speaking of commas, I came across a new phrase today, the “Oxford Comma”. What does that mean?

[quote=“lane119”]Speaking of commas, I came across a new phrase today, the “Oxford Comma”. What does that mean?[/quote]After searching on google for 2 seconds: askoxford.com/asktheexperts/ … xfordcomma

Oxford (and Harvard) University Press house style calls for a comma between the “and” and the last item in a list – eggs, bacon, and ham rather than the more usual eggs, bacon and ham.

[quote=“Michael Quinion, who writes about international English from a British viewpoint”]It

There’s a parody out now, titled

Eats, Shites & Leaves: Crap English and How to Use It

162pp -

I always heard it as a typical kiwi eats shoots roots and leaves.

It’s a very old Aussie joke… goes back a long time… before the Americans butchered the English language with simplified spellings.

What do you call a group of aboriginies throwing themselves off a cliff?