Cover of "Webster's New World Guide to Pu...
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Book Review: Webster’s New World Guide to Punctuation

Traci Kenworth


Simon & Schuster                         by Auriel Douglas and Michael Strumpf


Hook line: All the rules you need to know to punctuate correctly.


Okay, so this is an older book obviously but I’ve been going through craft books lately, trying to study, study, study and this one is a desk keeper. It told me names of things I couldn’t define. For example:


The Virgule: From Latin, virgule, meaning little rod. The virgule, or slash mark, is a slanting line (/) used to mark the division of words or lines. I. E. and/or.

The Ampersand: Alteration of and per se and. The sign & is used to represent the word and.

Diacritical remarks: Adjective from Greel. Diakritikos, to distinguish. Encountered primarily in foreign languages. I.E. Éclat. (Thankfully, I’ve found the computer usually automatically makes the marks needed as I can’t figure out where the buttons for them are on my keypad. Lol.)


This is not to say that I didn’t know of the 3 above, obviously I’ve used them, but I didn’t know their names and in some cases other instances of their use. I found the overall guide to be fabulous in explaining the details behind things. I got fairly decent grades, A & B’s in English but the more I delve into the writer’s world, the more I see, I needed to dust out the old books and refresh my memory. We all know punctuation is important in our line of work and I’m sure I have no need to confront you with that truth: simply put, if we want to become better writers than we need to constantly go over our craft. This book is an excellent example of how to make our writing clearer, to make sure that it soars.

It will help get your book off the shelves at sale time if your writing is punctuated properly. Would you want to struggle through reading someone’s words, or hitch yourself to a kite that takes you exploring new worlds on the turn of a single phrase? I used to think I knew a fair amount of English to get me through, but the truth is I’ve forgotten some of the rules and the refresher course can only help me out in the long run. So, one thing’s for sure, I’ll continue exploring non-fiction as well as fiction on my course to publication. After all, I’m sure you’ve all heard it said: you have to know the rules before you can break them.

Have you chosen to go through old grammar books? Are you studying your craft? Everything we do in the way of research is improvement on the path ahead.





16 thoughts on “

  1. And writers groups help too! I feel pretty confident in the execution of my craft, but I still catch sloppy errors in my copy editing. I wasn’t aware of all the terminology, but I think I know how to use everything. Mind you, one can never have too many grammar books or a ‘Guide To Punctuation’! 🙂


    1. Lol–I felt kind of silly posting about this book, as though it would make me seem less of a writer but I think now, I shouldn’t have been. It seems we all recognize we need boosts in this area, in whatever form it comes. I’ve long been a craft junkie too!! heehee.


  2. I have a number of grammar books on my shelf, but its all Greek to me the second I open them up. I don’t know what it is about grammar, but it makes no sense to me. Sometimes it feels like math! I rely on a friend of mine to look over my work and she tells me when something is grossly wrong. 🙂


  3. Oh, admittedly, Pen. You all have taught me SO much!! But I still like to go through craft books so that maybe I can fix a distraction in my writing that takes up too much of you ladies’ time. It helps to further the “repeat” in my conscious to “not” do that next time. Lol.


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