British writer Lynne Truss has set up a Web site featuring a collection of funny examples of misplaced punctuation. The author of the popular 2003 book "Eats, Shoots and Leaves: The Zero Tolerance to Punctuation" delights in grammatical errors that completely change the intended meaning of written communication.
For example, Truss publishes an item on a restaurant menu gone wrong. What was supposed to be "Goat Cheese Salad ... tomato, onions, goat cheese" turned into something else entirely with a couple of extra s's and an erroneous additional comma: "Goats Cheese Salad ... tomatoes, onions, goats, cheese."
Another example is a sign intended to tell drivers to slow down because there were kids in the area. But "Slow, Children Crossing" turned into "Slow Children Crossing" with the omission of a comma, indicating the kids were dim bulbs.
Truss, who has worked as a sub-editor and a proofreader, fears the transition from print to electronic media ( ie text messages, e-mail) is ruining good writing.
She tells Reuters, "If people have been taught that it is not important to use punctuation then it is really the death of prose and poetry and I feel very sad about that. I think it is worth getting a bit steamed up about it."
Truss, who released a book last year entitled "Talk to the Hand: The Utter Bloody Rudeness of the World Today" is also collecting examples of public behavior of the sort that was regarded as private in the past. She asks her site's readers to post examples of people exhibiting such behavior, such as a story she heard about a woman shaving her legs on a train.
"Basically people are becoming more and more self-centered and busy so that they are just unaware of people around them," Truss says.
Truss' Web site, www.lynnetruss.com , debuted Friday.