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Last Updated: Monday, 1 December, 2003, 12:42 GMT
Grammar book tops bestseller list
Lynne Truss
Author Truss was surprised by public interest in punctuation
A book about English grammar and the misuse of apostrophes looks set to become a festive bestseller.

Eats, Shoots and Leaves, the brainchild of author Lynne Truss, is subtitled The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation.

On Sunday it topped the bestseller list of the UK online retailer Amazon and it is already undergoing its sixth reprint since publication last month.

A US edition of the book, which cites examples from UK sitcoms like Porridge, has already been commissioned.

Grammatical howlers

Truss told BBC One's Breakfast she was "astounded" by the runaway success of the book, which took its title from a grammatical anecdote about pandas.

The initial print run of 5,000 was expected to appeal to "old codger types", but many of the high street booksellers have singled it out on their Christmas Pick lists.

Posters for films like Two Weeks Notice and signs bearing grammatical howlers like Mens Toilets are among the examples which prompted Truss's "punctuation anarchy".

Understandably, proof-reading the book was "agonising" said the author, who has written several novels. "It was much harder than writing a book."

American interest

She said she believed her interest in punctuation stemmed from a previous job editing book reviews which put her "at the coal-face of punctuation".

She added that many people who have been through education were never taught "where you put an apostrophe or hyphen".

However, she remained surprised by the weight of feeling her book has inspired, particularly the interest from the US, where she has been given a $120,000 (75,000) advance for an American edition.

"It's fantastic - I can't sleep," the author said.

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