A Dash of Style: The Art and Mastery of Punctuation

I tried, a few times, to read Strunk and White, and never did manage it. I tried reading a few other grammar books, I tried looking up grammar guides online, and every one left me confused, upset, and still with little idea how to write any better than I did.

Then I found A Dash of Style, by Noah Lukeman. It did far more than I’d have asked of such a handbook. It revolutionized the way I looked at words and the tiny marks that guide them. The subtitle isn’t kidding when it reads “The Art and Mastery of Punctuation.”

The book trains your eyes to the subtle differences that separate a masterful sentence from a weak one, like a Jujitsu master trains your hands to the differences between a powerful wrist lock, and uselessly twisting someone’s fingers. Or like a chef learns that the difference between a simply good soup and the great soup he wants to make is a pinch of this, and a dash of that.

Here’s the full review I wrote on Amazon.

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4 comments

  1. Thanks for the tip…will definitely look it up…Must I say you are doing a fabulous job with this site…..Keep it up and all the very best to you….

  2. Sounds like that might have to go on my ‘to-read’ list. I’ve got Strunk and White as well on my book shelf, but it’s not particularly easy to read (ironic, much?) and, like you, I didn’t feel particularly like my writerly knowledge was expanding because of it. I keep it more as a reference now, in case a particularly confusing grammatical issue should arise that needs an expert answer.

    1. Glad to add a book to your list! Yes, A Dash of Style is definitely one for the shelf. It’s very well to keep a book of examples of “acceptable usage”, true, just so long as you take into account that it’s full of overzealous opinion stated as fact and rule. X) It was really fun looking into the origins of that style guide, actually, I’d recommend you do the same.

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