Reviewer Conny Withay:Operating her own business in office management since 1991, Conny is an avid reader, volunteers reading the Bible to the elderly, and makes handmade jewelry. A cum laude graduate with a degree in art living in the Pacific Northwest, she is married with two sons, two daughter-in-laws, and one granddaughter.
Author: Richard Lauchman
“I intend to show you, explaining as necessary along the way, not only how to use the marks correctly, but how to choose the marks that best clarify your intention and best suggest how much emphasis you want to place on an idea,” Richard Lauchman states in his introduction of his book, Punctuation at Work – Simple Principles for Achieving Clarity and Good Style.
At two hundred and eight pages, this paperback book is targeted toward individuals who care about conveying proper punctuation in their writing at the workplace. After an introduction, author’s note, and definitions, the first section of the book has sixty pages of nineteen principles of punctuation, followed by over ninety pages of rules for thirteen punctuation marks in alphabetical order. Also included are an appendix on listing ideas, chapter-by-chapter notes, and a topical index.
Lauchman reminds us the two sentences, “She is dressed to kill Richard” and “She is dressed to kill, Richard,” have two very different meanings, based solely by one comma mark. By learning standard punctuation rules that clarify intent, are arranged correctly, delineate ideas, accentuate emphasis, and make common sense, we can perfect writing skills at work and in our daily lives.
In each topic listed, the author has both wrong and right examples, showing a better way to design a sentence or thought. Some errors are humorous while others show more problematic structure or intent and how to correct them.
The more useable section is on the marks, as a quick reference when or when not to use them. A supporter of the serial comma, Lauchman feels it confirms what the writer’s intent is without question. He explains when to use a comma or the word “and” with multiple adjectives as well as reiterates use of the dash and slash. The ellipsis, a much-misunderstood mark, should only be used for omitting words and include four dots if at the end of a sentence.
Although it is recommended to use indentation for long quoted sections, the section on double quotes does not include two or more paragraphs of conversation by the same person where the ending quote per paragraph is omitted until the final paragraph or what to do if there is a break in the dialogue within the middle paragraph.
With more workers succumbing to texting, emailing, and using abbreviations, the art of proper writing with good punctuation is still necessary to communicate clearly. This is a great tool to have at a hand’s reach at the work station and this reader hopes there is a similar book on grammar rules forthcoming.
This book was furnished by AMACOM in lieu of an unbiased review.