by Thomas Bohm (self-published, 2nd ed. 2012): 36pp, £8.94 (pbk), ISBN 978 0957071223.

Reviewed by Joan Dale Lace

Buy this book

This is a useful little book on a subject that fills many people with dread. When should you use a comma, a semicolon, a colon? And what about the apostrophe? Bohm explains simply and clearly, offering examples and illustrating his explanations with amusing cartoons.

Each punctuation mark is given its own page or pages (the apostrophe has six!), which aids clarity. I compared this book with the Oxford A–Z of Grammar & Punctuation. Although Oxford's explanations are also clear, the density of the text makes them seem less accessible.


Unusual marks, not generally covered by books on punctuation, are included – for anyone who has wondered about the marks used to represent paragraphs and spaces when you opt to show formatting in Word, pilcrow and interpunct will explain their origin.

However, although it's nicely produced and printed on good-quality paper, £10 seems a bit pricey for 36 pages.


by Thomas Bohm (self-published, 1st ed. 2006): 36pp (pbk), £7.50 (inc. p&p).

Reviewed by Michèle Clarke

This slim volume (and who wants a tome on punctuation anyway?) covers all the punctuation marks from apostrophes to semi colons (or semicolons, depending on where you look in the booklet).

The marks are given two or three pages each with cartoons to illustrate, thus making the text appear easy to understand while giving solid information about all the marks. An example or two are also given to illustrate each point (sorry for pun) made.

Common problems

The most common problems are discussed, such as its versus it's, and also how usage is changing – Bohm mentions that apostrophes are appearing and are acceptable in plurals such as '1970's' (which I still hate) and are disappearing from company names such as Barclays Bank. There are also some lovely additions to the usual run of punctuation marks, such as the pilcrow and the guillemet. Sadly, no index is included, but in such a small volume, this really isn't a problem.

A nice addition to your shelves, or rather by your computer, this book will take up little space and will have all you should need on a bad punctuation day.

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