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Lynne Truss (born 1955 in Kingston upon Thamesmarker) is an Englishmarker writer and journalist, best known for her popular book Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation.

Early life

Lynne Truss grew up in Petershammarker and was educated at Tiffin Girlsā€™ Grammar Schoolmarker in Kingston. She gained a first-class honours degree at University College Londonmarker in English Language and Literature.


After university in 1977, she joined the Radio Times as a sub-editor before moving in 1978 to the Times Higher Education Supplement as the deputy literary editor. She began freelance writing at the same time. Truss was Literary Editor of The Listener (1986ā€“90) and was an arts and books reviewer for The Independent on Sunday before joining The Times in 1991, where first she spent six years writing television criticism, illustrated by John Minnion, followed by four years as a sports columnist. She won Columnist of the Year for her work for Woman's Journal. She now reviews books for The Sunday Times. Her book Eats, Shoots & Leaves (November 2003), about the misuse of punctuation, became a bestseller in both Britain and the United States. The book's declaration for a "Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation" is considered a rallying call for punctuation "sticklers" of the world. In 2005 she released a book on rudeness titled Talk to the Hand: the utter bloody rudeness of the world today (or six good reasons to stay home and bolt the door).

She is the author of three novels and numerous radio comedy dramas, including the Radio 4 comedy series Acropolis Now, and is a familiar voice on BBC Radio 4. Truss also hosted Cutting a Dash, a popular BBC Radio 4 series about punctuation and frequently delivered humorous monologues in the Fourth Column series. Her 2002/5 radio monologues for actors A Certain Age were collected for publication as a book in 2007. Also in 2007 Radio 4 broadcast her comic drama series Inspector Steine about an incompetent police officer in 1950s Brightonmarker. This was followed by The Casebook of Inspector Steine in 2008. Her latest book is "Get Her Off the Pitch!": how sport took over my life about her work as a sports reporter. This was serialised as a Book of the Week on Radio 4 during the week of 5 October 2009.

Cutting a Dash

Cutting a Dash was a popular BBC Radio 4 series about punctuation, hosted by Lynne Truss. It was the direct inspiration for Truss's bestselling book Eats, Shoots & Leaves.

It was a series of five fifteen-minute programmes, first broadcast in 2002:
  1. The Endangered Apostrophe: Is a misplaced apostrophe a catastrophe?
  2. Changing Gear, the Comma: "A little boomerang", the Ancient Greeks, legalese and the National Curriculum come under scrutiny.
  3. And Another Thing: Colons and Semicolons. George Bernard Shaw, Sir Compton Mackenzie and Fay Weldon debate the "limb" of punctuation.
  4. Listen to Me When I'm Writing: Jane Austen, inverted commas, and a man haunted by an exclamation mark.
  5. Punctuating the Future: Are the internet and e-mail influencing how we punctuate?

The series was re-broadcast on BBC 7, 8-12 January 2007.

Other activities

Lynne Truss is on the boards of Charleston Trust in East Sussex, the Julia Margaret Cameron Trust on the Isle of Wight and the Kraszna-Krausz Foundation. She is also patron of the Asham Trust in East Sussex and the Women's Refuge Project in Brighton.



  • With One Lousy Free Packet of Seed - Hamish Hamilton (1994) ISBN 0-241-13510-2; Penguin (1995) ISBN 0-14-017938-0; Profile Books (2004) ISBN 1-86197-749-2
  • Tennyson's Gift - Hamish Hamilton (1996) ISBN 0-241-13521-4; Penguin (1997) ISBN 0-14-024671-1; Profile Books (2004) ISBN 1-86197-733-6
  • Going Loco - Review (Hodder Headline) (1999) ISBN 0-7472-5965-8; Profile Books (2004) ISBN 1-86197-733-6
  • A Certain Age (BBC Audio Collection, 2 vols) - BBC Audiobooks (2005, 2007) ISBN 0-563-51052-8, 1-4056-7687-6
  • A Certain Age: twelve monologues from the classic radio series - Profile Books (2007) ISBN 1-86197-879-0


  • Making the Cat Laugh - Hamish Hamilton (1995) ISBN 0-241-13542-7; Penguin (1996) ISBN 0-14-026300-4; Profile Books (2004) ISBN 1-86197-754-9
  • Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation - Profile Books (2003) ISBN 1-86197-612-7
  • Talk to the Hand: The Utter Bloody Rudeness of Everyday Life (or Six Good Reasons to Stay Home and Bolt the Door) - Profile Books (2005) ISBN 1-86197-933-9
  • The Girl's Like Spaghetti: Why, You Can't Manage Without Apostrophes!, illustrated by Bonnie Timmons - Profile Books (2007) ISBN 1-86197-168-0
  • Twenty-Odd Ducks: Why, Every Punctuation Mark Counts!, Putnam Publishing Group (2008) ISBN 0399250581
  • Get Her Off the Pitch!: How Sport Took Over My Life, Fourth Estate Ltd (2009) ISBN 0-00730-574-5


  1. "The Tiffin Girls' School Prize Giving Thursday 21st September 2006"

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