Writer? Then you’ll know Muphry’s Law

Nope, it’s not a typo. But if you’re somebody who writes for a living you’ll more than likely be well acquainted with Muphry’s Law. Earlier this week was the first time I’d heard about it, but I found myself chuckling inwardly and nodding my head sagely.

Muphry’s Law as defined by Wikipedia is:

…an adage that states that ‘if you write anything criticising editing or proofreading, there will be a fault of some kind in what you have written’. The name is a deliberate misspelling of ‘Murphy’s law’

The law states that:

(a) if you write anything criticising editing or proofreading, there will be a fault of some kind in what you have written; (b) if an author thanks you in a book for your editing or proofreading, there will be mistakes in the book; (c) the stronger the sentiment expressed in (a) and (b), the greater the fault; (d) any book devoted to editing or style will be internally inconsistent.

I know I’ve been there: that sinking feeling as you read the introduction email …

Read More

Book: ‘Eats, shoots and leaves’

I’m not one of those people who’s averse to using an exclamation mark. I also like commas, apostrophes and all the other types of punctuation. I don’t apologise if this sounds a bit geeky; I write for a living, so it’s right that I have an interest in how to use them to their best effect.

So, I’ve just started reading Lynne Truss‘s book, Eats, Shoots and Leaves (2003). It’s been on my mind to get hold of a copy for a little while, as it received quite a mixed reception when it was first published. Okay, it may not be for everyone, but I’m really enjoying it. The book’s a very interesting, curious account of modern-day applications of punctuation and where it all stemmed from.

It’s not an in-depth history of the development of each mark, but more of a cheerful narration on where many of them started and why they’re so necessary to our understanding of the written word. Leading on from that, the book also mentions how punctuation has contributed to different …

Read More