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  1. #1
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    Default A sentence in the book "Eat, Shoots&Leaves"

    "Naturally we become timid about making our insights known, in such inhospitable conditions. Being burned as a witch is not safely enough off the agenda. A sign has gone up in a local charity shop window........."

    quoted "Eat, Shoots&Leaves" introduction P.7

    "Being burned as a witch is not safely enough off the agenda." I don't understand this sentence, is it figurative? Thanks~

  2. #2
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    Default Re: A sentence in the book "Eat, Shoots&Leaves"

    Eat, shoots and leaves

    This is a reference to a joke.

    A panda, or such an animal, was sent to the zoo. To let visitors know what food it eats, the guards wrote: "Eat shoots and leaves (of tree). Later on, they found that the panda has escaped having killed many people because it understood it as: "eat then shoots (people) then leaves (i.e. leave the place)"

    As for the burned witch, I am not sure.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: A sentence in the book "Eat, Shoots&Leaves"

    We are timid about making our powers of good grammar and proper punctuation too obvious, in case others, indifferent, or worse, perhaps openly hostile if these shortcomings are pointed out, might retaliate in some way. Imagine a Christian standing on a soapbox in Iran Square, downtown Teheran, and ever so nicely pointing out that perhaps they should have another look at the Bible and another think about that Koran bizzo.

    In Western society, as a stickler for punctuation in a society that cares less and less about such things, you may not be regarded as a heretic...but how hostile a reception might you receive for being such a stickler and taking others to task...are you absolutely sure than the laws relating to burning witches have been stricken from the books?...can you be sure you won't be burned at the stake?

  4. #4
    susiedqq is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: A sentence in the book "Eat, Shoots&Leaves"

    Also a title of a recent book:

    Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation, Truss, Lynne Truss, Hardcover, Book, ISBN: 1592400876, Writing, English Language ...

  5. #5
    Anglika is offline No Longer With Us
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    Default Re: A sentence in the book "Eat, Shoots&Leaves"

    Quote Originally Posted by redgiant View Post
    "Naturally we become timid about making our insights known, in such inhospitable conditions. Being burned as a witch is not safely enough off the agenda. A sign has gone up in a local charity shop window........."

    quoted "Eat, Shoots&Leaves" introduction P.7

    "Being burned as a witch is not safely enough off the agenda." I don't understand this sentence, is it figurative? Thanks~
    Yes. She is saying that if people do not agree with our point of view, they can be aggressive in their reactions - much like those who burned witches.

  6. #6
    susiedqq is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: A sentence in the book "Eat, Shoots&Leaves"


    "Being burned as a witch (an old way of getting rid of people who act differntly - they were called witches and burned)

    is not safely enough ( is still not that far from)


    off the agenda (being out of style)

  7. #7
    riverkid is offline Banned
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    Default Re: A sentence in the book "Eat, Shoots&Leaves"

    I wonder why it is that all prescriptivists are so timid. It does seem odd that asking for some measure of proof might be considered "retaliation". And why should anyone be timid about defending what are obviously, rules handed down from on high?

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