A panda walks into a bar. He orders a sandwich, eats it, then draws a gun and fires two shots in the air.
“Why? Why are you behaving in this strange, un-panda-like fashion?” asks the confused waiter, as the panda walks towards the exit. The panda produces a badly punctuated wildlife manual and tosses it over his shoulder.
“I’m a panda,” he says, at the door. “Look it up.”
The waiter turns to the relevant entry and, sure enough, finds an explanation.
“Panda. Large black-and-white bear-like mammal, native to China. Eats, shoots and leaves.”
For those of you who didn’t get the joke, the essence of the joke lies in the comma after Eats in “Eats, shoots and leaves.” This single comma changes the meaning of the whole phrase. Shoots now takes on the sinister form of shooting, and therefore the reference to eating, shooting( bullets) and leaving. If it had been punctuated correctly, It would have read “Eats shoots and leaves”! As in Eating (bamboo) shoots and leaving.
Author Lynne Truss has selected this phrase as the title of her book on punctuation. I highly recommend this book coz it’s a fun approach to punctuation and there is a lot of humour in it.