Punctuation – love it or hate it, you can’t afford to ignore it.
But ignoring it is exactly what I find many people doing. Whether it’s too hard, too boring, or the result of our text-message-culture, accurate punctuation is dying.
Writing without punctuation creates chaos. I’m not saying that because I’m a stickler for the rules, but rather that I prefer the order good punctuation creates.
Punctuation is the traffic-cop on the street of comprehension – without it our writing ends up in a collision.
I’ll give you an example of the importance of punctuation to meaning.
She said I saved a fortune.
What does this mean? Who saved a fortune? Me? Or her? Try again with punctuation.
She said, “I saved a fortune.” OK, from that statement we can gather the sale was a good one and worth her while. But there could still be another meaning to this sentence.
“She,” said I, “saved a fortune.” Well now it becomes my opinion about how much was saved. She may refute my comment with fact, as I was not actually at the sale.
Commas and full-stops are the most frequently used punctuation marks. They control the speed of the traffic – the comma slows your writing down; the full-stop brings it to a halt.
Add in the humble apostrophe and quotation marks and you’re well on your way to meaningful writing.
When you’re hammering out your next email, take a moment to re-read it and make sure it conveys the message as you intended.
Punctuate or perish!