Commas count!

Written by: Penny Cooke | Posted on: | Category:

I confess, I’m a bit of a pedant when it comes to the English language, and especially the way it’s written. I really do not like at all the use of text speak – and especially so seeing it creep over into written language in general. Gr8 2 C U. It takes me longer to decipher that than it takes me to write it in full – Great to see you. I know at least one other person (I so hope I’m wrong there) that uses punctuation and the correct spelling of words in text messages. Are punctuation and spelling still important, especially with emails being dashed off on smartphones or tablets? Or are they an unnecessary complication, and no longer need to be taught in schools?

The short answer – Yes, it does!

The long answer is rather longer.

Technology is great, isn’t it? But it can make us look idiots sometimes. Spell (& grammar) checker is brilliant. I use it on almost every document. But it doesn’t always pick up that the wrong version of a word has been used. Take that last sentence. Been and Bean are both spelled correctly. Would spell check pick that up? Yes, but only if you’ve enabled the tool to check for grammar, too. Not all of us do that.

When you’re limited to the number of keystrokes online (Twitter comes to mind, as does LinkedIn) some punctuation has to be sacrificed. But really, people, commas do count. Take the following:

I love baking my family and my friends. Hmm. Do they enjoy being beaten, whipped, stuffed in the oven? Perhaps what you really mean is “I love baking, my family, and my friends”.

We’re going to learn to cut and paste kids! That sounds rather worrying. But “We’re going to learn to cut and paste, kids!” is a little less so.

I’m not sure I’d want an invitation to supper if I knew this: “Let’s eat grandpa”. “Let’s eat, grandpa” is a little less cannibalistic.

So, as you can see, the humble comma makes a huge difference. As does its close friend, the apostrophe.

The “grocer’s apostrophe” is well-known, of course: “Carrot's”, “Banana's” and “tomato’s”. And let’s not forget its equally well-known cousin, the “restaurant apostrophe” where you’ll find these on the menu: “pizza's”, “soup & salad's” and “ lunch special's”.

I told you I was a pedant! Punctuation makes a huge difference. It is, perhaps, the difference between knowing your cr@p and knowing you’re cr@p!

Do you struggle with punctuation or with spelling and grammar?

You know what you should do, right?

Give me a call. See what I can do for you – help you focus on what you do best, and leave the rest to me.

Image by Peggy und Marco Lachmann-Anke / Pixabay

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