To Punctuate Or Not To Punctuate

Posted: August 26, 2015 in Articles
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These days, are you seeing the incorrect usage of punctuation more frequently?

I am, and this annoys me because the correct use of punctuation is fairly easy to learn. Admittedly, I do find plural possessives confusing, but that is the only thing I have ever had problems with. While I do make mistakes in grammar, punctuation, and spelling, I do not have the mindset of some people that ignoring punctuation and thinking it does not matter is just fine. It does matter.

If you use no punctuation, capitalization, or incorrect grammar in your writing, you only demonstrate ignorance to your audience. When I see writing that lacks everything that makes English the language that it is, I automatically assume that the writer is lazy or stupid, or both. It may just be me, because I am usually cynical, but it is so easy to put in a comma, period, or some other punctuation mark, that anyone who does not bother to do so has to be pretty lazy.

If you do use punctuation but use it incorrectly, then you are ignorant of the rules, but at least you are trying. Ultimately, how a person uses punctuation, capitalization, etc., says a lot about them, even if what it says to me turns out to be wrong.

A more important reason to use punctuation besides keeping up a good reputation, is to make your ideas clear to the reader. If you do not use punctuation, the reader could potentially be very confused. For instance, observe the following two sentences:

“Let’s eat, Grandma!”
“Let’s eat Grandma!”

Last but not least, punctuation lends your writing to particular inflections when you are reading out loud. You see a comma and so pause. An exclamation point tells you to put more excitement in your voice. With no punctuation, the reading becomes very boring, both out loud and in your head, although I would make the exception for excellent writers. Their choice of words and how they formulate phrases seems sufficient. But for the average bloke, you only need to add a few commas, exclamation marks, semi-colons, and other punctuation marks, and your writing will automatically become interesting, even if there is nothing else in it that makes it so.

The attitude some people have now that good English does not matter is wrong. Good English is very important. So if you do not understand correct punctuation, capitalization, and English in general, pay more attention at school or go to the library and check out a book on it! Also, try to remember that a smiley face is actually not a legitimate punctuation mark 🙂

Take the quiz yourself and see how you score (it’s very easy)!


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