Tuesday, December 1, 2009

The Importance of Punctuation by Shayna Fehr

Punctuation is one of the most important things to get right when you are writing. It is the markings a writer uses to convey their ideas with structure and clarity, without them a reader wouldn’t know where to take a pause while reading. Punctuation can also provide different meanings for the same words used in a sentence. Take this one for example, “Let’s eat cheese tomato sandwiches soup and cake.” This is certainly different than, “Let’s eat cheese, tomato sandwiches, soup, and cake.” In the first sentence, you couldn’t tell whether cheese and tomatoes were both in the sandwiches, or maybe the author meant cheese tomato sandwiches soup. For all the reader knew, this was a new soup out on the market; the name might have been unappealing, but it might indeed have been the name of a soup.

So now that we know punctuation can change the meaning of the words we use in a sentence, what about if a writer over punctuates his/her work? This is also a common grammatical error. When a writer uses too much punctuation it can make his/her writing choppy, and difficult to read. Here’s an example, “After all is said and done, grammar is important for writers to learn about, since it is, after all, necessary to write correctly.” Although this may not be technically wrong, it is unpleasant to read. This may be a better option, “After all is said and done, grammar is important for writers to learn about, since it is, after all necessary to write correctly.” Taking out one of the commas makes it easier to read; therefore, making it more effective. You can take a test here to identify how well you know how to use commas.

Andrew Heck made an excellent comment in this post. He mentioned that writers often get a sudden surge of creativity, and during that surge, very little thought is taken to ensure grammatical correctness. Although this is understandable, one must take the time to go back and study his/her work for errors. The minutes of concentration this might take are worth the end result – a clean, sound piece of writing.

1 comment:

  1. Learning to punctuate is important and one of the reasons I signed up for this class. I also think writers need to just write so that they can get their creative juices flowing, but once they are done writing they need to go back and edit.