Friday, December 4, 2009

Mechanics and Punctuation, Jennifer Kerr

In our third class (September 28), we reviewed mechanics. The proper use of capital letters and punctuation marks is absolutely vital in any form of writing. Without the correct placement of commas, periods and other punctuation, any sentence can lose its intended meaning. These punctuation rules exist for a straightforward reason; they give readers clues as to the relationship between sentences, phrases and clauses. The EduFind website provides a good overview of punctuation in its many forms.

When a person is speaking out loud, he or she pauses in certain places, or adds a different inflection to their words to better convey their intended meaning. In writing, the only way to convey these patterns of speech is through punctuation. A misplaced comma or semicolon can completely change the way a reader perceives a sentence. This is a problem that many people who doubt the importance of grammar do not recognise.

Many people see grammar as an oppressive force which tries to dictate what they are saying, when in reality the rules of punctuation and grammar exist to make written language diverse and understandable. With full knowledge of grammar, a writer can convey his or her thoughts in much more concise and clear way than a writer who knows less about it can.

In Andrew Heck’s “Grammar Detective” post, he included a link to a website showing pictures of signs where mistakes had been made in translating other languages into English. Translation of one language to another can result in the original meaning being lost without full understanding of the second language; the translation of spoken word into written word can result in the same thing if the rules of grammar, mechanics and spelling are not understood.

1 comment:

  1. This is a good post about the importance of proper punctuation and grammar. As I was reading, I was slightly nodding my head in agreement. Until, that is, I found a pronoun/antecedent that were not in agreement! In your third paragraph you wrote "a writer can convey their thoughts," it should be changed to "writers can convey their thoughts," so the pronoun/antecedent agree in number.