When it comes to effective communication, punctuation matters. Full stop.
A misplaced comma or ill-judged exclamation mark can undo hours of hard work. At best, it’s distracting – ruining the flow of a sentence and leaving the reader thinking about how it should look rather than the content that’s in it. It’s a bit like watching the news and noticing that the newsreader has a piece of hair sticking up; you want to listen to the message but you just can’t focus on it.
At worst, you run the risk of becoming a viral sensation. We’ve all seen those tweets that show signs or shopfronts advertising a very different message to the one they intended to get across.
Nothing makes people feel as smug as spotting an error by companies that should know better. This article shows several big brands making simple mistakes that have left them open to ridicule.
24 September 2018 is National Punctuation Day, where grammar geeks of the world unite in an annual global celebration of the importance of punctuation. It’s a great chance to laugh at the unfortunate mistakes of others but there’s also no better time to think about reviewing your own communications for erroneous ellipses or additional apostrophes.
Some of the most common punctuation mistakes include:
- Excessive, use, of commas
- Unnecessary splitting: of sentences: with colons
- Too many exclamation marks!!!
- Long complicated sentences that go on and on and don’t ever seem to end because no one has taken a breath and put a full stop or a comma in them anywhere.
- Confusion over apostrophes (or is it apostrophe’s or apostrophes’?)
Many people fear punctuation because they are terrified of deviating from the strict rules they were taught at school, but punctuation doesn’t have to be serious. There will always be those who don’t believe we should stray away from convention, but the wealth of new forms of communication that have emerged over the past few decades have meant a more relaxed approach has crept in. Heard of the interrobang anyone?
Ultimately, it’s about finding what works for you – whether that’s academic documents with Oxford commas (don’t even get us started on that debate) or tweets with an expertly-placed exclamation mark. Social media may not be as strict but, with limited space to play with, every character counts, and a firm grip on punctuation can make the difference between a tweet that hits the target and one that disappears without trace.
If grammar isn’t your strong point and you’d like our team to cast their expert eyes over your brochure, report, article or blog post, contact us today.