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Does grammar, spelling and punctuation really matter?

Updated: May 11

In a world of text speak and emoticons, does correct punctuation, spelling and grammar really matter? Lynne Truss, writer of Eats, Shoots and Leaves thinks so.

The title comes from a joke in which a panda enters a bar, eats a sandwich and then shoots a gun into the air. When the barman asks him what he’s doing, he throws down a book and growls: ‘This is a badly punctuated wildlife manual. Look me up.’ The barman opens the book, and under ‘PANDA’ it reads: ‘Large, black-and-white, bear-like mammal native to China. Eats, shoots and leaves.’

Reasons grammar, punctuation and spelling matter

Reason 1:

Incorrect punctuation, grammar or spelling can give the wrong message entirely. If you want to while away a few hours you’ll find the internet is burning with brilliant examples.

The moral of the story? If you make a mistake, your audience will focus on that and will be distracted away from your important message.

Reason 2:

You are judged on your prowess with the English language. It might not be fair but people could think that you lack attention to detail, don’t care about your subject matter or lack expertise. When it comes to marketing and company image it’s vital to get it right.

Reason 3:

Studies have shown that mistakes cost money. Grammar, spelling and punctuation errors reduce credibility and customer confidence in a business which damages the bottom line.

Common mistakes and how to avoid them

does grammar really matter

Can bad grammar ever be good?

Grammar really does matter but the answer to this question is yes.

When it comes to writing creative copy sometimes it’s good to break grammar, punctuation and spelling rules. It’s about knowing when it’s appropriate to break rules and when it’s important to stick to them.

Remember the ‘Got Milk?’ campaign? It would be more correct to say: ‘Do you have any milk?’ but that’s dry and boring. ‘Got Milk?’ is catchy, memorable and achieves its aim – selling more milk.

As Pablo Picasso said: ‘Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist.’

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