16 Aug Punctuation in Blogs
Punctuation in Blogs
Just what is it about punctuation in blogs that gets us all on edge?
Start a conversation anywhere, with anyone, and happen to mention errant apostrophes or misplaced commas and the debate will soon get heated.
Yes, I know it’s not one of the most exciting parts of language, but it IS important. It’s another one of those basics that can make all the difference to any written work. Punctuation in blogs is meant to help the reader understand what has been written and so there will be poor understanding of a piece that has been poorly punctuated.
It’s so very easy to be misunderstood if you just rattle off a quick note. But why should anyone learn to add punctuation in blogs properly? Many people have no doubt had successful lives without ever having to learn where to put a comma or a colon. But is the way we do this personal? Does it really reflect your personality? Or your professionalism?
When we hold a conversation face to face with someone, we can stress certain words or phrases, use pauses, tone, facial expression and even body language to help express what we are saying. The telephone also allows us to pass on, via our voice, different moods and feelings. You also have the chance to reword anything that’s unclear.
When we want to write though, we can’t employ these natural devices and we now have the job of transposing all the work that they do in speech to the written word. Is punctuation up to the job?
Lynne Truss, the author of Eats, Shoots and Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation vehemently supports the notion that our use of correct grammar in general is in decline and has been for a while. She’s not the only one. The internet can easily provide information on disgruntled individuals (and groups) whose punctuation nightmares have inspired them to set up websites extolling correct usage of the humble apostrophe and its fellow dots and squiggles. (See, for example, The Apostrophe Protection Society).
Getting it right on the web
We’re all part of a powerful, technological revolution that has changed the way we communicate. With more and more of our activities being conducted via computers, whether it’s shopping or research, marketing or emailing, it’s more important than ever that we’re able to use language correctly. Everyone knows that the competition on the Web is fierce – you have to do everything you can to make sure that your site is the best it can be and that includes paying attention to the little things … like punctuation in blogs.
A website is a powerful tool for any business. It’s also the ‘face’ of that business. It sends out not only a message about what the business is all about, but about the people behind it, the motivation and inspiration they bring, the products and services they provide, the trust they are trying to instil and the effort that they put in to the ‘little things’ that really count.
Just think for a moment about the number of business emails you send out each week. Every single word you write is a reflection of your professionalism. The thing about email is that once you’ve hit that ‘Send’ button, you can’t change it, everything you’ve written is instantly transmitted and then stored somewhere – sometimes in several different places – forever. Scary thought, isn’t it?
You now probably communicate with your family and friends via email too, rather than by letters. And when you’re communicating via the Internet, you must be confident that your words won’t be misinterpreted, so you have to make sure that what you mean to write is what you do, in fact, write!
Ask yourself one question … would you buy from a website that had bad spelling or bad punctuation in blogs, and errors scattered among the various pages?
While we would all probably forgive the occasional typographical error sneaking in now and again, what is it that would cause us to go and look elsewhere? With a global audience, can a business that uses the internet as part of their marketing strategy, really accept that potential customers are thinking about walking away, simply because of poor use of an element of our language? (Oops, that seems to be three questions!)
Like it or loathe it, we are judged by where we place our commas and apostrophes, and businesses in particular, need to take note.
Adding the correct punctuation in blogs can really add an extra sense of professionalism to the shape of your company.