Language is dynamic, whether we like it or not. Recently I wrote an article with a sub-title Chillaxin with the Big Dogs. When I was younger, I would have had a twitching eye and levels of stress that were off the charts if I even considered using a word like ‘chillax.’ When I was younger, I loved diagramming sentences. The way the words, or parts of speech, fit together into meaningful sentences was – and still is to me – as beautiful as a symphony by Wagner or a mural by Michelangelo.
We've all seen certain words misused. We are used to being reminded of the problems so many folks have with words like 'their,' 'there,' and 'they're,' as well as 'wear' and 'where.'
Incorrect punctuation not only changes the meaning of your writing, but it can also cause your reader to lose focus on what you are saying. Instead, readers will start thinking about how you are saying it and why it sounds to them. They won't get you meaning, and they may not reply to your key points. Punctuation matters!
Writing today is more important than ever, but it seems we have become lazy. A recent survey by Netcraft's claims there are over 644 million active websites on the Internet, and almost every one of those would be filled with the written word.
One of the most common problems in business writing today is getting the comma in the right place. I see so many commas where there should really be full-stops.
Back in the 80s, Boy George and Culture Club had a song with a first line that I always thought sounded like, “Comma, comma, comma, comma, comma chameleon…” I thought that was a terrific first line because commas sometimes act like punctuation chameleons.
Have you ever wondered where all the rules out there governing grammar, punctuation, spelling, and so on come from? Is there really a dictator called the Grammar Ninja hiding in a cave or bunker somewhere, thinking up evil ways to make your writing ‘wrong?’ Is he or she inventing new words to make your life miserable?