Is Correct Grammar and Punctuation Important?

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Is Correct Grammar and Punctuation Important?

I've always struggled with this one. Surely it doesn't matter how you get your message across as long as you get it across. But then following the rules of grammar and punctuation is an aide to getting the message across.

I think it is good idea to excert yourself by trying out some correct grammar and punctuation. Shows you've really tried to make a piece in english. Even if it is a bit tricky I like making the effort. I tell myself it makes for an easier read. That way the message is more accessible and served on a silver platter for the readers, methinks...
No, it does matter unless there's a special point to it, like speaking in all street lingo or something. the point get quickly get lost if someone is constantly checking in the head all of your mistakes. and I for one, find myself noticing them and slowly I stop reading the piece because of the mistakes. It would have to be really exceptional for me to read past them. and how many exceptional writers do you know that can't get their grammar right? or at least have an editor who wants to do all that extra work for you.

Nicholas Schoonbeck

For the sake of those few people who would notice or care? I know that the pedants are in a minority otherwise they wouldn't be so constantly outraged and annoyed by how many people fail to follow their language trends correctly. One of the truly beautiful things about the English language is its lack of rigidity. It is constantly in a state of flux. New words are constantly being created and old words are dying out or evolving. It is a living language. The current rules of English punctuation are as much a trend as txt speak. English literature existed before them and it will exist when they have gone out of style. If anything, I think its the duty of anyone with an ounce of soul to reject this form of standardizing written English. It is nothing more than the Recieved Pronounciation of the written word and does nothing but stifle individual creativity. JoHn
sure you could look at it like you're the great rebel leader against the english language. or you could follow a few simple rules and makes sure everyone can read along with you.

Nicholas Schoonbeck

dear cormacru it is a fallacy that an unpunctuated piece of writing is so difficult to read or understand Robert Burns was a big rebel leader against the English language and yet people love him for it but some irrational langwij prejudices are harder to shift. JoHn
Besides which. I'm not against the English language. I love it deeply and, as the saying goes, if you love something, set it free. JoHn
just because you disagree doesn't make it wrong, it just means that you disagree. I'm still right for me and others like me. and like I said, if its really good, I'll look past it. but most people that write sloppy, are sloppy writers too. Its best to show you actually care enough to do it the way most people care to see it done.

Nicholas Schoonbeck

sure you could look at it like you're the great rebel leader against the english language. or you could follow a few simple rules and makes sure everyone can read along with you - cormacru999 ^So that's what I should do. Thanks for telling me whats right and wrong. just because you disagree doesn't make it wrong, it just means that you disagree. I'm still right for me and others like me. and like I said, if its really good, I'll look past it. but most people that write sloppy, are sloppy writers too. Its best to show you actually care enough to do it the way most people care to see it done - cormacru999 Freedom of choice is precisely what I have been advocating. But anyway, Time will have the final word. Not me or you. It'll be interesting to find out if our current rules of punctuation stand the test of time. JoHn
Did you think I forgot what I wrote? I think that you're somehow upset by me just telling you I have a different opinion. I think you should follow those simple rules of writing if you expect to be understood. I didn't say it was right or wrong do follow your own assumption about what people will read. I write the way that seem right to me and no one has ever told me that I need to change the way I do it because its difficult to read. but maybe your experience has been breaking all those rules and no one has ever told you that they have trouble reading what you write. maybe that's just how its been for both of us. this isn't an argument, its juts me saying I think that if you expect to be read by most people, you should follow the rules that have been chosen by so many people before you, unless, A - there is a specific reason and it makes sense to your writing, or B - because you think you're leading the revolution against those rules and so you choose not to use them to kick the system. by all means write however you like and feel however you feel about it. but you don't need to tell me that my thoughts on such things are fallacy as though you're the sole decider of such an argument. its just your opinion. you stated it and I disagree with you. and that ok, you don't need to get so worked up about it.

Nicholas Schoonbeck

but you don't need to tell me that my thoughts on such things are fallacy--- cormacru999 You have just proven that your thoughts on such things are a fallacy. The sentence you are referring to* was deliberately left without any punctuation or even any capital letters and yet you seem to have had no trouble at all in understanding it. *dear cormacru it is a fallacy that an unpunctuated piece of writing is so difficult to read or understand JoHn
But I never said that. you're just mad because this is such a big deal to you, to be the one that breaks the rules, the one who leads the way to not follow something that you simply struggle with. this isn't my writing, this is a forum conversation. I'm not following certain rules here because I don't consider this a representation of my work, this is just me talking to you. but this is obviously an important issue for you, you even mention it in your 'about me'. I'm sorry that my joke strikes such a chord in you that made you really need to get your point across, but it was really just a joke. I didn't realize that the issue was that important to you, otherwise I wouldn't have said anything. its interesting though to see how you react, looking past what I'm actually saying and deciding that it means something else. humans are such interesting creatures. but silly.

Nicholas Schoonbeck

This issue is really tricky. I could not believe writers could actually begin sentences with AND and end with IT. My English high school teacher had a fetish about absolutely correct grammar and almost drove me to quit writing. When I write I simply allow my words to take on a voice of their own. Best wishes to everyone else. Richard LP
Richard L. Provencher
Hi All :) I agree with you Richard :) I think it can become tricky. and I really agree on allowing writers words take a voice of their own. Afer all Guys&girls Everyone is different with how they think,feel and write and yes it helps if what a writer puts down is easier too read, however what may seem not readable too some can be easy too read for others!! While I am a novice at writing and are aware no where near the brilliance of many on here and have not been published or have an editor too proof read my work I do not let punctuation or anything else bother me,but I always hope my work is understood which is more important too me than where the full stops e.t.c should be. But like Richard said best wishes too writers who like doing things there way whether or not seemed too be following correct English language. Keep Writing Keep Smiling :)

smiley Keep Smiling

Keep Writing xxx

Think there is merit in both arguments. I only throw punctuation in when I think it's absolutely necessary, and sometimes am aware my grammar has been tortured to make a rhyme or a meter work. As a teenager,I was inspired by ee cummings. Was amazed an adult and a poet would completely ignore capitalization, thought that was great fun.I still think it's fun to play with language but keep it within my own accepted boundaries. As PrettyRose said, what ever works for you. I am really grateful for spell check programs, though! My spelling's not too bad but my typing is suspect!


Just read "eats shoots and leaves". I forget the name of the authoress but a quick Google will soon sort that out. This book should prove to one and all the importance of punctuation!
Geoffrey - Lynne Truss! Well-wisher - Robbie Burns was consistent within his own chose dialect though, right? Unpunctuated text isn't necessarily harder to read, but it can be entirely ambiguous to the point of being worthless without a few commas and periods. Also, do you really want to let the majority decide things instead of an informed (if outraged) minority? I, personally, am terrified the lowest common denominators will one day decide matters of taste! Cormac - I completely take your point, and as a general rule agree. I think what Well-Wisher is driving at, though, is that the great achievements come from using the rules as a starting point on a journey, and then moving away from it. He is also right; Time and Providence will be the final judges and the rules of punctuation will continue to evolve as they have since their inception back in the caves. Everyone - At the risk of being an infernal solicitor (geddit?) there are other angles on this issue. From the critical/editorial perspective (my day job) the key thing is to be consistent. By all means write in txt speak or vernacular, as long as you don't slip in the occasional mate instead of m8. Irvine Welsh is a prime example of how to do this. This, of course, is a cunningly crafted liberal-cop-out, but it's also true. Re the heavy/light/accurate use of grammar, it depends entirely what you want to do with it. Henry James wrote monstrous constructions where you get wrapped up in each subsequent subordinate clause until you're well and truly in his web - good for ghost stories. Hemingway cut out the fat so you'd get this direct and taut style. i.e. You don't use a chisel to build a wall!
If I may be so bold as to chuck in my Scottish Pound Note's worth; still legal tender but more archaic than the language of Billy Shakespeare. (is archaic the correct word in this instance? is that correct usage of a semi-colon? should I be employing capitals to start each sentence while in these brackets?) (To be honest, I don't really know.) So, is/are correct punctuation and grammar important? I say yes...and eh, no. Eats Shoots and Leaves is a wonderfully humorous book which, if I remember correctly, having lost my copy a long time ago, sums up the importance of punctuation by how a simple comma changes everything in the title. I still love that image of a giant panda eating, shooting and then leaving. (Have I used commas correctly here?) FTSE's examples above regarding Bwian also highlight how even a simple four word sentence can be manipulated into something sinister. (Okay, so it wasn't actually sinister, but seeing as I'm having trouble thinking of new ideas for stories this is as close to creative writing as I'm likely to get today.) Jeezo, look how much I've written/wrote and I'm not even started on my hypothesis yet, so I'll save us all from wasting any more precious daylight and head straight to my conclusions. If you want to make it in the world of publishing you are going to have to learn all the rules and then break them if you feel it adds a certain je ne sais quoi to your work. If you have a story to be told but aren't too sure about any of the rules don't let that put you off. Some of the best little pieces of work I've read were in a collection of life and creative writing from Glasgow's East End where all the contributors were from adult literacy classes. As I mentioned Lynne Truss and FTSE earlier as examples of how important punctuation are, allow me to finish with an example of where no punctuation also works extremely well. Well, I better rush now as I'm going to be late for an appointment. Proof indeed that my punctuality is as bad as my punctuation.
I agree with Well Wisher in the sense that, Yes... The English language is not so constrained that you can not play with words , and even create new ones. I have done it on more than one occasion. BUT ! I do not contort words, or create new ones to the point of them being unrecognizable. I also will say I abhor "text" language ( as in what they do on phones, and chat rooms ) in poetry, and writing. It is fine for the mediums it was created for. But all it shows me in a piece of literary writing is that you are lazy. Now... Punctuation lol The poets that come to mind concerning this are e e cummings, and to a lesser affect William Burroughs and yes, they could do it with ease, and still create an understandable sentence. I do not know how any one else sees it, but for me, Mr. cummings, and Mr. Burroughs were Harvard trained writers. I am not. So, until I obtain that kind of intense, and encompassing understanding of the English language ? I will keep my period, commas, and such.
I'm glad to see so many other people chime in! I learned that I still love a good debate as much as I ever did. I read a lot of valid point and it seems the crowd really feels strongly about this subject. excellent question. I look forward to more.

Nicholas Schoonbeck

"I'm sure Editors out in the commercial world are far less forgiving. So it depends on the market you're aiming for. (Or 'the market for which you are aiming' - is that better?)" They are not forgiving at all. When I first started out, everything had to be pin point, and on the money. The writer's opinion of these things were irrelevant. That person reading your work, and passing it on, or deciding whether or not you would "join the club" ? Their opinions are HIGHLY relevant.
Of course it's important, without rules there'd be no rules to break. No fun.


I like self-referential statements. And potato peelings.
I think Gramma is important, especially to my Grampa. Sorry.
Yes, yes it is. Well, the Grammar Nazis certainly think so: Magic xxx


Anonymous's picture
Christine Stop kidding yourself. Of course punctuation etc matters. Especially if you are in to gender politics. A woman, without her, man is nothing. A woman without her man, is nothing.
I refer you to this story from a new member: It kind of says it all.
Cormsc mcarthys the roamed is one of the finest literary works I've ever read and he plays heavily with punc rules. But you understand what he says. If you're that good feel free to experiment. If not, keep the eye sores away

Give me the beat boys and free my soul! I wanna getta lost in ya rock n' roll and drift away. Drift away...

The Road? Yes, I had nightmares for weeks. Is he a yank?


new TheShyAssassin I know where you can find many posts that will answer your (original) question for you. new TheShyAssassin Have you got it yet?
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