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April 25, 2016 / catherinebwrites





You can get away with bad grammar when you’re talking face to face.   That’s because your listener has other clues to what you are saying.

There’s your tone of voice, your intonation, your facial expression, how you use your hands, how you sit…

A comment made in the right tone of voice, with the right facial expression, in the right company can be hilarious but, the same comment, written down, can seem downright insulting.  In order for your meaning to come across as you intended, you need to change how you write that comment.


When you write all you have is black marks on a white page.  And those marks can be seriously misunderstood. So, as well as choosing the most accurate words and getting your grammar correct, you need to punctuate accurately.

When we speak we give meaning to our words with emphasis, intonation and  pauses.   Speakers who lack that auditory punctuation sound  boring and difficult to follow.    When you depend on the bare words on the blank page punctuation becomes even more crucial.


Say this sentence out loud:  WHAT IS THIS THING CALLED LOVE?  

Repeat it several times.   Each time you repeat it, change your tone and put the emphasis on a different  word.   See how many different meanings you can get from that sentence.

How could you convey all of those meanings in writing?.

Punctuation…. that’s how…and even then some meanings can only be conveyed by describing the situation in which they are used.

Mostly you just need commas and fullstops.   Commas are for where you would naturally pause in speaking.   This is just one of the reasons it is useful to read what you write out loud.  Full stops are for when the thought is complete


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