Anyone who wants to improve their writing skills has to understand and believe that punctuation is important. The biggest reason not to follow the rules of punctuation is that barely anyone else follows it. As long as you get your full stops (or periods) in, how does it matter whether you use a comma instead of a semicolon or place the full stop inside the close quotation marks or not. The answer is simple: Punctuation is an integral part of grammar and unlike what people refer to as writing style, grammar is an absolute science. Even one grammar mistake results in an incorrectly constructed sentence. In English writing, there is no such thing as a partially correct sentence and more often than not, punctuation is the cause of a grammatically incorrect sentence.
Writing Style Changed, Punctuation Did Not
The writing style is a fluid concept. What might have been considered well written a few decades ago is considered archaic today? Wordy sentences might have been poetic but today, they are considered clunky and cluttered. Through all the changes that writing English went through, grammar and punctuation held firm. The same rules of grammar apply now as they did back then. So no matter, how hard it might seem to keep up with what is considered good writing English, if you know the rules of grammar and especially the rules of punctuation, you are already off to a good start.
Punctuation Resources are Freely Available
Even if you are not inclined to admit that you need to buy a book to brush up on your punctuation skills, there are enough resources available on the Internet for that. At the very least, the Punctuation wiki is an extensive list of how-to’s and what-to-avoids and should be a definite starting point. Punctuation isn’t rocket science. You would really only need to read the rules once or twice before you understand the basic usage needs and after that practice is all you need. Every word processor today has a spelling and grammar check and punctuation checking is bread and butter for these software programmes. It’s a small part of your writing skill set and easy to master, you just really have to want to master it.
It’s Not Just the Full Stop and Capital Letters
English grammar mastery is an all-or-nothing deal. So even if you don’t know a single concept, your knowledge is incomplete. Don’t look at punctuation as just being the commas, full stops, exclamation points, question marks, and quotation signs, include capitalization and number agreement as well. Use the opportunity to study punctuation as a chance to brush up on other parts of grammar and their uses as well.
Take Pride in Being the Only One
Grammar isn’t about democracy and value judgment. Even if everyone else in your country is using punctuation incorrectly, even if you are the only one around who knows the rules of correct usage, so what? Just because a million people are not doing it does not mean you should not either. Writing better English does not come overnight; you have to build on each and every aspect of the language before you can truly master it. Punctuation is the smallest, and very honestly, the easiest of the blocks, there is no reason to avoid learning how to use punctuation correctly. For more go here…