Why Punctuation Matters In Love And Legalese

Why Punctuation Matters In Love And Legalese

Good writing begins and (literally) ends with punctuation. In this post we show you why punctuation matters in love and legalese.

How often do you come across badly punctuated emails, advertisements, and billboards? I stop taking the company seriously as soon as I see this. I question everything about them from that moment on.

Why Punctuation Matters In Love And Legalese

Lynne Truss says ‘Punctuation marks are the traffic signals of language: they tell us to slow down, notice this, take a detour, and stop.’ They tell us to pay attention when we read. Punctuation helps us to communicate clearly.

A lack, or an overuse, of punctuation can alter the meaning of your words. It can also result in ambiguity. Ambiguous sentences are difficult to understand and can result in miscommunication or losing money.

Two Letters

Look at these two letters. Each contains the same words in the same order. However, each letter has been differently punctuated. How does this alter their meaning? (Source: Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation by Lynne Truss)

Example One

Example Two

The first is a love letter. The second is one step away from obtaining a restraining order.

In another instance, a company in Canada lost one million dollars because of a misplaced comma. If you want to make sure you are not misunderstood when you write, learn how to punctuate properly.

If you want to know more about punctuation, read: Punctuation For Beginners: What Is Punctuation?

by Amanda Patterson

© Amanda Patterson
If you enjoyed this article, read these posts:
  1. Transitional Words and Phrases – Three reasons to use them
  2. The 12 Worst Mistakes People Make In Email Subject Lines
  3. Begin at the end – the one essential email trick every business writer should know
  4. Punctuation For Beginners: What Is Punctuation?
Posted on: 7th October 2014
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