My Rule For Grammar & Punctuation

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One of the challenges with blogging is grammar.

Grammar actually seems to be a challenge for all kinds of digital communication.

Have you ever quickly typed a text misusing there, their and they’re?

You’re pals probably jumped right on you.

Is anything more annoying?

You can rest assured, though, that the grammar police make themselves look worse than you.

Now I’m thinking back on the times when I’ve been the grammar police. I need to work on that…

Anyway, here is how I’ve approached grammar and punctuation over the years…

My Grammar Rule

If it looks good, do it.

That’s it.

Do you remember when people typed E-mail or e-mail? I think that’s still the correct version even now.

But how do most people type it now?

Email and email.

You know why?

Those newer versions look better.

We like things that look good.

People. Cars. Houses. Trees. Flowers. Clothes. Everything.

Those hyphens and dashes or whatever don’t really look good.

There’s another similar one that we’re working through right now: E-commerce.

The hyphen is the right way to type that word out, but the more you read online the more you see people using ecommerce and I think that’s great. Get rid of that hyphen. We don’t need it.

Use This Rule Everywhere

Ok, maybe not everywhere, but it’s generally a good rule to focus on what looks the best when writing.

Misspelling words is tricky. The reason is that if a word looks out of place it will make people stop and lose focus on your message.

That’s why it’s good to use the right words like in the case of there, their and they’re.

If you use the right one people don’t notice. They pay attention to your message. If you use the wrong word you’ll lose them.

Here’s another example that I’ve used for a long time. It’s using proper case in the title and headings in this blog post.

I’ve always thought that proper case was the best looking way to write a title or heading. Sometimes I’ll revert back to only using uppercase in the large or important words. And I get the logic behind that.

But to my eye it’s always looked the best to do it with all the words. Even ones like To, And, For and all those.

Final Thoughts

Our communication has changed over the years. I think we place a higher importance on speed than we do on making sure the words we type or write look good.

And maybe we’re becoming immune to certain things. Some of us can send a million texts back and forth all day. There are odd looking words and grammar in those texts. Probably quite a few. I know I have some friends that shorten just about every word. They never use a period. It takes me a minute to figure out what they’re saying and even them I’m guessing a lot of the time.

Check out these old love letters.

Just beautiful. Beautiful words. Lots of times beautiful handwriting. Maybe not the cleanest handwriting, but it’s legible and beautiful in unique, personal ways. It’s almost like there is a personality there.

People put a little more thought into their writings just a short time ago. And I’m not saying that we need to take a bunch of time to write texts, emails, tweets and things like that.

But it pays to practice writing and typing in ways that look good.

If you’re wondering about how to spell a word like email or ecommerce, go with the one that looks the best. Same with headings and things like that.

Short sentences are generally good too. Much better than reading long sentences. Short paragraphs are more appealing than big blocks of text.

It’s a good general rule. Obviously you can’t just misspell all kinds of words, but you can use this rule and trust that over time people gravitate toward what looks best.

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