Can punctuation change your business?
Posted: May 31st 2016
A panda walks into a café. He orders a sandwich, eats it, then draws a gun and proceeds to fire it at the other patrons.
"Why?" asks the confused, surviving waiter amidst the carnage, as the panda makes towards the exit. The panda produces a badly-punctuated wildlife manual and tosses it over his shoulder.
"Well, I'm a panda," he says. "Look it up."
The waiter turns to the relevant entry in the manual and, sure enough, finds an explanation: “Panda. Large black-and-white bear-like mammal, native to China. Eats, shoots and leaves."
It might be an oldie but this joke, relating to the title of a Lynne Truss book about the rules of punctuation, is the perfect example of how the slightest alteration can make the world of difference to the meaning of a phrase.
To be a successful business, you need to sell your services professionally and always be clear on what you want to say. If your grammar and punctuation is inconsistent, it could easily be misleading to your website visitors, so taking the time to check over your content – including blogs and social media posts – could be vitally worthwhile in the long-run.
Of course, we’re all human and we do make mistakes. You’re not expected to write perfectly all the time, because even the most careful and attentive writers will have slip-ups every now and then. If you try your best to minimalize these mistakes, though, your business will most certainly feel the benefit.
Imagine your target audience stood in front of you. The likelihood is, there will be someone who is a grammatical perfectionist among that crowd of people you are trying to please – perhaps there’s a professor, an author, a journalist or a librarian. How many would turn away should they go on your website and read something poorly written?
To many people, incorrect punctuation and grammar wouldn’t be a problem; but to some, immaculate grammar and punctuation represents the utmost professionalism and reliability in a company, and on that note you’ve got to ask yourself: are those people customers that you can afford to lose?
Here are a few more light-hearted examples of why punctuation really matters: