Poor spelling and absent punctuation may be acceptable in text messages and Tweets, where space and time are limited, but in business, education, the workplace and virtually any professional setting, communicating correctly is essential. Proper spelling, grammar and punctuation demonstrate a writer’s credibility, attention to detail and knowledge of a subject.
In spite of the technologies that drive today’s world, writing is still the most popular and effective way we communicate with each other. No one uses Twitter to conduct job interviews or Facebook to apply for a grant.
A poorly written cover letter could cost a candidate a plum job. In the example below, a forgotten comma could mean the difference between eating a meal with family members and eating family members:
“Let’s eat, kids.”
“Let’s eat kids.”
Where I live, road construction has been going on for a number of months. There is a road sign that reads, “Slow construction ahead.” Indeed, construction has been very slow and even quite frustrating, but I think the intended goal of the sign is to slow down passing motorists. A simple comma would yield the appropriate warning: “Slow, construction ahead.”
I have a challenge for our alumni: If you can find a spelling, grammar or punctuation mistake in this issue, I’ll buy you a steak dinner. Of course, if you don’t eat steak, any other meat or poultry, then vegetarian fare is just fine. (Note how the commas in the preceding sentence help to clarify its meaning.)
Now go forth (not fourth) and test your (not you’re) skill. If you find a mistake, email me at Jeff.Norris@kpu.ca.