With the widespread use of texts, social media posts, and emails today, language usage is transforming. These types of communication tools encourage people to shorten phrases to acronyms, abbreviate words in new ways, and limit or even omit punctuation. While this saves keyboard strokes and character usage, it can end up causing embarrassing communication errors.

Punctuation Can Give Words New Meaning

Although it’s not a big deal to remove a period or shorten a word in order to save a character or two, other punctuation errors can end up being very meaningful; even on social media sites where proper grammar isn’t generally expected. The image here clearly illustrates this point. As you can see by this example, the same words used in the same order mean two very different things when punctuated differently! This reality can sneak up on the unaware and give the words you use new, unexpected meanings you weren’t intending.

Improper Punctuation May Misrepresent You, or Worse

When you use improper punctuation your reader could misunderstand you and end up viewing you in an entirely different way than you ever intended.

With all of this texting, blogging, posting, and emailing going on today, more people are communicating through the written word than ever before. This is exciting to be sure, however, your words now represent you in these mediums. People create an image of you while they’re reading your status updates and messages. When you use improper punctuation your reader could misunderstand you and end up viewing you in an entirely different way than you ever intended.

Not only that, you’ll appear uneducated and unprofessional. While this may be no big deal when communicating with a friend or family member, if a prospective employer or significant other reads your content, it may end up being more of an issue than you could imagine. Plus, unlike face to face meetings, because you’re not generally present when others are reading your writing, you can’t correct yourself and, as a result, your error could cause irreparable damage.

Punctuation Affects Translations Too

Using proper punctuation is of the utmost importance when you’re writing material that will be translated as well. If we use the example in the image again the phrase “A woman, without her man, is nothing.” may be translated in some languages with “her man” being the equivalent of “boyfriend” or “husband”. Whereas the other statement “A woman: without her, man is nothing.” will be translated differently using a word for “man” in the language that means something similar to the human race as opposed to a type of partner.

Proper punctuation is simply a must, for clear communication. To help you use proper punctuation in your writing, stay educated by reading professionally written material, and always proofread your own content, even your texts. Then, after that, double check your content again before you post it! Last but definitely not least, if you need your content translated, be sure to choose a translation company, like ITC Global Translations, that understands the significance of clear communication, including punctuation. Your message is important and it will only be clear if it’s written, and translated correctly. Our network of specialized translators and dedicated linguists can ensure all of your content means exactly what you want it to in every language.

 

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