Have you ever read a story filled with spelling, punctuation, and grammar errors? Do you remember the content of that story or do you remember how difficult it was to read as you tried to translate the meaning? I’m willing to bet that you can recall the errors more so than the characters and the plot.
Why is that? It’s because the errors are a distraction. As readers, we begin to focus on them rather than the story itself which is never good.
Stories free of grammar and punctuation errors matter for a variety of reasons.
- We want readers to focus on our storytelling, not our errors. You focus your readers’ attention on what you WANT them to focus on, not your careless errors.
- No errors lead to clear writing, communication, and storytelling. Your story will make much more sense if its written with correct grammar and punctuation.
- We establish ourselves as writers with credibility who have mastery over our craft. If you want to be a writer, you need to know all those pesky rules, just as an engineer needs to know all that math. Like it or not, it’s part of the job description.
A writer who submits a grammatically “clean” story also shows that they have the patience necessary to revise over and over. It’s hard work proofreading a piece regardless of how long it is. As we search for those errors, we also are able to refine and revise all of our language leading to better overall writing. It’s well worth the effort.
There are a couple of great online resources if you need to brush up on these skills. The first is the Grammar Girl. This is a project started by a woman named Mignon Fogarty. She’s also got a great podcast if you’d prefer to listen to quick little grammar tips. Her explanations are clear and get right to the point.
My second recommendation is the Purdue University site, OWL, which stands for Online Writing Lab. They have sections on research, grammar, mechanics, and punctuation.
Do you think proofreading is important or do you think its a total waste of time? Go to the comments below and share them. We’d love to hear your thoughts.