Why It Matters: Grammar Essentials

Why care about proper punctuation?

Photo of a small cafe with a banner that reads,"Enjoy Christmas with us. Bookings been taken now."

Figure 1. Can you spot the error in this sign?

Writers and their readers are in a relationship. Writers want to convey their ideas. Readers want to understand those ideas. Anything that hinders that understanding is annoying to the reader and damaging to the writer’s credibility. That’s why it’s important for writers to identify and fix any errors that interfere with readers’ expectations.

Seemingly minor errors in punctuation or sentence structure slow down readers and frustrate them. Writers must learn which errors they are most prone to and how to eliminate them before they share a writing project with an audience. When you learn to limit errors that readers perceive as sloppy and careless, you will be better able to control your message and the way your audience receives it.

Though there are numerous strategies for improving readability, this module addresses some of the more common errors that first-year college writers make. Learning to recognize and resolve these errors is a good foundation for improving the readability of your writing.