As featured in Parentdish

Sunday, 21 November 2010

Poor punctuation

I’m writing a book on grammar and punctuation at the moment. It will be a homework guide for parents which parents will be able to use to help their primary aged children with their homework. It will be published in the spring by The Schoolrun website and will be available as an ebook.

As a writer, poor punctuation in particular really annoys me. The rules are pretty simple and it’s not hard to remember what an apostrophe is for and when to capitalise a word.

Spelling in English is different. The English language is a complicated one to learn as there are so many spellings which break the rules. There are countries in Europe which have virtually no recorded incidents of dyslexia. Granted this could be due to lack of diagnosis but it is also likely to be due to a simpler spelling system. Think of the words fought and got. Both rhyme but the spellings are totally different.

But while the vast majority of the general public are not bothered by the grocer’s apostrophe, I am sure there would be an outcry if local councils put up signs which were full of spelling errors.

We do appear to have become somewhat lackadaisical about grammar and punctuation in this country and it is getting to the point that some people now question whether it actually matters.

People will often say that grammar and punctuation are getting worse and that young people nowadays barely know what a noun is. As a writing tutor I can honestly say I haven’t found this. I have had some older students whose punctuation was awful.

In the book I will also be looking at how knowledge of the subject has changed, particularly since the introduction of the National Curriculum and the equivalent in Scotland. That will be interesting to say the least.


  1. When i was learning, Latin, French, German, and later, Italian, I was continually told how important spelling, punctuation, and grammar in general,were to the understanding of the language and the pride in the correct use of that language. We also lost marks for incorrect use.
    So why should it be any different for our own language? Let's keep standards up, and have less dumbing-down!

  2. I love languages and in an ideal world my children would have been brought up bilingual. I think that is why I find grammar and punctuation so important.

    Four languages is impressive.