Punctuation Errors on Social Media Are Appalling!

How passionate are you about punctuation?  The following is an excerpt from a recent note to me from the office of a financial advisor:

“Hi Dianna Can you let me know your availability for a meeting with Ed before he leaves for New Orleans he’ll be gone all of next week for a conference and would like to get this arranged before he leaves please let me know and I’ll confirm with him and get back to you in the meantime I’d like to discuss the immediate changes you wanted me to make in your accounts.”

Four sentences punctuated as one! The reasons people make such egregious punctuation errors in email and on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google Plus posts vary:

  • Carelessness:  They know better, but they’re working too fast.  Humans make mistakes occasionally.
  • Ignorance:  They don’t know what they don’t know.   For those people, I’d remind them that just because they don’t know better doesn’t mean others don’t know and notice.
  • Non-caring attitude:   These writers consider punctuation a “minor” matter.  Likewise, some would consider salt on food a minor issue. But leave it out altogether, and notice the bland taste.
  • Smartphone design: Having the punctuation keys on the second screen does make adding punctuation time-consuming. But then so is dressing every morning.

So why pay attention when punctuating your prose?  Two reasons:


Let’s say your boss texts you, “How’s it going with the Haberstock account?”

You respond:  “For whatever reason the meeting was postponed.”

Your boss is going to think she got an incomplete response.  Because of the missing comma, this response sounds like a spurt of words—an incomplete thought. Punctuated correctly, it would be clear: “For whatever reason, the meeting was postponed.”


“Carelessness with punctuation is symptomatic of inattention to detail in general,” according to one of our Fortune 100 CEO clients in the financial services industry. “To our clients, such errors mean that we don’t amortize their loans correctly.”

Common errors like these found frequently on social media sites cause readers to do a double-take:

They sent: boxes, books, and displays.

Hi Michelle.

You’ll love the tips in this article; by Jake.

May I share this?!!!

We have 3 employee’s going!


I’m pulling no punches here:  Just as specific as highway signs, those marks mean something.  If you want to be a clear communicator, get passionate about punctuation.


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