Do you punctuate your text messages?

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Language pedants unite – there are reasons to be cheerful.

Does it matter? A bit of an apostrophe in the wrong place; their rather than there (or they’re). As long as we all roughly understand each other it’s OK, right?

The withering looks I get from new staff members hearing my rant about company names being singular (as in: Ridgemount retains its third place in the CMA agency rankings) sometimes make me doubt myself.

The dawning realisation that pictures and video content almost invariably get more engagement is uncomfortable too. It can be a depressing world for language lovers.

But I protest. Subtleties in language not only promote clarity, but also add to the experience of communicating. The difference between infer and imply or disinterested and uninterested, the correct use of the possessive apostrophe: useful, precise, and there simply isn’t an exact equivalent.

Then there’s the view that language shouldn’t only be about conveying a message. In the right hands the language itself should be enjoyable too.

I’ve thrown in the towel on some things. The split infinitive is simply a lost cause – I can live with that. But two pieces of information this week have seriously cheered me up.

The first: a legal case where an industrial action case hinged entirely on the absence of an Oxford comma in the original contract drafting.

The second: a video ad we ran across social media, A/B testing with different text introduction. Same video, same audience profile, same objective. The difference in performance was startling.

So, for now, I’m keeping up the fight. And punctuating my text messages.

Language pedants might enjoy the following:

A malapropism walks into a bar, looking for all intensive purposes like a wolf in cheap clothing, muttering epitaphs and casting dispersions on his magnificent other, who takes him for granite.

 
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Anna Hern
Managing Director, Ridgemount PR

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Kirstie Osborne