Old Pueblo Academy

Homework Writing Help: The importance of punctuation

Often, we are so intimidated by an assignment, its topic, or the research involved, that we get overwhelmed. The struggle of learning about a subject, researching the details, taking notes, making outlines, and writing drafts seems like far more than should be expected of us. As a result, many students write one draft, consider their paper complete, print it out and turn it in. When they receive a less than perfect grade, they tell themselves it’s because they weren’t up to the challenge of the work. However, many could improve their grade by several points (or even by a whole letter grade) simply by recognizing the importance of small details.

Spelling and punctuation matter.

By not proofreading your papers properly, you’re undoubtedly giving up some of the points you should have earned on your score. Spelling and punctuation may seem trivial in the face of that huge 15 page research paper you have to write, but the fact of the matter is they remain as important now as they were in grade school—if not more important.

There are two reasons for this:

  • Showing you care about your work.
  • Your instructor wants to see that you care about your work, and for better or worse that means that you need to demonstrate that by turning in a well-crafted, proofread paper. This shows that you respect your education, the academic institution, and your professor. Think about it this way—you have a great personality, but if you showed up to a date in dirty clothes, the person wouldn’t think well of you, would they? Punctuation and spelling mistakes are just like that.

  • Spelling and punctuation can change meaning.
  • Using the wrong homonym or punctuation can lead to confusion in your writing. For example, the classic phrase used to demonstrate this is “Eats shoots and leaves.” This could describe a panda eating bamboo shoots and bamboo leaves. “Eats, shoots, and leaves,” however describes someone having a meal, shooting someone with a gun, and fleeing the scene. Two very different scenarios!

  • Demonstrating attention to detail.
  • Finally, having correct spelling and punctuation shows that you have a fine eye for detail, which is something which will improve the quality of your work in many areas of your life. Being sloppy with punctuation can become a bad habit, leading to sloppy citations or poor critical thinking.