Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Does Grammar and Punctuation Matter in Journals?

Whenever I write anything, I try to write it as correctly as possible without obsessing over it. For example, if I'm writing emails or blog posts, I would make the effort to make sure my spelling and punctuations are mostly correct by paying attention to them as I write. After that, I might do a spell check, but I wouldn't necessarily worry about every comma or semicolon. The key is to make sure that everything is readable, and correct for "normal" people, as opposed to Grammar Police.

For my journals, I take the same approach. I don't like reading things without any sort of punctuation or with excessive spelling errors, so I never write like that. I want my journals to reflect my language skills, not my laziness. But I'm little less strict with journals. If I am writing really fast because I want to get the words out then I don't worry about spelling or grammar. I do it as best as I can while maintaining the speed. And that's okay, because in those entries, it's  the emotion that matters. Punctuation on the whole is there anyway (because people who write without commas and periods should be severely punished), and spelling errors are more due to speed. But on the whole, I would say that yes, grammar and punctuation does matter. I believe that if I am going to do something, I might as well do it well. That applies to journaling.

What do you think? Do you care about grammar and punctuation in  your journal entries? How much do you care?


  1. I care a great deal. My journal is the most important writing I do. As the one thing I am guaranteed to write every day, the way I write my journal entry each day is habit-forming and will influence all the other writing I may do. I therefore have to do it properly: well written and grammatical to the extent my skills will allow.

  2. This is an issue I struggle with daily. Self-editing is just instinctive, but can obstruct the flow of content. I have to remember that documenting the ideas and feelings overrides the mechanics. It can even be indicative of the mood at the time.

    As a former editorial assistant, it will always be a battle. Hitting the sweet spot seems to be part of the process . . .

  3. Ray,

    I completely agree. That is what I focus on.


    But as a former editorial assistant, doesn't grammar and punctuation just come easily to you? Or are we talking about REALLY worrying about every single mistake?

  4. Oh, yes it does!
    Except in the case of my poems: absence of punctuation there makes one read them in a more natural tone, just as if you were reading in a breath, more or less for yourself, with a less marked intonation. Rhythm and alliterations matter more then.

    But else,I couldn't do without proper punctuation. It shows our mood indeed, and mainly, it makes things far easier for others to read!

    So please, go on minding punctuation !

    :-) (May I add that in French we use a lot more commas? It does help!)

  5. Sorry, I should have written: 'yes, I do care', not 'yes, it does' - matter.
    (And sorry for the comma too close to 'else'...!)

  6. To echo others, I use my journal partly as writing practice, and so I try to be as grammatically correct as possible. I do not agonize over my spelling however,as I write by hand and if I were to care about my spelling, I'd be looking up words ALL THE time! I could type my journal if I cared that much, but I prefer handwriting (we do it so infrequently today that I think it makes journalling personal and special), so I let spelling perfection go......

  7. Thanks for sharing this nice post. When you are planning to write some thing in English Language, it is very important to follow the Grammar and Punctuation tips to express your idea concisely.