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Be Thankful For English Writing Rules

Do you sometimes struggle with punctuation and grammar? Don’t feel alone. Punctuation and grammar have a lot to do with the fact that English is one of the hardest languages to learn. However, you should be thankful for the writing rules, even if you struggle with them at times.

There is a reason this can be said. People are so used to spacing between words, punctuation marks, and so forth that they may not even know that at one time, they weren’t used.

Try to imagine, just for a moment, what it must have been like in the 1400’s to try to read and understand anything. It must have been quite difficult.

For the moment ignoring the point that the words used would have been different, here is an example of how the above paragraph might have looked in 1400:

trytoimaginejustforamomentwhatitmusthavebeenlikeinthe1400stotrytoreadandunderstandanythingitmusthavebeenquitedifficult

Mind you, some marks were used, though they weren’t like those commonly used today, nor were they used in all writing. There were no rules for using caps, spacing between words and sentences, or modern punctuation marks. Exclamation marks didn’t exist, so to emphasize something, words were repeated.

Punctuation was mostly introduced for verbal renderings of writing. As previously mentioned, some writing did contain punctuation prior to the 1400’s, but it wasn’t a rule. Spaces became common with the invention of moveable type, the early typewriter, in the 1450’s.

Rules for the punctuation marks had to be put into place, too. Without the rules, the meaning of sentences could be substantially different than what was intended. For instance, here are two identical sentences, except for the punctuation.

A woman: Without her, man is nothing.

A woman, without her man, is nothing.

Obviously, the punctuation changes the meaning enormously. Without punctuation, though, it would be difficult to understand what is meant.

What it all comes down to is this: Even if you have difficulty with grammar and punctuation, you should be thankful that the rules exist. Without them, few people could understand what you meant to say. You could also be thankful that you live now, rather than in 1400.

What do you think?

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Written by Rex Trulove

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  1. I am thankful for English writing rules. In fact, I’m thankful for rules in general. They help eliminate confusion and maintain order. How messed up our lives would be without things being done decently and in order.

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