Dot Logic

How we can write more readably by paying attention to the underlying logic of words and punctuation:

Writing is actually easier than a lot of us think. Or, perhaps, it’s simpler.

There’s actually a very strong logical component to writing. We may not always be able to see exactly how it works, but it’s there.

For example, punctuation isn’t there to trip us up – it’s there because it serves a function. It pauses, it separates, it connects – it helps us read what something says reliably.

Similarly, writing is never “just words”. Even when words are misused, they have an underlying logic to them that explains why they work or don’t work.

We can see whether words work together, whether a sentence makes sense, or why something might be misunderstood unless we add or change a word.

With punctuation, logic shows us where there should be an apostrophe, where a dash might be necessary because it produces a heavier pause than a comma, or where it makes sense to use a semicolon or not.

And this is important: not least, because when something’s mispunctuated or doesn’t scan, it can put us off or distract us – to the point where we stop reading.

So, on a practical level, the logic of writing – for punctuation or words – is worth paying attention to. Because it helps determine how readable what we write is.

Anyway, that’s my idea. What do you think?