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Why improve your understanding of grammar and punctuation?

Surely, in these days of word processors with their built-in grammar- and spell-checkers, there is no need to understand the rules and anomalies of English grammar and punctuation? Well, here are some reasons why doing some of these exercises and improving your understanding of such things could turn out to be a shrewd investment of your time:

Grammar checkers on computers are by no means foolproof. They sometimes attempt to correct things that are perfectly correct, and often miss glaring errors. Unlike you, the writer, they are totally unconcerned with the meaning of your sentence and are simply following a predefined set of rules. While there is no doubt that they are useful, relying on them is highly dangerous.

Even so, why should you need to spend any time acquiring an understanding of grammar and punctuation?

As you go through your university life, there will be various people it would be good to impress: most obviously, your tutors and your future employer. Poor punctuation and grammar will cause you to lose marks in essays. Good punctuation and grammar will not only improve your marks, but, used skilfully, can make your arguments more persuasive and engaging.

Almost all employers, and certainly those recruiting for 'graduate level jobs', view effective written communication as a highly desirable skill. It is also a skill that many potential candidates lack; improving your understanding of grammar and punctuation could help you into the career of your choice. Once in your 'graduate level job', you will almost certainly be engaging with the written word in some way. Clearly-written, grammatically-correct, properly-punctuated reports are likely to catch your manager's eye for the right reasons.