I’ve heard writers say, “I hope my readers can hear my heart” or “I hope they get the point of what I’m trying to say.” I usually hear this when I ask if they want a second round of edits and they are explaining why they don’t. Or, even why they have decided not to hire an editor at all.
We all hope our readers understand what we’re saying. But the truth is, every mistake is a distraction. If I read a blog post and a period is on the outside of the quotation marks, I get distracted. I miss the point of the sentence because I’m thinking, “Is this person Canadian or British? Is that why she is doing it this way? Or does she not know it’s wrong? And if she isn’t taking time to learn this basic writing rule, what else in her writing may be wrong?”
We follow grammar and punctuation rules to minimize distractions from the point of our writing.
Perfection is ultimately the goal, so we write until it’s right. Most grammar and punctuation rules are as black and white as math facts. We want our writing to be clear, concise, and correct so our readers can get the point or get lost in the story, without distraction.