The standards of grammar, punctuation and spelling continue to trip, stumble over a cliff edge and plummet to a painful and rocky conclusion. Okay, so maybe things aren’t quite so bad. I could be exaggerating just a little and hey! Who hasn’t indulged in a little computer speak every now and then? Twitter encourages us to use fragmented and abbreviated sentences with its 140-character limit, for goodness sake.

The truth is, while it is easy to blame social media and online writing conventions, many of us are either lazy or simply don’t know the difference between right and wrong when it comes to contractions, commas and capitalisation. Fear not! Below you will find some punctuation lessons to enlighten you, using celebrity Twitter examples that may just frighten you.

Capitalisation

I know, I know, Lindsay Lohan has enough problems without me picking on her, right? I guess a serious lack of attention when it comes to punctuation is just one of them. capitalisation refers to the use of capital letters at the start of a sentence and is used for the personal pronoun I.

For example: The people reading this may think that I am obsessed with punctuation.

Whatever you do, do not take a leaf out of Lindsay Lohan’s book.

Apostrophes

Where would we be without apostrophes? What kind of crazy, lawless world would we live in? Those little airborne dashes are the things that tell us that letters have been left out, as well as telling us who owns what. We see this is in contractions, where a phrase or word is shortened. Somewhere along the way, Rihanna lost sight of this, amongst other things.

For example: You cant tell me that there was a worldwide memo indicating that punctuation was dead.

Commas

When celebrities mess up, they really mess up. John Cusacks tweet below is evidence of this, with numerous errors on display. However, let’s turn our attention to the humble comma. If used correctly, a comma can transform a confusing or potentially hilarious sentence into a clear thought. Think of them as the links between train carriages, connecting and separating at the same time.

For example: Poor punctuation can make you seem foolish, lazy, unprofessional and awkward.

The Full Stop

Can you imagine if I kept writing down all my thoughts and it never stopped and you never knew what I was really saying because it was all very confusing and it just went on for so long that you got tired of reading, sometimes life is hard like that but if you just smile for a while things will be alright

All together now: Huh? End punctuation, such as the period or full stop as it is otherwise known, signals that a sentence has come to an end. We rely on it in order to have a smooth reading experience. Cher’s headache-inducing tweet is a great example of what not to do.

For example: When people don’t use proper punctuation, I feel sad

Hopefully you are now feeling suitably enlightened and frightened. Do you have a particular bugbear? Maybe you hate those people who go on and on about grammar and punctuation?

*Bonus points if you can discover the three errors I have added on purpose.