Today’s data display offerings are all about grammar. Though I have been teaching public speaking, business communication, and presenting for the past five years, I still work to emphasize in my students that they should devote sufficient time to grammar and mechanics in both written, visual, and verbal communication. An interview and potential job can be lost over a misplaced comma; an audience’s understanding of your subject can be lost through a misused or misspelled word. As David McCandless says, we are all now data visualizers; we demand a visual aspect to our information. So, a great way to brush up on grammar and mechanics is through the various grammar visualizations found on sites like The Oatmeal. Two particularly useful infographics help users navigate through the often confusing (and in English departments, feud inducing) world of punctuation.
The first is “The Oxford Comma”, created by OnlineSchools.com. This infographic tackles the controversial use of this most ubiquitous of punctuation marks. Did you know that the Oxford comma isn’t actually used by Oxford University’s PR department?
The second example comes from my favorite site, The Oatmeal created and curated by Matt Inman, whose Ignite talk I shared with you yesterday. Apostrophes have become one of the most incorrectly used forms of punctuation in our first draft digital culture. Inman’s flowchart moves the user through when to and when not to use an apostrophe and includes excellently funny examples. To view the rest of this visualization, please click on the image below.