In an age when instant communication is key, and text messages and emails are littered with abbreviations and verbless sentences, it seems impossibly old-fashioned to insist on good grammar. But even in a world of immediate messaging, grammar is important because it clarifies thought and removes ambiguity. If you want to be understood, then take time to think about punctuation, verb agreement, syntax and spelling – recipients will appreciate the clarity of your writing. Use spell-checkers discriminatingly; they are not 100 per cent reliable, as they do not check the context in which you use the words. Remember: no one was ever lampooned for writing well.