From the Gregg Reference Manual, ninth edition:
“Rules merely represent an attempt to impose some order and consistency on a language that cheerfully persists in disorder and inconsistency.”
I suppose that – as editors – our lot in life is to struggle with words, not unlike trying to ride a Brahma bull. But I think that it’s a good struggle. See, I’ve found that editing is how we Walk the Line (with a nod to Mr. Cash). We balance the exacting precision of proofing with the free-range roaming that is writing.
Consistency does help the reader, but there’s something else: it helps us. From a business perspective, consistency is vital. Follow me here.
Given that all else was equal, would you purchase a product from a business that produces typo-ridden marketing or would your coin go to the business that offers consistent, crisp material?
11 out of 10 Dereks would choose the error-free vendor.
Why? Well, it comes down to the unwritten message: if a business doesn’t care enough to offer a consistent, clean message, where else are they lacking? How do I know their product is not similarly problem-ridden? Will the coffee pot break after a month? Will my car repairs fail me when my family is driving at night? Will my pants split if I take two stairs at a time? It’s a matter of trust.
For the sake of the underlying message of trust, we need consistency. This is not an absolute, but it helps your brand. Such is the power of words.