Being judged, whatever that means, based on your grammar is not a good thing. Especially if a missing comma shunts you to the category of a careless writer, or an expressionless one.
Good grammar and good sentence construction is more than showing off your un-split infinitives or un-dangling participles. Those who show off their grammatical skills are nothing but semi-colon bullies. In fact, I believe the more grammatical tools you use; the less you end up making meaning. There is good reason I believe this and let me tell you why. It’s a progression of sorts.
First, the writer becomes obsessed with good grammar, often to an extent, that the idea hardly gets any attention. The idea may be a great one or not – but it hardly matters then, when the structure becomes more important than the concept. You’d argue that a strong structure is important to hold the concept – or something like that. I’d agree, but if the concept isn’t expressed well, then, any strength in the structure is just a show of strength – nothing else.
Secondly, grammatical structures are often seen as rigid and uncompromising – as if bending the rule occasionally will be cause for long-term stigma. More often than not, the grammatical structure become so embedded in any expression, we begin using them automatically – almost absent-mindedly. This time, the concept suffers because of an incorrect structure to support it.
Finally the presentation of the concept and the concept itself become a blur. While I can’t understand XML to save my life, the reason I like XML and understand the power it holds for good expression, is exactly that – it separates the content and the presentation. Now, it would be too technical if I started explaining what it is and how it works, and it would be better that you head off here to know more about it, but I believe the logic of it.
Bad presentation draws focus on itself; relegates the concept behind the curtain. Bad alignment, missing commas, incorrect choice of words, no spacing between sentences or paragraphs, gaudy colours, txt spk (but that’s just me), or the marriage of serif and sans serif fonts, are all presentation demons that vie for and crowd the spotlight.
Presentation is best when you can’t see it. It helps a concept achieve nirvana.