"Love is a harsh and dreadful thing to ask of us, but it is the only answer."--Dorothy Day

7.10.2007

End of Sentence.

I once had an e-discussion with one of my friends about (a) whether it was appropriate to edit someone's e-mail for grammar and punctuation and then send it back to them, and (b) whether the total lack of spelling, capitalization and punctuation in an e-mail was grounds for putting a stop to a potential relationship. I am known for such silliness as using a dictionary while writing e-mails and reposting blogs 5+ times for spelling, punctuation and formatting errors. I've had people e-mail just after sending me an e-mail, to apologize for the use of "there" meaning "they're". Which is why this article was maybe the funniest thing I've read in a long time. I would like my tagline to read "Casey Burke, a social worker and sometimes writer from Brooklyn, N.Y., is really rather low maintenance."

4 comments:

pastorkes said...

this makes me hesitate to even comment on your blog or to invite you to comment on mine. and yet, i comment. for i am kester...risk taker.

JTB said...

I have a friend who punctuates properly when she IM's...also a former English lit major, of course.

I think email punctuation should vary according to the audience and kind of communication it is. I feel comfortable omitting the niceties when emailing friends if, say, it's a quick one-liner, and Clare is in my lap attempting to hijack the keyboard. But if I am emailing a professor, it's all professional. And I expect the same of students when emailing me as a TA or an instructor--but this rarely happens. No capitalization, comma splices everywhere, I mean, what's going on there???

Question: I have personally decided to consistently abandon the proper orthographic "e-mail" and write it without the hyphen because it's too much trouble. Opinion on that?

Casey. said...

No one should worry that I'm scrutinizing their e-grammar. I know very well that I am the only person in the world who sends out properly punctuated and capitalized text messages. I do enjoy the occasional sentence fragment, and festive misspelling.

And JTB, I am a stickler. I still hyphenate e-mail and on-line even though it's probably just a wasted keystroke. I also capitalize "Web site" and "Internet," as both began as proper nouns. Ridiculous, isn't it?

Little Light said...

I'm constantly editing in my head or elsewhere, so it's more of an effort for me to leave any sort of writing alone - even when I'm knowingly breaking the rules. My Scottish boss recently complained that Americans have abandoned prepositions and adverbs after reading a recent email of mine. I told him that "through" is a preposition - as in "warp speed through the decade" instead of "at warp speed" or whatever he thought I should have said.

I know, makes no sense either way.