Can We Return to Full Sentences?

Guessing games can be fun, but when I’m reading your email or forum post I don’t want to feel like I’m playing Charades.  Furthermore, I don’t want to do a once-over on your writing to get context and then figure out where you should have placed periods and commas.  If you are communicating in writing then have the decency to realize that someone has to read and process your words.

The more difficult you make that the more of a pain you are to communicate with.

You don’t need to sound like an author, a college professor, or congressman when you write.  You can even spell a word or two wrong, or end a sentence with a preposition.  For the most part, I don’t care.  In fact, I don’t even care if you make intermittent mistakes in your attempts to create full sentences.  The problem is that many people make it a way of life to write half-sentences and commit their inner-mutterings to writing for the rest of the world to stumble through.  (See that last sentence?  I’m not a grammar Nazi.  Just a frustrated reader.)


My next writing concern has to do with how heavily you rely on someone reading an email-header rather than simply addressing them in your greeting and signing the email at the end.  To clarify, an email that says:

Hi Dan,

How’s it going?  Call me later.

— Ben

…is great!  I can see who is being addressed and who wrote it.  These days, however, many people just say:

How’s it going?  Call me later.

Well great.  Now I have to refer back to my email list and check the sender column to see who sent it.  Also, I need to see if I was in the CC field rather than the TO field.  CC means they weren’t talking to me, rather they were talking to someone else and carbon-copied me on the email.

Proper usage of greetings and signatures would eliminate that confusion.

Why I care

Now, I’m not just being cranky.  Sometimes my misinterpretation of someone’s writing makes me feel stupid, and that’s where the real problem is.  I often have to reply to emails and ask if they meant x or y.  So it’s like I’m proofreading it for them, but I sometimes feel like they think I’m stupid for not getting it.

Worst of all, someone’s ambiguity is left for me to decipher so I stand the chance of doing something wrong (mostly at work) because they speak in fragments.

If you get frustrated like me then tell me your experience… below.

1 Comment on Can We Return to Full Sentences?

  1. ben, i completely agree with you. for the purposes of annoying you but not frustrating you, i’m typing in lower case. 😉
    but seriously … whenever someone says “love you” i often want to correct them and say “I …” (love you).
    love, your always critical sister,

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