Email – a lesson in writing proper English

A young man once told my daughter Jenny that he wanted to become a journalist. “Email my dad,” Jenny advised him. “He is a journalist and might be able to help you get a job.”

The young man wrote me an email that read like a teenager’s text message. No punctuation, no capital letters and loads of abbreviations hard to understand for a grumpy old editor like me who wasn’t brought up with mobile phones and SMS.

My reply? “If you want to become a journalist, try writing like one. At least try writing proper English.”

This may sound like stating the blindingly obvious, but improper spelling, grammar and punctuation in an email or any written communication give a bad impression of your company/yourself.

Also, emails with no full stops or commas are difficult to read and a comma in the wrong place can do damage to the understanding of a sentence.

I didn’t hear from the young man again.

I welcome your comments.

Rolf Soderlind

http://www.absolutwriting.com/ absolutwriting


4 comments on “Email – a lesson in writing proper English

  1. dats 1 QL blog, dude. wen I wnt a job I alw wrt n txt spk dats Y? I’m unmployd

  2. Continue being grumpy Rolf. I despair at the standard of written (and spoken) English. If standards are allowed to continue to decline goodness knows where we will get to in a few short years. It takes nothing to proof-read, spell check and reflect.

  3. Right on. The yoof of today. Get off my lawn. etc…

    However, if I may be permitted to pick a nit, “email” is not a count noun. Used the same way as “mail” is (in American English): one speaks of “picking up the mail,” but not “I wrote her a mail.”

    Might I suggest, The young man wrote me an email message?

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