GrammarBlog

Thursday, 28 June 2007

Lack of grammatical knowledge is a sackable offence.

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An email that passed through my inbox yesterday (all names and incriminating nouns have been changed):

Afternoon All,

Customer Service - thank-you all for attending the Microsoft Training, everyone has now completed and I have thanked Chris for providing the tours on your behalf.

Hopefully you all learned a few things that will benefit the customer's & your own knowledge.

Thanks,

Jane
The errors in this pile of donkey-do stack up more quickly than Dane Bowers' plate at an all-you-can-eat Chinese buffet. Let's have a quick run-through, although obviously I don't have time to pick through every stylistic and technical error.
Afternoon All,
What's this? It's pathetic. Notice how, by capitalising the 'All', the author attempts to half-heartedly formalise the ineloquent, faux-informal 'Afternoon'. What sort of afternoon? The tone, usage and context of this are totally wrong.
Customer Service - thank-you all for attending the Microsoft Training
Why construct the sentence with the addressee at the beginning? And since when has 'thank you' (or the acceptable 'thankyou') been hyphenated? If the author had a decent grasp of written English, she could have rescued this sentence's oddball structure - possibly even making its unusualness appealing. But she couldn't.
everyone has now completed
What? Completed what? This sounds like some sort of pseudo science-fiction terminology; in fact, it wouldn't seem out of place at a Scientology conference.
benefit the customer's &
The coup de grâce. The incorrect apostrophe is good, but the incongruous ampersand is even better.
9 Comments:
Blogger Paul said...

Utterly deplorable. Were I able, I would remove her e-mail account. Bet she was from Yaaahkshure.

28 June 2007 at 09:56  
Blogger Gez said...

Let's not go overboard. Emails (email is now officially a word - hyphen optional), even work emails aren't the most formal of publications. Jane's prose wasn't very pretty but the message was clear. "Afternoon" is no more arbitrary than "Good Afternoon" and is an acceptable spoken greeting; maybe an apostrophe would be useful to signify the missing "Good".

As for the capitalisation of "all"... it's not correct but I'm in a leniant mood so I guess we could let it slide.

However, for the crime of using an apostophe in a plural, I hereby issue a GrammarBlog fatwa: hunt this "Jane" down and burn her!

28 June 2007 at 12:13  
Blogger Tom said...

Agreed that there's nothing wrong with 'Afternoon All' per se, but when combined with the rest of her piffle it just got on my nerves.

28 June 2007 at 12:27  
Blogger Paul said...

While 'email' is a recognised word, I still feel compelled to use the hyphenated spelling. I'm odd like that.

28 June 2007 at 13:17  
Blogger Gez said...

The hyphen is perfectly acceptable Paul, don't you worry. In fact most sticklers would insist on it. I don't if I've mentioned this before but I'm kind of a maverick. Imagine MacGyver crossed with the Fonz... but into grammar.

28 June 2007 at 17:39  
Blogger Dan said...

I don't see why "even work emails aren't the most formal of publications".

This is because:

(a) I believe all written English should be respected and carved beautifully whether with quill or keyboard.

(b) From an employment law view- point, emails/Emails/e-mails/E-mails are treated in exactly the same way as letters: once it is written and sent it might as well be inked on to finest parchment scraped from the skin of a fetid hog and delivered post haste in a golden carriage. Thus, if we apply correct rules to a paper letter, so should we an electronic one.

Consider yourself told, so-called 'Gez'.

29 June 2007 at 09:28  
Blogger Gez said...

Legal Implications

- Potential legal problems mean clarity is very important in work emails.
- The flow and grace of the prose becomes secondary.
- Speed of reply is also a factor to consider.
- Am I simply being devils advocate?
- I am annoyed that I cant use < ul > and < u > tags in comments
- That is all
- Goodbye

29 June 2007 at 13:33  
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