Sunday, December 20, 2009

Christmas Letter Atrocities and Crimes Against Grammar


Oh joy! 'Tis the season for the Christmas letter...

People love to revile the annual Christmas letter, but let's face it, people secretly love it, because they are nosy. I think Facebook and Twitter exist for much the same reason; you may grouse about knowing the small insignificant details and thoughts of an other's daily life, but you log on nonetheless, if only to roll your eyes as you read through the live feed.

We don't get as many as we used to in the era of social media madness, but I look forward to them and find them entertaining, EXCEPT when egregious grammatical and linguistic atrocities are committed. I know I am pickier than most. I write and edit for a living and I usually am careful not to cast stones. You know, that whole "people who live in glass houses" deal. But, sometimes something is so outrageous I can't help but fume, out loud.

Here are a few guidelines if you don't want similarly afflicted grammarians to run around their living rooms arghhing and screaming. Or, maybe you DO want that to happen, and for those people I say...that is SO not cool!!

1. Pretend you understand the concept of a paragraph, or really even BASIC punctuation. One long block of run-on sentences that are done in the stream of consciousness mode just make you look like a rambling silly person. ( I want to use the word "idiot," but we don't use those mean words in our house, and mama is trying to walk the walk)

2. CAPITALIZATION IS FOR prudent EMPHASIS, not for the entire letter. Same applies to bold face.

3. Save the truncations, abbreviations, and texting language for your Twitter posts. If you can't be bothered to spell it out in a letter, honestly, don't send it.

4. Um, basic formatting would be nice.

5. Make sense. That would also be appreciated.

6. If your age does not end in "teen," don't try to use slang. It's just pathetic.

7. I've just about given up on this one in general, but misuse of "their," "there," "they're," etc., is just like fingernails on a chalkboard.

8. If it's not too much trouble: s-p-e-l-l c-h-e-c-k.

I'm not even going to touch content, as that really is subjective, and for me is what makes them so entertaining. So bring on your crazy, inane, boasting Christmas letters, but just exhibit a modicum of care for what goes out there into the world to represent you and your family.

Unless, you want me to consider you an idiot, um I mean silly, silly individual. If so, I'm OK with that. Done.

Merry Christmas!

P.S. Feel free to add your own Christmas letter atrocities in the comments

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