A Short Rant About Emails

So I just have to complain about the tacky way people write emails! Perhaps texting has something to do with it, but that’s no excuse. Here is one I received yesterday from someone I only met once. I sent him some additional information about one of the people killed in Tucson. He wrote:

thanks for the infor
I heard on the new as well the he was a member vs. minister
but what a hero he was in saving the life of his wife as her shield
God bless all the families invovled

Now sometimes I get a short, uncapitalized, unpunctuated email from someone who is giving a quick answer to a question. I can handle that. I can even accept no spacing between paragraphs—or no paragraphing at all. One long paragraph does not offend me. But how much trouble is it to hold down the Shift key? Or to touch the period key?

When I was a child, my maternal grandmother wrote each of her children every week—at least the 7 or 8 (out of 9) who were away from home. I still can picture her handwriting sprawled across the lined paper. She only had a fourth-grade education, but her letters were easy to read because she used capitalization and punctuation. Her spelling left a bit to be desired, but sounding out her words made them perfectly understandable. I wish I had some of those precious letters to keep.

Meanwhile, I am trying to be more careful about my own emails—at least reading them over before I hit Send. I don’t want to be guilty of removing the speck from my friend’s eye while I have a plank in my own!



  1. supermomdoesn'texist

    I have the same rant…with my school e-mail. It's gotten so bad that I talked about it on the first day of classes last semester. I told my students that I was tired of being addressed as "hey" (or no address at all) and to PLEASE address all electronic communication with me with "Ms. Ibarra" or "Profesora". It seemed to help, for the most part. But I still can't believe how incredibly casual and downright demanding students can be via e-mail, i.e.
    "Hey I wasn't in class on Wed. Can you send me the homework?"
    (not signed)

    Or worse–"Did I miss anything important?" (But I don't know if it's really worse to read that through e-mail or hear it in person…as every teacher has).

  2. Lanita Bradley Boyd

    So true, Melissa! Steve deals with that all the time. At least email gives you some time to think about a response. Years ago, a grad student called about missing one of Steve's classes and said he wondered if he'd missed anything important. I snapped back, "If you missed my husband's class, I can assure you you missed something important!" Then later that spring he turned out to be my son's Little League coach, so I got my own come-uppance for my thoughtless response to his thoughtless question!

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