childeric: (smoulder)
Dear Reader,

I risk, I know, sounding like the Daily Telegraph on a choleric and dyspeptic day, but I'm always rather depressed by what some people would seem to like to make the conventional styles of address in formal emails (the hyphenated or hyphenless state of 'email' is another question, but that way madness lies).

Particularly worthy of excoriation is the obnoxious habit of omitting the 'Dear' from the greeting. I don't know why people do this. Does it seem too friendly? Do they wish to avoid the implication that the recipient is in any way dear to them? Rampant red-blooded wildly-heterosexual-and-not-at-all-anxious-about-it-honest macho corporate culture run riot, perhaps? Or is it an attempt to parrot the cold, mannered, clarity of 1950's civil service memoranda, a rejection of letter-writing norms in favour of a more direct approach?

Equally interesting, but less annoying, is the uncertainty which many seem to feel with regard to concluding emails. At first, as I recall, most people either plumped for the traditional 'Yours sincerely/faithfully' option or dodged the issues and didn't use any farewell at all, merely signing their names at the bottom. Then, from out of nowhere, someone or other decided to liberate 'Best wishes' from the torpids of frostily-distant-yet-not-actively-impolite things to put on Christmas and birthday cards to next-door neighbours and paper boys and neglected minor cousins and other people who-must-have-cards-but-one-doesn't-actually-really-know where it had been languishing, and set it loose on the world as a new way to sign emails. I think [ profile] gothgrr was the first person I saw using it, back in nineteen ninety something, but I very much doubt that it was her coinage. Since then, I have seen various permutations on the 'best' theme, together with 'regards' (making an unexpected renaissance and a number of others contending to be the standard form, but with no particular winner evident as yet.

Personally, although I do sometimes use it, I think 'best wishes' is a touch daft, and, unless I'm being even more ingratiating than normal will tend to treat email like a proper letter and stick to whichever of 'Yours faithfully' and '...sincerely' is correct for the recipient. However, I think I may have been right and I'm actually a choleric and apoplectic Telegraph reader in this respect.

I am, sir, your most humble and obedient servant,

Col. Blimp (retd.)
Have your say on this burning issue of current moment )


May. 13th, 2005 04:31 pm
childeric: (Default)
Contrary to what half of the BBC, most of the newspapers, and 99.5% of people writing on the net suppose, 'to refute' means successfully to demonstrate or prove that something is not the case. It does not mean 'to attempt to prove the falseness of a proposition', or merely to contradict an opinion.

Someone simply disagreeing with, or mounting an attack upon, a given view is not refuting it, they are rebutting it. If they show the falseness of the view in question successfully, then (and only then) they have refuted it.

This is not linguistic conservatism, nor is it nit-picking nor pedantry; it is acknowledging a useful distinction between meanings of words, and attempting to preserve that useful distinction from the depredations of those who are too stupid or too lazy to follow it.

Oh, I could become apoplectic sometimes.


childeric: (Default)

April 2009

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