Email courtesy

Since the advent of email, the rules of proper email etiquette and grammar style never fully infiltrated into this popular form of communication. I realize that we aren’t writing letters and affixing a 46 cent stamp, but does that mean it needs to be “addressed” any less seriously? Does a stamp make that much of a difference in tone and capitalization?

I work mostly with academics, the kind with PhDs and suede elbow patches. After the quantity of time spent in school, writing papers, publishing books, teaching moldable minds, one would think that simple grammar, punctuation, and common sense would permeate their correspondences. In reality, it’s as if there is a rebellion against their schooling and profession.

If I’m paying $35k a year for an education, the least my professor can do is find the energy to hit SHIFT while pecking out the first letter of a sentence. I expect it.

It’s not just the blatant disregard for all things grammatical that makes me crazy, it’s the tone, the way I’m addressed as if I am a simple plebeian. I realize they address me the same way they address anybody, but nevertheless, it is belittling.

Where is the “Dear Ms. Gingermermaid”? Where is the “Sincerely” and “Kind Regards”? When did this become acceptable:

what, no receipt?

You want a receipt for submitting payment to an organization? That’s great! I’d be happy to oblige! How about you try this:

Dear Ms. Gingermermaid,

Thank you for the confirmation of my membership. I was curious if it would be possible for to obtain a receipt as proof to my university that I am a member and can receive reimbursement?

Thank you, and I look forward to your reply.

Kind Regards,

Dr. Gramaluva

or even…

Dear Ms. Gingermermaid,

Thank you. May I also have a receipt?


Prof. Supanisguy

Now, was that so hard?

Look, between friends, do your thing. I opt for capitalization, punctuation, and witty openers among my closest kin. That’s entirely between the correspondents on this particular amicable level. But between professionals, let’s be just that—professional. It’s not just a matter of courtesy, it’s also a matter of respect.


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