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Re: e-mail symbols

Leigh, I take exception to this comment. I am neither inarticulate or
illiterate and I use "emoticons" and abreviations like IMHO and BTW on a
regular basis.

....and sometimes I say "ain't" for effect. It doesn't mean I'm illiterate,
and I see that you did not heed my comment regarding the expression of
opinion. I used to be a ham. We used telegraphic abbreviations to speed up
our (mostly meaningless) communications by CW (an abbreviation for
"continuous wave" or communication by keyed code). If you wish to project
the impression of being less articulate than you are you can make a habit
of using CAPS and smileys and multiple exclamation points and all manner
of typographic devices liberally instead of forming proper English sentences.
When I say "ain't" I do it for emphasis. I never do it before an audience
of people who might take me for a hick, and I never do it repetitively.
In context I think it is an effective device.

You may also note that I habitually use contractions in my writing in this
medium. That's to make it noticeably less formal. I don't use them in a
formal context (well, not as many, anyway). My email writing is quite
informal. I do try to maintain a standard of spelling and grammar when it
is possible to do so, given my illiberal arts background.

If I was writing prose, I would not be be sending e-mail, I would be using
a word processor. E-mail has a style all its own. No, it's not prose.
It's a quick and dirty way of sending a message. I could ramble on
forever trying to convey my emotions to you but a :) or :( or :0 or 8) or
even a [:b is much more efficient at getting the point across. It's just
meant as a substitute for the body language and voice inflections of a
regular conversation. Don't be annoyed with them, be happy that the
sender cared enough to let you know how they were feeling.

I'm not annoyed. I do form opinions about how articulate a person is by
reading what he says. Perhaps others don't, but don't bet on it. Some
people tend to give what I say more weight because of the way in which
I say it. I was taught that is a good thing; was I taught wrong?

The abreviations like IMHO and BTW are just that. Long rambling e-mail
messages are annoying to me. Say what you want to say and do it

Would you like to see those forms in books? Journal articles? If
efficiency is the objective, why limit it to email? I spend more
time reading books and articles than I do reading email.

I agree, but e-mail is a different style. I'm not saying it's OK to write
like a slob, but it is a different media than regular prose or verbal
communication and the rules get bent from time to time.

No, you are saying that it's OK to write like a slob in this medium.
We disagree, that's all. You may continue your practice and I shall
continue mine. It's a free world. By the way, the singular of "medium"
is "media". I noticed that you did not resort to a gratuitous emoticon
anywhere in your message. That's good; perhaps I've made you think,
which was my only purpose in making that posting. When you get your
third declension singulars and plurals straightened out you'll sound
like me. Better be careful!