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Dear vs Hi - OCI process

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42 minutes ago, Jaggers said:

There is nothing wrong with "Hi Jessica,". It is a very common form of introduction with people you are familiar with.  No one would think twice about it if you've reached the requisite level of formality. You will know you are there when you have received an email from Jessica that starts with "Hi Jaggers,"...

There most certainly is. See above.

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I did. I disagree with it. If someone wrote me and put a comma after the "hi" I would find it to be extremely strange. If that was the only error in their email, I might overlook it. 

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15 minutes ago, Jaggers said:

I did. I disagree with it. If someone wrote me and put a comma after the "hi" I would find it to be extremely strange. If that was the only error in their email, I might overlook it. 

:( that's what I usually do. English is my third language so for formal communications I always try to be really correct and I always thought Hi, Jaggers was proper. 

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2 minutes ago, providence said:

 that's what I usually do. English is my third language so for formal communications I always try to be really correct and I always thought Hi, Jaggers was proper. 

It's technically correct, but most people don't use it that way when opening an email (exception being if it's in the body of the email, and you carry on the sentence). 

But its technically correct in the way that "I'm good" is a technically incorrect way to respond to "how are you?" Sure, if you look at the letter of the grammatical law then the response should be "I'm well", but if you go around correcting people for using the universally accepted, though technically incorrect, form the response is going to stop being "I'm good" and start being "I was good, until you walked in." 

 

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8 hours ago, pzabbythesecond said:

I'm pretty sure he was saying that tongue in cheek. Though if not, I'm rooting for you here cause that's just outrageous.

Yeah, he wasn't. 

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I also find the 'Hi, suchandsuch,' formulation to be off-putting. Regardless of whether that construction is right or wrong, it seems pedantic... which is not the impression you want the third character in an email to give. 

 

Edited by onepost

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1 minute ago, BlockedQuebecois said:

It's technically correct, but most people don't use it that way when opening an email (exception being if it's in the body of the email, and you carry on the sentence). 

But its technically correct in the way that "I'm good" is a technically incorrect way to respond to "how are you?" Sure, if you look at the letter of the grammatical law then the response should be "I'm well", but if you go around correcting people for using the universally accepted, though technically incorrect, form the response is going to stop being "I'm good" and start being "I was good, until you walked in." 

 

All the more reason not to use it in the context of OCI emails.  In all the universe, which profession is likely to have the highest percentage of language pedants?  Taxidermists?  Chiropracters? (If we stretch the definition of “profession”).  And that lawyers are not universally language pedants makes it worse - do you use it correctly and look like a knob, or incorrectly and look like an uncultured slob?

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I suppose this all just means don't use hi. Unless they use hi first, and pay special attention to the placement of the comma.

 

I can't believe this is actually a thing. 

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12 hours ago, providence said:

Or "Good morning/afternoon/evening, Mr/Ms X..." Or "Greetings."

Sure, it's not a trichotomy either...and no-one in this topic has yet discussed the appropriate valediction at the end of the email...

I can't recall if I mentioned this in another topic, but in terms of salutations and valedictions I find the example of the letter George Washington wrote to Phillis Whealey, a former slave interesting (she had not been his slave; she'd been emancipated in 1773, two years before she wrote the 1775 poem about Washington, unusually her former owners had taught her to read and write and encouraged her to write poetry) who had written a panegyric poem praising him:

"...Washington responded with a letter expressing his appreciation for Wheatley’s poem. He even considered publishing it but feared people might interpret that action as self-aggrandizing. Not only was this letter the only one Washington is known to have written to a former slave, but he addressed Wheatley as “Miss Phillis” and signed off as “Your obed[ien]t humble servant,”1 unusual and even paradoxical courtesies...." Though she was firstnamed, that may have been the style of the time re unmarried women (different country and later but think Jane Austen writing and some females would be Miss Lastname and others Miss Firstname) and not necessarily a lack of respect based on race?

http://www.mountvernon.org/digital-encyclopedia/article/phillis-wheatley

Full transcript but indicates she was addressed as "Mrs Phillis" not "Miss" though she didn't marry until 1778? So I think that's an error, that it started just "Miss Phillis" with no other salutation. 

https://founders.archives.gov/documents/Washington/03-03-02-0281

 

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It's not just technically correct: it's a rule. It's the difference between "Let's eat Grandma" and "Let's eat, Grandma".

For the benefit of you millennials out there, here's a link:

"Technically, those e-mail messages you write should begin Hi, John—with a comma after Hi.

You see, Hi, John is different from Dear John because hi and dear are not the same kind of word. Hi is an interjection just like wow and ugh, and dear is an adjective that modifies John.

In Hi, John you are directly addressing John, which means the punctuation rules of “direct address” apply. From a comma-rules standpoint, Hi, John is no different from Thanks for coming, John or Wow, John, what were you thinking?

You can end Hi, John with a period or, if you continue the sentence, a comma." http://www.quickanddirtytips.com/education/grammar/dear-comma

I don't know when this comma became "optional" in the eyes of many who otherwise follow rules of punctuation, spelling, and capitalisation, but I suspect its decline in usage stems from the rise in communication via text message -- you need to open another window to put a comma after a greeting or on both sides of a term of address in the middle of a sentence, so many people drop it. I appreciate the sentiment, but it still bothers me when people wish me a "Happy birthday Kcraigsejong". My name is not Happy Birthday Kcraigsejong.

I know it's a relatively small thing to be concerned about, but, as I have demonstrated above, there are times when using a comma before a term of address -- or not -- can change the meaning of a sentence utterly. It is a crucial distinction and not just technically correct. Saying, "I'm good" (adjective) rather than "I'm well" is a change in register rather than punctuation. Again, very few people will ever believe that a lawyer is actually a force for good, but what's happening in both cases is the speaker ceding control of the message to the listener. Follow the rules of communication. Say what you mean to say. I'm sure Orwell would have had something to say about this corruption of language.

Edited by kcraigsejong

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8 minutes ago, kcraigsejong said:

It's not just technically correct: it's a rule. It's the difference between "Let's eat Grandma" and "Let's eat, Grandma".

For the benefit of you millennials out there, here's a link:

"Technically, those e-mail messages you write should begin Hi, John—with a comma after Hi.

You see, Hi, John is different from Dear John because hi and dear are not the same kind of word. Hi is an interjection just like wow and ugh, and dear is an adjective that modifies John.

In Hi, John you are directly addressing John, which means the punctuation rules of “direct address” apply. From a comma-rules standpoint, Hi, John is no different from Thanks for coming, John or Wow, John, what were you thinking?

You can end Hi, John with a period or, if you continue the sentence, a comma." http://www.quickanddirtytips.com/education/grammar/dear-comma

 

I don't know when this comma became "optional" in the eyes

I'll just ignore that sentence fragment at the end, shall I?

I was reminded of another issue though, is that if you're replying to someone, and they've done something like written "Hi, John", and you reply more formally with "Dear Mr. Smith", that's something that may be interpreted as a rejection of friendliness. (note that I prefer to use punctuation outside quotation marks but that's another discussion).

More subtly, if they've written e.g. "Hi John", with no comma, and you reply "Hi, John" with a comma, are you impliedly correcting them, which they may not appreciate if they notice it? From a quick glance at work (non-legal) emails, if people I know use a salutation (sometimes they just firstname me with a colon or comma afterwards, sometimes just firstname with no punctuation, sometimes jump right into the substance with no salutation or valediction at the end) it tends to be rather informal and if it's "hi" to use it with no comma, so I reply in kind.

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50 minutes ago, BlockedQuebecois said:

It's technically correct, but most people don't use it that way when opening an email (exception being if it's in the body of the email, and you carry on the sentence). 

But its technically correct in the way that "I'm good" is a technically incorrect way to respond to "how are you?" Sure, if you look at the letter of the grammatical law then the response should be "I'm well", but if you go around correcting people for using the universally accepted, though technically incorrect, form the response is going to stop being "I'm good" and start being "I was good, until you walked in." 

 

If someone from high school saw me on the street and I asked them  how they were and they said "I'm good", I wouldn't bat an eyelid.  But I don't think I'd ever respond to an e-mail from a potential employer asking me how I am with "I'm good." I would probably say "I'm well, thanks, how are you?" If I saw "I'm good" written by a student it probably wouldn't factor much into my decision to hire them or not, but I would probably notice it as being a bit jarring. 

Edited by providence

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7 minutes ago, providence said:

If someone from high school saw me on the street and I asked them  how they were and they said "I'm good", I wouldn't bat an eyelid. And of course "very good" is the proper formal response to "How are you?" in French, Spanish, etc. But I don't think I'd ever respond to an e-mail from a potential employer asking me how I am with "I'm good." I would probably say "I'm well, thanks, how are you?" If I saw "I'm good" written by a student it probably wouldn't factor much into my decision to hire them or not, but I would probably notice it as being a bit jarring. 

Actually, if they're saying "I'm good" as a statement of their self-assessment of their moral health in answer to your question, rather than "I'm well" as a self-assessment of their physical health, it would seem to be not incorrect. Though for reasons including theological and ontological considerations, I have issues with someone asserting their goodness and tend to be suspicious of such.

Also, shouldn't you have written "...I asked them how they are..." rather than "...I asked them how they were...", as the answer to the latter would be "I was good" or "I was well" depending? :twisted:

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5 minutes ago, epeeist said:

I'll just ignore that sentence fragment at the end, shall I?

I was reminded of another issue though, is that if you're replying to someone, and they've done something like written "Hi, John", and you reply more formally with "Dear Mr. Smith", that's something that may be interpreted as a rejection of friendliness. (note that I prefer to use punctuation outside quotation marks but that's another discussion).

More subtly, if they've written e.g. "Hi John", with no comma, and you reply "Hi, John" with a comma, are you impliedly correcting them, which they may not appreciate if they notice it? From a quick glance at work (non-legal) emails, if people I know use a salutation (sometimes they just firstname me with a colon or comma afterwards, sometimes just firstname with no punctuation, sometimes jump right into the substance with no salutation or valediction at the end) it tends to be rather informal and if it's "hi" to use it with no comma, so I reply in kind.

At least somebody knows what a sentence fragment is. I hit "Submit Reply" by accident. You reply in kind? Yeah, I understand the temptation, but it's a slippery slope. If they have poor grammar in other ways, do you adopt their style, too?

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8 minutes ago, kcraigsejong said:

You see, Hi, John is different from Dear John because hi and dear are not the same kind of word. Hi is an interjection just like wow and ugh, and dear is an adjective that modifies John.

I think this is just descriptivism vs. prescriptivism. The assertion 'Hi' is more like 'ugh' than 'Dear' is wildly out of tune with how people speak English (and write emails). When used in a salutation, 'Dear' and 'Hi' are exactly the same kind of word.

It's fine and good to be a prescriptivist -- but maybe not helpful during OCIs. 

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1 minute ago, epeeist said:

 

Also, shouldn't you have written "...I asked them how they are..." rather than "...I asked them how they were...", as the answer to the latter would be "I was good" or "I was well" depending? :twisted:

Now you're just taking the piss.

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13 minutes ago, epeeist said:

Actually, if they're saying "I'm good" as a statement of their self-assessment of their moral health in answer to your question, rather than "I'm well" as a self-assessment of their physical health, it would seem to be not incorrect. Though for reasons including theological and ontological considerations, I have issues with someone asserting their goodness and tend to be suspicious of such.

Also, shouldn't you have written "...I asked them how they are..." rather than "...I asked them how they were...", as the answer to the latter would be "I was good" or "I was well" depending? 

I thought about it and the French/Spanish actually also translates to "very well." That I initially thought of it in my head as "very good" shows how ubiquitous that phrase has become....

I think it would sound weird if you said "I'm good" in a Romance language.

Edited by providence

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1 minute ago, onepost said:

I think this is just descriptivism vs. prescriptivism. The assertion 'Hi' is more like 'ugh' than 'Dear' is wildly out of tune with how people speak English (and write emails). When used in a salutation, 'Dear' and 'Hi' are exactly the same kind of word.

It's fine and good to be a prescriptivist -- but maybe not helpful during OCIs. 

You sound like Sean Spicer telling us not to pay attention to the words Donald Trump says.

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Just now, kcraigsejong said:

Now you're just taking the piss.

 

3 minutes ago, epeeist said:

Actually, if they're saying "I'm good" as a statement of their self-assessment of their moral health in answer to your question, rather than "I'm well" as a self-assessment of their physical health, it would seem to be not incorrect. Though for reasons including theological and ontological considerations, I have issues with someone asserting their goodness and tend to be suspicious of such.

Also, shouldn't you have written "...I asked them how they are..." rather than "...I asked them how they were...", as the answer to the latter would be "I was good" or "I was well" depending? 

Like I said, my English is not perfect.

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1 minute ago, providence said:

 

Like I said, my English is not perfect.

It's better than everyone else's because you learnt the rules. The native speakers in this thread have followed the crowd.

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