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Dear vs Hi - OCI process

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9 minutes ago, kcraigsejong said:

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?

Hey, anyone who likes (or liked...) the Simpsons should know what a sentence fragment is:

I'm not going to misspell a word merely because they did (though I suppose depending upon the situation I might use a synonym to avoid correcting them?). And if they email me with no salutation or valediction, I may reply in kind, though I will tend to add at least a "Hi John" (no comma...) to my response even if they sent me something that went straight to the substance of the message with no greeting, as I don't like being quite that informal. I certainly wouldn't try to imitate their style, both as a matter of honesty, and because it might seem to be lampooning them. But I would try to avoid undue formality if they were informal, or vice versa.

9 minutes 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. 

Actually, you want to be a prescriptivist, it's just that you want to match what the person you're emailing chooses to use, i.e. their prescriptive formulation. So if you don't know what it is, if in doubt usually more formal is better than less formal - so I would lean towards avoiding "Hi" as being particularly informal. Maybe "Hello" or "Greetings" if you can't stomach "Dear"? And for a male addressing a female, does the salutation "Dear" have negative connotations notwithstanding its technical appropriateness?

8 minutes ago, kcraigsejong said:

Now you're just taking the piss.

:rolleyes:

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17 minutes ago, kcraigsejong said:

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

 

22 minutes ago, kcraigsejong said:

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

This is a great illustration of why 'Hi, soandso, ...' might be a bit of a red flag. 

I agree that mimicking is a a good rule of thumb for salutations.

 

EDIT: If you get off on/are interested in the grammar wars, this essay by David Foster Wallace is a fun read (cliche as DFW essays are).

Edited by onepost

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7 minutes ago, kcraigsejong said:

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

I can be a stickler for the rules. Every time I see someone use the word "fulsome" just as an alternative way to say "full" it gives me a little fit. But I recognize that I've lost the battle at this point, and the word no longer means what it used to. And I probably would avoid using the word properly now, because most people wouldn't get the right meaning.

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17 minutes ago, providence said:

 

Like I said, my English is not perfect.

Hmm.

"Like I said wrote, my English is not perfect." [quotation altered for demonstrative purposes]

:twisted:

 

13 minutes ago, kcraigsejong said:

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

Hmm.

"...learnt learned the rules." [quotation altered for demonstrative purposes]

"... In the U.S. and Canada, meanwhile, learnt appears only once for approximately every 500 instances of learned, and it’s generally considered colloquial...." [emphasis added]

http://grammarist.com/spelling/learned-learnt/

Though this is more arguable, and from what I recall of your background and given your use of the expression "taking the piss" I assume you're adopting a more British style; and I wouldn't criticize anyway were it not amusing (to me at least...). I often use less common words, e.g. I sometimes use "fortnightly" as alternatives like "biweekly" or "bimonthly" are subject to confusion (the former, every two weeks or twice a week, the latter every two months or twice a month) - though I don't use "sennight" as "week" is perfectly serviceable. And I use "Hallowe'en" not "Halloween". I tend not to use accents for English words though, such as "naïveté", I'll tend to just use "naivety" unless I'm really taking the piss.

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22 minutes ago, onepost said:

 

This is a great illustration of why 'Hi, soandso, ...' might be a bit of a red flag. 

I agree that mimicking is a a good rule of thumb for salutations.

 

EDIT: If you get off on/are interested in the grammar wars, this essay by David Foster Wallace is a fun read (cliche as DFW essays are).

Actually, the DFW piece is more of a review than an essay...

As he is giving a positive review of that Garner book, and just to bring things back to law for a moment, Bryan Garner writes a regular column for the ABA Journal (he also coauthored a book with the late Justice Scalia; I had previously commented in the off-topic thread about "Nimrod" and its different meanings pre- and post- Bugs Bunny using the term as a sarcastic insult for Elmer Fudd).

http://www.abajournal.com/topic/bryan_garner_on_words/

I'll give a link to part 2 of a quiz re the Garner/Scalia book, question #13 involves Nimrod as raising an issue of legislative interpretation and changing meanings of words from when a statute was first written and denoting one problem with descriptivist definitions:

"...13. A cryptic 1920 state statute requires all “nimrods” to have licenses from the Wildlife Board. Oddly, this brief statute has no further context. A would-be claimant seeks to invalidate the statute as violating equal protection on the grounds that a statute cannot single out people with low IQs for a licensing requirement. The claimant cites current desktop dictionaries showing that the prevailing meaning of the word nimrod is “simpleton, moron” and points to polls showing that people under the age of 45 uniformly understand this to be the only meaning of the word. In a motion to dismiss, the state attorney general points out that Nimrod was a famous hunter in the Old Testament and that nimrod has traditionally been understood to denote a hunter. It was the only meaning the word bore through the mid-20th century. Soon after the advent of Looney Tunes, the popular Bugs Bunny began calling his would-be nemesis—the dim-witted hunter Elmer Fudd—Nimrod, always in a derogatory tone. An audience more familiar with Bugs Bunny than with the Old Testament took the word to describe a dimwit. Descriptivist dictionaries have duly recorded this new sense, so that nimrod will doubtless continue to mean dimwit long after Elmer Fudd is less well-remembered than Nimrod himself. The state’s motion to dismiss is now before you, a state judge. Do you allow the lawsuit to proceed, gauging the contemporary meaning of nimrod, or do you dismiss?..." [emphasis added]

http://www.abajournal.com/magazine/article/a_text_on_textualism_part_2_garner_and_scalia_offer_more_outtakes

 

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I was just about the edit my post to point that out! I haven't read either of the Garner/Scalia books, but I want to. That 'nimrod' example is great.

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53 minutes ago, onepost said:

 

This is a great illustration of why 'Hi, soandso, ...' might be a bit of a red flag. 

 

Thanks for the link, but how so? 

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I was being mean. Which was unnecessary, and I'm sorry. 

My original point was that, regardless of grammatical correctness, the humble law student ought to prefer the more conventional salutation ('Hi X,') because the grammatically-correct-but-somewhat-unconventional salutation ('Hi, X,') may leave the impression that the student is a bit of a pedant (or, worse, implicitly offering a correction). This was then illustrated by the comparison to Sean Spicer and the somewhat-sneering 'crowd following' comment -- in response to a trivial disagreement over proper usage of 'Hi.'  

Anyway, 'Hi, X,' isn't a red flag. People should use whatever salutation they feel comfortable with. Mimicking is a good rule of thumb, when uncertain. Bleh. 

Edited by onepost

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2 hours ago, kcraigsejong said:

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

What rules? English isn't like French, where a governing body determines the proper way to speak and write. English speaking people set the rules themselves through agreed upon usage. If enough people adopt a new word or different usage then that becomes the correct usage. There are no definitive "rules." 

 

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The irony of this whole conversation is that it's taking place during a discussion about email, a clearly "incorrect" word that English speaking people have adopted through common acceptance to replace the technically correct electronic mail. 

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21 minutes ago, BlockedQuebecois said:

The irony of this whole conversation is that it's taking place during a discussion about email, a clearly "incorrect" word that English speaking people have adopted through common acceptance to replace the technically correct electronic mail. 

I tend to use "e-mail" myself, with the hyphen. And I'll say e.g. "five o'clock" not "five of the clock". And I use the aforementioned "Hallowe'en" not "All Hallows' Eve" unless, of course, I feel like using the latter.

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1 hour ago, epeeist said:

Hmm.

"Like I said wrote, my English is not perfect." [quotation altered for demonstrative purposes]

 

Hmm.

 

I don't think it is improper to refer to written communications as "saying" something, especially in this age of using e-mail, text messaging, Facebook and Facebook messenger, Twitter, What'sapp, etc. to communicate with friends, family and even clients. There are many people with whom I communicate in writing far more than through verbal means. My friend in another province just recently sent me a text message saying that she got engaged, and when I was telling people about it, I said "I heard from Susannah that she's getting married" or "Susannah told me that she's getting married." I didn't say "Susannah wrote to me and told me..." or "Susannah texted me that..." I think most people do the same thing. I've even heard judges say in court "The transcript says...." I have never heard "The transcript reads..." or "The witness' statement reads...."

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34 minutes ago, epeeist said:

I tend to use "e-mail" myself, with the hyphen. And I'll say e.g. "five o'clock" not "five of the clock". And I use the aforementioned "Hallowe'en" not "All Hallows' Eve" unless, of course, I feel like using the latter.

Me too - e-mail, not email.

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37 minutes ago, providence said:

I don't think it is improper to refer to written communications as "saying" something, especially in this age of using e-mail, text messaging, Facebook and Facebook messenger, Twitter, What'sapp, etc. to communicate with friends, family and even clients. There are many people with whom I communicate in writing far more than through verbal means. My friend in another province just recently sent me a text message saying that she got engaged, and when I was telling people about it, I said "I heard from Susannah that she's getting married" or "Susannah told me that she's getting married." I didn't say "Susannah wrote to me and told me..." or "Susannah texted me that..." I think most people do the same thing. I've even heard judges say in court "The transcript says...." I have never heard "The transcript reads..." or "The witness' statement reads...."

While of course I wasn't being serious, and I use said and heard etc. in what I write ( :rolleyes: ) on this board, at least with your last examples, the transcript is the written recordation of something that was said verbally, so one might argue that there is a good reason for using verbs that reference speech or hearing when referring to it.

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4 minutes ago, epeeist said:

While of course I wasn't being serious, and I use said and heard etc. in what I write ( ) on this board, at least with your last examples, the transcript is the written recordation of something that was said verbally, so one might argue that there is a good reason for using verbs that reference speech or hearing when referring to it.

Yeah but "the transcript" is a bunch of pages of paper, and they can't speak and "say" anything. "The witness said..." makes sense, but the transcript can't "say" anything, if we're being sticklers for proper English. :)

Edited by providence

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4 hours ago, BlockedQuebecois said:

What rules? English isn't like French, where a governing body determines the proper way to speak and write. English speaking people set the rules themselves through agreed upon usage. If enough people adopt a new word or different usage then that becomes the correct usage. There are no definitive "rules." 

 

When your desire to relax rules interferes with meaning, I revert to the rule. 

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13 minutes ago, kcraigsejong said:

When your desire to relax rules interferes with meaning, I revert to the rule. 

Again, what rules? Could you point me to the definitive statement of the rules of the English language? Do that and I'll happily adopt them.  

And really? You're confused when you receive an email that says "Hi Craig"? You find that interferes with the meaning? That trick of the English language is too much for you to comprehend? You sit, befuddled, staring at your computer screen in a state of increasing anxiety as you attempt to elucidate what could possibly be meant by this email from a friend? "Who could they possibly have meant this email for" you wonder, as your heart rate quickens?

If your comprehension of English is stymied by something so basic, then I have to wonder how you managed to get a law degree from a British school...

Edited by BlockedQuebecois

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1 minute ago, BlockedQuebecois said:

Again, what rules? Could you point me to the definitive statement of the rules of the English language? Do that and I'll happily adopt them.  

And really? You're confused when you receive an email that says "Hi Craig"? You find that interferes with the meaning? That trick of the English language is too much for you to comprehend? You sit, befuddled, staring at your computer screen in a state of increasing anxiety as you attempt to elucidate what could possibly be meant by this email from a friend? If your comprehension of English is stymied by something so basic I have to wonder how you managed to get a law degree from a British school...

 

 

 There are rules for the English language. I'm not sure why you're saying there aren't. English has grammatical rules and conventions. Now, I agree that some of those may be evolving or less clear-cut, but there are rules.

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35 minutes ago, providence said:

 There are rules for the English language. I'm not sure why you're saying there aren't. English has grammatical rules and conventions. Now, I agree that some of those may be evolving or less clear-cut, but there are rules.

There aren't definitive rules. English isn't French – no organization has been given the right to outline the rules of the language (though, as an aside, the existence of "rules" in French could also be debated, since the academy only publishes guidelines that are non-binding for both the government and citizens). Instead, we form our grammatical rules through common adoption. Those rules are sometimes recorded in the form of dictionaries or style guides, but none of those are binding in any sense of the word. English, by its very nature, doesn't have "rules".

We do have conventions, and we often write down current conventions and call them "rules" or "guidelines", but the actual decision-making of whether something is grammatically correct or incorrect is done by English speakers as a group (or sub-group). That's why I've repeatedly said that words belong to their users, and if enough people choose to use the language a certain way then that way becomes correct, see, for example, the changing acceptance of the singular they, which used to be quite popular, lost its popularity and became "grammatically incorrect", and has since seen its popularity rise again. No organizing body of the English language flip-flopped on the suitability of the singular they. Instead, English speakers decided the singular they was unnecessary, scrapped it, and then revived it. 

Besides, imagine how boring the language would be if we stuck with Craig's imagination of the world, where the breaking of rules is strictly forbidden: all of Shakespeare's works would have to be burned; we wouldn't have words like "Orwellian"; we'd all be saying "might have" instead of "may have"; and the words "destruct" and "escalate" would not exist. For causes you care about, we certainly wouldn't be talking about "racialized" or "ethnic" people, and "feminism" wouldn't be a thing. I don't know about you, but I'm quite happy to speak a language in which users as a whole get to determine the rules and shape the language.

But hey, if I'm wrong and there is a definitive list of rules of the English language, officially sanctioned by the Crown, that says emails shall be addressed "Hi, providence," then feel free to send it my way. I'm happy to be proven wrong (and it would be awfully helpful).

Edited by BlockedQuebecois

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1 minute ago, BlockedQuebecois said:

There aren't definitive rules. English isn't French – no organization has been given the right to outline the rules of the language (though, as an aside, the existence of "rules" in French could also be debated, since the academy only publishes guidelines that are non-binding for both the government and citizens). Instead, we form our grammatical rules through common adoption. Those rules are sometimes recorded in the form of dictionaries or style guides, but none of those are binding in any sense of the word. English, by its very nature, doesn't have "rules".

We do have conventions, and we often write down current conventions and call them "rules" or "guidelines", but the actual decision-making of whether something is grammatically correct or incorrect is done by English speakers as a group (or sub-group). That's why I've repeatedly said that words belong to their users, and if enough people choose to use the language a certain way then that way becomes correct, see, for example, the changing acceptance of the singular they, which used to be quite popular, lost its popularity and became "grammatically incorrect", and has since seen its popularity rise again. No organizing body of the English language flip-flopped on the suitability of the singular they. Instead, English speakers decided the singular they was unnecessary, scrapped it, and then revived it. 

Besides, imagine how boring the language would be if we stuck with Craig's imagination of the world, where the breaking of rules is strictly forbidden: all of Shakespeare's works would have to be burned; we wouldn't have words like "Orwellian"; we'd all be saying "might have" instead of "may have"; and the words "destruct" and "escalate" would not exist. For causes you care about, we certainly wouldn't be talking about "racialized" or "ethnic" people, and "feminism" wouldn't be a thing. I don't know about you, but I'm quite happy to speak a language in which users as a whole get to determine the rules and shape the language.

But hey, if I'm wrong and there is a definitive list of rules of the English language, officially sanctioned by the Crown, that says emails shall be addressed "Hi, providence," then feel free to send it my way. I'm happy to be proven wrong (and it would be awfully helpful).

There are some rules, though. There are rules for plurals and singular. There are rules for capitalization. There are conjugations of verbs that are always correct ("I is" may be slang or even accepted as AAVE but it is not considered grammatically correct for a factum, for example.) 

 What you're talking about is how the rules are made and whether they are binding, but every language has to have rules or communications would be nonsensical. 

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