So it’s been a while since I posted to this blog- although not for lack of trying… actually, no, no… it’s exactly for a lack of trying.
Between Adam’s ongoing recovery, and my own (until recently) crushing work load- and subsequent battle with the black dog- I just haven’t had the time, the energy or the inclination to waste your time with another ridiculous blog post.
Today I would like to look at that so often ignored (especially on the internet), and more often abused, tool of written communication- grammar. Every day I talk shit for hours in IM windows, contribute to my local Satanic cat-owner forum- and send and receive about a million emails. As such, have picked up on a few ways you can write a really aggressive, annoyed, angry or dismissive email, while keeping your actual wording perfectly ‘above board’.
Mostly I just get these emails, but on the occasion I need to be ‘hard’ with people, I find it’s helpful to have some rules to stick by. Otherwise I’ll end up sending a funny picture from 9Gag and an ascii turd:
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Whether you’re an apostrophe Nazi or a multiple-exclamation-mark wielding loon, the right punctuation and grammar can completely transform your email from being merely passive aggressive, into a work of extraordinary corporate cruelty.
- The annoyed full stop.
Innocuous as it may seem, used correctly, the full stop can make any sentence seem clipped and abrupt….As though the person writing the email doesn’t even have time for your shit right now.
Look at this example:
The trick here is to make your phrases succinct to the point of being terse. One word emails are ideal, but if you do have to write more, try to avoid using any punctuation at all after that first full stop. It will add to the sense of being too rushed to explainallofthisyoufuckingmoron.
- The conspicuously absent greeting
We’ve had email communications for about… I don’t know… a hundred years now?
Better yet, we have IM and WhatsApp and all these ways of quickly communicating with people in short, snappy sentences (which may or may not be rude depending on your use of the full stop as per point 1).
Yet when we write an email, we still do that thing, that small-talk dance where we say ‘Hi’ or ‘Hey’ before we launch into the gist of what we actually want to say. You might even go so far as to extend a cursory, ‘I hope you’re well’, when trying to convince someone you’re not a total asshole.
Why do we still do this when all other forms of electronic communication are making messaging more informal?
Because it’s what separates us from the animals.
So, you need to avoid any gesture of politeness or chit-chat when writing a rude email. However, straight-to-the-point emails may be construed as just being direct , or hurried. You can correct this impression by taking time to just add the recipient’s name, like so:
This makes me feel like a naughty kid being called out for picking my nose in assembly, and as such immediately puts me on my guard. Right up front, you’ve set the tone for your rude email.
- The ominous ellipses
Start an email like this :
And I will actually shit myself. Uh oh… an ellipses? That can’t be good. What did I do to deserve an ellipses? What’s at the end of that ellipses…? Probably a fiery death.
An ellipses indicates a dramatic pause. Addressing someone and then going for the long, pathos-laden pause right off the bat is the real-world equivalent of: “So, I need to tell you something… I’m just not sure how… because the news I have is so bad… that you are literally going to evacuate your bowels when you hear it.”
And that’s it for part 1… I’m sure there’s enough to get started practising with so long.
I’ll be publishing part 2 as soon as I feel like it.
Let me know if you have any other tips for writing ruder emails on Twitter and I might steal your ideas without credit for the next instalment.