Because my own reaction to the shared email was immediate and strong, I was surprised that no one mentioned the issue that struck me right between the eyes. Perhaps courtesy demanded that this particular issue be ignored, particularly since the name of the email correspondent had been included. For that reason, I decided to withhold my comment, i.e., not have it appear in conjunction with the email. But I think there's an important point to be considered. Hence I'll make my remarks here, where they won't be associated with anyone by name. They are relevant to everyone, anyway.
The email in question consisted of only 98 words, including the greeting and signature. In the body of the letter there were just seven sentences. But in that short bit of correspondence, there were no less than eight spelling errors and seven errors of grammar and/or punctuation.
Call me the grammar police if you will, but this email was sent on behalf of an organization that hopes to get genealogists to hand over their research for preservation and sharing. Don't get me wrong--I think preservation and sharing is great, but I would be very reluctant to give my research to an organization for which correctness is apparently a nonexistent priority.
Earlier in the month, the subject of poor grammar and the resulting lack of credibility had come up in another context. I won't go into it further except to say I'm so very thankful for the teachers who taught me how to use English correctly, and for the schools which deemed that an educational priority. It is, by far, the most essential skill I learned in school.
I've been working on three books this month:
- a photo book about a place I enjoyed almost daily in 2005-2006. Selecting photos for this one was fun, but drawing them together into a cohesive book is harder than I thought it would be. In the end, this may be two or three books instead of just one.
- the dad book. I tried using a book of interview questions to get my dad talking, and used an iPhone app to unobtrusively record what he said. That didn't go along as easily as I'd have liked, although he was willing to answer questions. With my dad, it works best to ask the right question at the right moment. Spontaneity is key. Taking notes or asking questions from a list is like throwing a soggy blanket on a match. I totally get that... I'm the same way.
- a compendium of materials about Reverend Samuel Stone. Currently this book stands at 174 pages, and in the interest of avoiding burn-out on the topic, I've taken a little break from it before deciding whether to cut pages or add more. Either way, my deadline for this one is the end of February.
I haven't vacuumed yet this year . . . . . you got a problem with that?