Wednesday, August 26, 2009

With friends like this . . .

I recently met up with some former coworkers (from two jobs ago)--and some of their current coworkers, whom I'd never met--for happy hour. One of the people I didn't know asked me what I do for a living. After I explained that I am a freelance writer and editor, one of my friends quipped, "You wouldn't know it to read her emails . . ."

I know he was joking, but his comment bothered me. Even in the most informal emails, I try to be careful with my spelling, grammar and punctuation. Of course, I sometimes make mistakes or neglect to proofread--especially when typing a hurried message to my mom or husband--but for the most part, I treat my email correspondence the same way I treat any of my writing, and try to keep it as error-free as possible.

Why? Because it bugs me to think that people may be reacting to my emails the way I react to others'. Call me judgmental (you wouldn't be the first!), but when I receive an email that is riddled with misspellings, grammatical errors and the like I can't help but wonder why the sender couldn't be bothered to run a quick spell check (and then give the email a quick read-through--spell check isn't perfect!*) before hitting "send."

How careful are you in your electronic correspondence? And how tolerant are you of people who aren't so careful?

*A woman I used to work with at my last job is a terrible speller. To her credit, she admitted her shortcoming and set her Outlook email to auto-correct spelling errors. Unfortunately, her spelling was so bad that sometimes Microsoft couldn't even figure out what she really meant to type. As a result, she ruffled many a client's and colleague's feathers when she sent out messages stating she was "defiantly" doing one thing or another when what she meant to say was "definitely."


Anne said...

I try to be careful, and it bugs me to look at an email later and notice an error of some kind. I'm sure there are plenty I don't notice, unfortunately, as I'm out of practice proofreading, but I do make an effort. My English Lit degree has to be useful for more than random poetry quotes at parties.

Lori said...

Oh hon, I live with a Grammar God. He's fussed at me for exactly this thing - sometimes in emails or talking, I'm not careful. Sometimes, you know, I just don't care. I'm as picky as the God himself, but there are days I just want to let the hair down.

What I think really bugged you was that he said that in front of others. It would be like his saying "I'm a banker" and your responding "Ha! Have you seen his checkbook lately?"

It was a joke that turned into a judgment that embarrassed you in front of all these new people. That's enough to set me on edge, too.