You are not freaking E.E. Cummings. English usage exists for a REASON, damn it!

And that reason is to help the writer communicate his or her thesis.

thread currently running in Great Debates has aroused this bit of ire. I’m reluctant to link to it, because it is not my intent to start a pile-on on the OP, and the OP is hardly the only person on the 'net who is guilty of these behaviors:

*abandoning capitals
*hitting the enter key randomly rather than at the end of paragraphs
*making not the slightest effort to compose entire sentences
*using ellipses not to indicate excisions in quotations, but instead strewing them about as randomly as the enter key

To everybody who does this: STOP! You don’t impress anyone with your typographic creativity. You make your text harder to read and harder to understand, and you annoy people who might be on your side. In short–stop being stupid.

I think I read the first five or so lines before giving up to confusion. It’s possible I got an idea of the point, but I doubt it.

I can understand the need for brevity when composing text messages, and I even find it acceptable in communications where clarity is not crucial, like IMs or e-amil between friends. Trying to have a debate, it’s self-defeating.

you should care about the poor cockroaches

we have the right to our opinions
and i think you are like the bosss readers
who are interested in technical
details when the main question is
whether the stuff is
literature or not

You’ll pay for this, Archy. Oh, how you’ll pay.

A grammar & formatting pit rant. Great! Two for the price of one. I guess it’s safe to assume this unnamed perpetrator spelled everything correctly, or we could’ have had a perfect trifecta.

i totally


with you on this. :stuck_out_tongue:

I’m too chicken to do spelling rants. Gaudere is pitiless. Even my usage rant contained typos, for which I blame the foreign kid.

Ah, Tibor…

Gaudere attacks only the unwary. I have skewered many a spelling error with nary a slip of mine own. So there.

It’s e.e. cummings to you, bub.

I agree on all counts, except for the ellipses…you’ll never get me to abandon my precious tri-dots…

I agree, too, and cannot explain the horror I felt when I once gently corrected an online acquaintance who had misused “you’re” and was told that “it doesn’t matter bcause were not in skool.”


On another forum I frequent, we call posts like this “William Carlos” <subject of the forum>.

I’m mostly posting from home w/a wireless (cranky) keyboard (confess that I"ve spilled chardoney into it a time or two, but I’m sure that has nothing to do w/it). So, often the shift key doesn’t ‘take’, and a few missing letters here and there. I do, try to use correct punctuation, capitalization etc. The total lack of capitalization bugs me as well, as does the lack of paragraph breaks.

But not apparently to E. E. Cummings himself. –

i c u r anoyed y?

wee hav awl seen this b4


y cant’ u just get on wiv it like

If a post contains more than one of the errors listed in your OP, I lose interest and stop reading. Life’s too short to read bad writing.

Random spacing and formatting is pretty low on my list of textual complaints. It’s not nearly as common as using an apostrophe in a possessive pronoun, or saying jive when you mean jibe.

And capitals. A lot of other languages aren’t as capital-happy as we are. My rule is that, if someone writes me without capitals and little concern for grammar, I write them back without capitals and little concern for grammar. It’s all about knowing your audience.

I do agree that we’ve come to a general consensus on this board to use capitals and show concern for grammar, but the person you’re referring to is a guest if I’m not mistaken.

I agree that he signed his name that way. I figured I was in for a drubbing whichever way I went.

Sadly, I must point out that the phrase “general consensus” is redundant. It’s as bad as “consensus of opinion.”

Somewhat less sadly, I point out that such luminaries as Anaamika & Aunt Beast are now guests. With free posting, it’s a bit harder to assess who is and is not a newbie.

Far more sadly I admit that my wife has similar online posting habits. But at least the boards she frequents have a different culture than we.

piss off