Sunday, September 13, 2009

The Dreaded LoL

You can use an exclamation mark at the end of a sentence instead of a full stop. You then start the next sentence with a capital letter.
Writing for University Courses - Punctuation

Part of a letter circa 1990
I remember when I saw my first smiley. It was in ASCII and I had no idea what it was. I thought it represented a typo - a colon a hyphen and a right parentheses.

This was circa 1992 when I was introduced to email. A friend explained it to me. He said it was an American invention to show that the content was meant to be humorous, adding that Americans had problems with written English.

Well I don't know about that. But certainly things are in decline on both sides of the Pacific.

Actually I am quite taken with American shorthand in spoken English. I like the way they say, "The cat wants out," when it mews at the door. "Don't even go there" is another great Americanism that we all use now. There's nothing wrong with the language evolving. It's when it evolves backwards (is there a word for reverse Darwinism??) that I get concerned.

I first noticed the dumbing down (another Americanism) of the English language when one of my children referred to quotation marks as "talking marks". Then came the smilies. But at least, in the beginning, these were confined to brief emails, text messages and online chats.

It was with some horror that I learned last week, that the use of these symbols and social acronyms have crept into business letters.

Particularly ridiculous is the LoL which is being used by people who obviously have no idea as to its original meaning. It's now used as a written pause. "I went to the store Lol. I bought some perfume." "It was hot yesterday LoL so we went to the beach." A sort of longhand comma.

"Dear Ms Juliff LoL, pls reply 2 this letter b4 it is 2L8 LoL ROFL nbsp!!!"

OMG! What's the world coming 2?


tim said...


Anonymous said...

I'm sure the youngishers in Oz have even better shorthand now. Like the "talking marks". Says it all, but WTF is nbsp?

Kate said...

No bullsit please

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