Remember The Perfect People I whined wrote about last week? Well, it turns out I’m not quite done with them yet. In fact, one of them emailed me this morning. Here’s a perfect example of the kind of thing I was talking about (my comments in red):

From: A Perfect Person
To: Amber


[Greatings? Greatings? WTF?]

I simply had to write about the article ‘HOW EMAIL IS RUINING YOUR WRITING’ that is currently the lead article on your website. 

[Now be honest, you didn’t have to, did you? You just wanted to. Why? Who knows!]

I was amused that the writer of the article has not attached his/her name to the article

[I am glad you were amused. I like being amusing. But to answer your point, it’s my website, so you can assume I wrote it. Proceed.]

and that there were so many errors.  The very first paragraph has this written in it: I don’t go anywhere without my laptop, find myself constantly making…  Shouldn’t that be I find myself…… 

[Not really, no. Full sentence: “I don’t go anywhere without my laptop, find myself constantly making reference reference to “friends” I only know from blogs, and start going through serious withdrawal if I’m away from my email for any length of time.” You could say that there should be another “I” in there, but I’d say you’re nitpicking just for the sheer hell of it. Oh, and FYI? We tend to use a curly symbol like this to indicate a question: ? Isn’t that pretty? Say it is pretty.]

In the next paraghraph the word realize is spelled realise. 

[AAAARGH! I take it you’re in the US then? Great, here we go. Did you really have no idea that we in the UK spell some words differently? Really? UK spellings tend to use ‘S’ rather than ‘Z’. This is not incorrect: it’s perfectly correct UK usage, and if you call yourself a writer then you should know that. If you don’t know that, then you’re really in no position to be writing bitchy emails to other people, and I’d strongly suggest you bear that in mind next time you decide to try and make yourself look smart. What’s a “paraghraph” by the way?]

Then there is this line: “Every time I get one of these emails, I’ll sign in frustration….”  What are they signing again?  Oh, right emails or maybe frustration? 

[OK, ya got me there. Typos, GOD. That was really funny the way you said “What are they signing again?” though. Where do you get your one-liners from? I’ll be making the jokes around here from now on though, ‘kay? I am “amusing”, remember?]

Here’s another questionable line: “and they sometimes don’t even have time for vowels (Poor old vowels!), missing them out altogether and writing in txt spk instead.”  How about replacing missing, perhaps using the word leaving.

[How about using a question mark at the end of your question? I’m not going to tell you about this again, you know.]

Oh well I notice that the writer mentions “those old-fashioned rules of good manners and writing etiquette,” yet says nothing about using a proofing a communication,

[What’s a “proofing a communication”? I mean, you’re the expert here, pray enlighten me. Where would I get one of these and how would I use it?]

proper grammar or spelling.  Could there be a reason for this?  Perhaps the writer has become to “lazy” to use the word processing program.

[Were you too lazy to add the second “o” to that “to” there?]

I for one do not even send an email without first constructing it in my word processor program,

[Hee! What, not ever? Not even this one? Go on, admit it: you sent this one without first constructing it in your word processor program, didn’t you?]

checking and reading it over.  Then I paste it into the email text box.  That may be the reason that no matter how much time I spend looking for freelance writing jobs I still find myself reading the work of other writers instead of writing myself.

[Or here’s a thought: maybe it’s because you can’t spell words like “too” and “greetings” correctly?]

<Name removed to protect the guilty>

[Kudos, though, for not taking the “anonymous” route. I get a lot of that, too. I would have liked it if you’d provided a link to your website, though, so that I could provide you with some “helpful” comments. I’m all heart, me.]

Tut, tut, Perfect People, surely you can do better than this? (Note: not an invitation to try.) I’m actually quite disappointed in you: you made it way too easy for me to flame your ass off with that little missive. Having fun there in your glass houses? Better watch out for those stones!

Now, I have to admit I feel a little bit mean for publishing this here, because, in the writer’s defense, when she received my response (not quite the response given above. But almost) she immediately sent back a grovelling apology. And there’s a certain pathos to this message: the way it starts off all snarky and smart-ass, and then winds down to its sad little “no matter how much time I spend looking for freelance writing jobs I still find myself reading the work of other writers instead of writing myself.” Ah, here we have the crux of the matter, I suspect…

As I said in my response, though: if you’re going to criticise other people like that, you better be damn sure you know what you’re talking about, and you better be absolutely sure that you yourself are beyond reproach. If you don’t, then you’re just going to make yourself look stupid – or I will. And if you give it out? You better be prepared to get it back.

I know I’ve said it before, but it obviously bears repeating, so I’ll say it again: I sometimes make mistakes when I write. This is not news to me. If you make no mistakes when you write you may feel free to tear me apart as rudely as you like. I’ll obviously still think you’re an asshole for doing it, but meh, who cares what I think, right? I mean, I mis-typed “sigh” as “sign”, and God knows, no one’s ever done that before. If you suspect there’s even the slightest chance that you yourself may actually be fallible too, though, do me a favour and keep your snarky comments to yourself. Because you know me – I certainly won’t keep them to myself!

  1. Don't let it get to you too much.

    I wrote a letter to a local paper once in an on-going row about grammar and had a terrible letter from an elderly gentleman ripping my correspondence apart.

    I shoved it in a drawer and the thought of reading it again filled me with despair. What had I been thinking? Oh hang on, the men in white coats are here.

  2. Bravo Amber!

    Hear hear.I can not believe that "perfect person" had the temerity to tear you apart like that when their grammar is far from perfect.It's laughable, it really is.

    I despair of people like this, seriously. Despair. I had someone post on my freelance blog telling me |(after reading my review of The Magic Numbers' new single) that I obviously had "no clue" about music, and that I obviuosly had "really bad taste". What???! I posted back saying please refrain from posting personal attacks.

    So, rest assured you're not alone hun 🙁

    Jen x

  3. It never fails to amuse me how awful the nitpicking can be, and it doesn't matter how thick-skinned you try to become, it still hurts. The sarcastic corrections of English into American English always make me laugh. Especially the one on The Bag Lady about us 'constantly misspelling' the word jewelry as jewellery. Ummm…

    I'm going to email you the comment that I deleted off Shoewawa the other day, it might be good for a laugh.

  4. Sorry, this is O/T but is there a problem with your feed? Your entries haven't been showing up on my friends page for weeks now (not that I mind coming straight to your blog, obviously :P).

  5. Hmmm, actually, it hasn't been appearing on my friends page either, Leigh – I didn't even notice until you mentioned it. Will check it out and see what's wrong. If, of course, I can work out how to do that 🙂

    Everyone else – thanks for the support. I am determined that this is the last time the idiots get to wind me up, but still, you never know! As Gemma says, no matter how hard you try, it still gets to you sometimes – especially the "Y'all don't spell right in the UK!" comments. Grrr!

  6. Re-not spelling right in the UK. This.Really.Infuriates.Me.

    Yes, we *do* spell correctly, it's how *we* spell it. Grrr.

    And that's all I have to say on that matter hehe.

  7. That's one healthy Fisking right there.
    When friends of friends see an article of mine and there's some minor grammatical grey area, they're straight on the interweb to inform me that that 'that' should be 'which'.
    Or something.

  8. I admire your self-control. If someone did that to me, I would probably send them an email along the lines of “It’s none of your business how I write on my own blog so just get the hell off my case!!!” So, I applaud you!

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