Very odd title I know. I was trying to play on the word apologist but I don’t think it worked.
I’ve lost track of the amount of times I’ve seen this block of text, or something similar, at the end of an email message:
Sent from my iPhone. Please excuse brevity, terseness, and typos
My response to that – as a fan of the English language – is no, why should I?
I think we can all agree that, to different extents, technology has made us lazy. We abbreviate a lot more than we used to… we sometimes revert 2 txt spk which I personally h8… and we send a lot more emails, texts and instant messages in a day than we ever did before.
But all that means that technology IS an acceptable part of life now. No-one is special or unique because they have a phone with a touchscreen keypad rather than a keyboard. So using technology as an excuse for not being accurate, or being terse in an email? Sorry, I don’t buy it.
Sure if you’re a journalist in a war-zone with bombs raining down, I think we’d forgive a bit of brevity. Actually wouldn’t it be great to see an email signature that said “Sent from my iPhone in the middle of Iraq. Constantly have the s**t bombed out of me so, you know, sorry if I hit a few incorrect keys, dude.”
But short of that scenario, the pedant in me can’t find room for an excuse. Yes I blog about the English language so I’m likely to be a bit more fussy about such things. But I really do believe in standards, and I think they’re taking a dive with all this fast-and-loose emailing. One starts to wonder where the everyday English language will be in another five or 10 years if this is how it’s being treated now.
And consider this – if you were to make mistakes in an email typed from your computer, would you have an apologist signature there too?
“Sent from my computer keyboard. Please excuse typos… I’m just a bit rubbish”