Saturday, July 12, 2008

Greeting Grammar

I've noticed that most people start off emails with "Hi Bob,". I suspect they're treating "hi" as a less endearing replacement for "dear" in "Dear Bob,". Technically, "dear" is an adjective describing "Bob" while "hi" stands on its own and is not part of the direct address. I prefer the more correct salutation: "Hi, Bob."

Who is the most grammatically correct social network? Facebook, Plaxo Pulse, and Flickr get this wrong, by my standards, in their automated emails. Twitter gets it right.


Blogger Sam said...

Hi Bob,

I think that you have to roll with de facto standards.

Sam :)

12:19 PM  
Blogger Mark Mahieu said...

Shatner, had, it, right, YEARS, before, twitter.

2:33 PM  
Blogger Matt R said...

I've noticed that many programmers care a lot about this sort of thing. Perhaps a heightened awareness of the details of punctuation is an occupational hazard.

The really important question, though, is how to punctuate "Hello world"...

3:31 PM  
Blogger Bob said...

@matt: I forgot about that one, but I notice the missing comma every time. The correct form is "Hello, world!"

4:43 PM  
Blogger Sam said...

Amusingly, I actually do use

"Hello, world!"

5:18 PM  
Blogger EscVector said...

You must have a copy of Eats, Shoots and Leaves. What about the word Methodology? Nobody uses this correctly. Methodology is the study of methods just as Anthropology is the study of humanity. "Our Methodology" should simply be "Our method" in most cases. There.. got that off my chest.

7:27 PM  
Blogger Bob said...

Thanks for the tip, EscVector. I added it to my Amazon wish list:

7:41 PM  
Blogger Staff Software Engineer at Google said...

Hi EscVector,

Methodology has two meanings according the Merriam-Webster dictionary:

1 : a body of methods, rules, and postulates employed by a discipline : a particular procedure or set of procedures

2 : the analysis of the principles or procedures of inquiry in a particular field

I'm pretty sure that Martin Fowler uses the first defintion.

However, you do have a point that method would be more appropriate in many situations. The same can probably be said for the use of the word refactor, when the work restructure is more apt.

10:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Another odd one is the use of functionality instead of function.

10:29 PM  
Blogger Nan said...

There is disagreement here. I lean toward no comma on informal hi greeting, especially in emails or short notes. Best test of grammar is your ear. Hello, Bob you can hear it. Hi Bob not so much.
Another consenting wordsmith's opinion:

4:15 PM  
Blogger Bob Armour said...

Given the disturbingly large proportion of programmers who don't know the difference between 'your' & 'you're' or 'there', 'their' & 'they're', I'm not surprised that the correct usage of 'Hi, Bob' is such a rarity.

Best regards,

5:55 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

I think the punctuation sign required hasn't been invented yet.
Comma doesn't really work for me; it makes things look slower than they sound.
I'd go with " Hi! Bob. "

Speaking of grammar.. Was that "Who" correct? :)
> Who is the most grammatically correct social network?


11:52 PM  
Blogger Ray Ryan said...

Funny. I've always preferred "God damn it, Bob!"

2:26 PM  
Blogger Bob said...

Oh, rjrjr... how I miss working with you.

2:37 PM  
Blogger Tim said...

If memory serves me correctly, you slept through English class. Mr. Weiss would be proud.

5:54 AM  
Blogger Barbara Gavin said...

How about the all-purpose ubiquitous hyphen?
When in doubt - drop in a hyphen or two.

8:39 AM  
Blogger Bob said...

I've definitely been guilty of hyphen abuse.

9:00 AM  

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