I do not, by any means, consider myself the grammar police.Yes, I do work for the Skiff, and we do care about the grammar used in the articles we print. Personally, however, I don’t walk around correcting every person who uses “Ain’t” or “Where you goin’ to?”
However, there is one case where I do care, and that’s when the person using bad grammar is a professor.
As the photo editor of the Skiff, I am often e-mailing back and forth with both students and professors about photos for the paper. I can’t tell you how many e-mails I get from professors with no capital letters and multiple sentence fragments.
What irks me so much is that I try to be as polite as possible when I send an e-mail to a professor. I use complete sentences, proper punctuation and spelling, and I actually go back and read the message over again to make sure everything is presentable.
So it’s more than a little frustrating to send an e-mail to a professor requesting a photo, open the reply and read something like, “sorry, can’t do it tuesday, will be in class all day. -(insert name here).”
It is almost as though someone were standing behind that professor’s chair with a stopwatch and a gun, demanding that he or she finish the e-mail in less than three seconds.
TCU is an institution that takes pride in being one of the top-ranked schools in Texas. The Skiff publishes stories frequently about some new recognition earned by the university.
The administration can take some credit for this recognition, but what makes TCU a respected institution is highly qualified faculty. Professors at TCU are one of the biggest reasons for these ranks and accolades.
The status of these professionals puts pressure on students to show the proper level of respect, even in an informal e-mail message. It is insulting when these widely known and respected educators cannot extend the same courtesy in response.
Would they address me in person that way? Would they address their colleagues or even other students that way?
In the future, I hope professors will think twice before clicking send on an e-mail containing eight total words (including their name) as a response. Doing so tells the person on the receiving end that the professor on the other end doesn’t respect or care about what has been said, and I know this is not the case with the majority of our professors.
I am not a grammar stickler. Inevitably, there will be misspelled words and improper sentence structure in an e-mail. Typos will happen. Even the wrong word will be used on occasion.
There is a difference, however, between the occasional slip and showing absolutely no effort.
I believe in e-mail etiquette. Does it seem like too much to ask for a few capital letters every now and then? I think not.
Photo Editor Emily Goodson is a senior news-editorial major from Athens, who does not hate professors, despite this column.