The 8 New Rules Of Modern Grammar And Communication

Between you and I, last week was National Letter Writing Week. I was going to write a long email letter to a friend but how could I when I no longer understand the rules? Of course, I should have said "between you and me," but many folks would have thought that sounded wrong.

Or I could have texted her first. I might have written, "Long time no see." Wait. I hear that's also wrong. Apparently a period at the end of a text is unfriendly. It would be better to use an exclamation mark. Actually, several exclamations followed by a string of emojis would be the best way to reach out.

Pardon me. I'm having an old English teacher and senior moment. Last week, my daughter had to teach her nine-year-old daughter how to use my landline phone. That's right, my very capable granddaughter had no idea how to push the numeric buttons or get a dial tone. In fact, she had never heard a dial tone before. When she mastered those tasks and her call went through, she spoke to the back of the handset. OMG!!! (And I'm not shouting -- just being modern and friendly.)

So what are some of the new rules for modern communication? Here are eight of my favorites:

  1. Landlines are passé and only useful to telemarketers.

  • Don't call someone on the phone unless it's really important. No one likes to chat anymore and folks see phone calls as an invasion of their privacy.
  • Don't expect anyone to read an email. The main purpose of email is to fill an inbox to the point that it is impossible to keep up. If you send an important email, you will have to remind the recipient to look for it.
  • Texts work but follow the new rules. No punctuation. Incomplete sentences preferred. Keep it short and add emojis for a friendly touch.
  • Everyone agrees that grammatical agreement is unnecessary. You can say "Parent must read their child's report card" or "Everyone needs to find their seat." I guess that's less awkward. Saying "his" is sexist and "his/her" looks funny. It also includes people who want to be referred to with the pronoun "they," although I'm not sure if that's singular or plural.
  • Remember when the rule was two spaces after a period for a new sentence? Gone. Even I don't do that anymore.
  • Do not underline book titles either. Use italics. I guess it looks nicer.
  • Pronouns no longer have to be correct, especially if combined with nouns or if it just sounds better. So it's fine to say things like, "Me and my friend went out to lunch" or (as President Clinton once said) "Give Al Gore and I a chance to bring America back."
  • Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell recently said, "I like many Americans are glad Obama is almost done being President." Well, Mitch, not only do I disagree with you but your pronoun "I" does not agree with your verb "are." I guess if presidents and politicians and journalists and news commentators use new rules for grammar and communication, it behooves my friends and I (ouch, that was painful) to get on the bandwagon.

    Earlier on Huff/Post50:

    What Should Kids Be Learning These Days?