Formal Writing Habits

A friend called the other day to offer a suggestion for a blog post.  (I love it when they do.)  And we ended up in a bit of a debate.  Well, half of one anyway since we agreed that there is still a place for formal writing styles.  But disagreed whether the upcoming generations will consider this to be a truth.  Millennials now in the workplace, and those upcoming generations still in school. 

 

Cursive writing seems to be a dying art, saved now for posh invitations.  I’m ok with that, a lot of people say that they can’t read my writing anyway.  So too will it be for formal letter templates?  The salutation, indentation of a new paragraph – or my preferred extra carriage space – full sentences, grammar and punctuation?  (Do these younger people who’ve only known typing on a computer even know what I mean by carriage space?)

public domain image

public domain image

 

I am betting on the continuation of business letter formatting.  It is not a just because sort of thing, there is logic behind these rules.  Formal address is respectful and the format helps the eyes and the mind absorb the message where big blocks of unpunctuated text make the eyes and brain balk.

 

Everything old is new again – this has been rediscovered over and over as humans have evolved on this planet.  Formal styling in writing will see a resurgence.  The content of a message must be packaged carefully, in order to retain its meaning. 

 

Your turn – what say you?  Don’t let your younger self that struggled with all the little rules speak here; think about reading comprehension, eye strain, possibility of misunderstanding.  (Hey, if we could maintain this strict formatting using a typewriter doing it on computers is a breeze…  My friend isn’t here to push her side of the debate…)

 

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2 thoughts on “Formal Writing Habits

  1. Dan Antion September 17, 2013 at 9:10 am Reply

    I am OK with the loss of cursive, although it is a little sad. I feel so good when we receive well written cards from friends. Nothing says “I actually thought about this” more than a hand-written message in a card. If business formal writing goes away, I hope it waits until after I retire. I don’t think it will though, as long as the people doing the hiring are still faced with finding an easy way to eliminate 2/3 of the resumes – poor grammar/spelling/language – trash can.

    • Beth Anne Reed September 17, 2013 at 9:33 am Reply

      I agree that a hand written note in the mail is an unexpected pleasure, Dan. (Though I have had folks tell me my handwriting is hard to read at times…) Glad you are with me that there is value to the formal business note.

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