Daily English Discussion–Thursday, July 9, 2009

Hi everyone,

Today I will talk a little bit about email and Internet communication, i.e., writings on Internet forums and the like. This subject is important because, as you know by now, Internet communication is the number-one form of communication on planet Earth.

Email, as well as other forms of Internet communication, is a hybrid between informal talking and a letter on paper. It has the relaxed and friendly tone of talking but also a bit of formality of writing. Here are some points to remember.

— Always address the person by name: This is true in ALL communications–talking, Internet, formal letter. Addressing someone by name ALWAYS brings him/her closer to you, because a person’s name is the sweetest thing to him/her. On the other hand, saying something without directly addressing a person by name reads like spam mail.

So, “Thank you” is bad, but “Thank you, chị Hoa” is good.

— Don’t throw out a message to a forum without addressing anyone. If you want to talk to an entire forum, say “Dear all” or Dear friends” or “Dear brothers and sisters” or some equivalent phrase.

Throwing a message into a forum without addressing anyone means “nói trống không”. Not only it is impolite, most of the time, it is nasty and is the cause of incivility and fighting in a forum.

— When “talking” with a person, don’t use just the word “he/she/him/her” to indicate a third person, if that third person is PRESENT right there. This is ultra-impolite. Ex: If I am talking to Hoa about Xuan, and Xuan is present in the room or in the forum, I should not say “Hoa, I understand that she wants you to wait for her for 2 days, then she will bring the book back to you.” That is a bad manner.

We should say, “Hoa, I understand Xuan wants you to wait for 2 day, then she will bring the book back to you.”

The better way is, “Hoa, I understand Xuan wants you to wait for 2 day, then Xuan will bring the book back to you.”

— Dont’ Shout: DON”T CAPITALIZE YOUR WORDS LIKE THIS… Or put a bunch of question marks or signs like this ???? or &#?^

— Use emoticons (smileys) often, like this 🙂 or 😦 to take out the dryness of the computer screen. Dryness can make the readers misread your message. But if that is a business email, don’t use emoticons.

— Don’t u ever use txt’ words in biz com.

— Having a “good bye” line is always good. Or at least a smiley 🙂

These are the most fundamentals to keep in mind. Please feel free to share your experience.

Have a great day!


Một suy nghĩ 14 thoughts on “Daily English Discussion–Thursday, July 9, 2009”

  1. Hi anh Hoành,

    Có một chỗ em chưa hiểu. Anh giải thích dùm em nhé.
    Anh nhắc là: Don’t u ever use txt’ words in biz com. Nhưng “txt’ words” và “biz com” là gì?

    Cám ơn anh nhiều. Chúc anh ngày vui nha.


    Số lượt thích

  2. @ Anh Hoành:
    I’d like to add two more things:

    1. Always check spelling before sending an email.
    2. Always go through an email, at least once, before sending it. After you go through an email (to send it away), sometimes you even no longer want to send it.

    Em Toàn.

    Số lượt thích

  3. @ Toàn: Thank you, Toan, for adding 2 new thitngs in. Re-reading your message before sending is a VERY GOOD idea. More than once, I deleted my message after re-reading it.

    The point about spelling is legitimate. However, don’t be too concerned about spelling or grammar, except, of course, in business communication or messages to strangers. Friends don’t care about spelling or grammar. Too much concern about spelling or grammar may inhibit folks from writing in a foreign language, such as English.

    @ Yến: That is “Don’t you ever use texting words in business communication.” Texting words are abbreviated words people use when texting messages from one mobile phone to another.

    Have a great day! 🙂

    Số lượt thích

  4. Hello Mr.Hoanh , i have some interesting ideas for your new discussion or if you don’t like it , that will be also ok! How can I find a scholarship on Google for middle school pupils or highschool students ?

    Số lượt thích

  5. Hi Binh Duong,

    Welcome to ĐCN. Your English is beautiful and natural. Very impressive. You must have been hanging out with some good English speakers. The only necessary correction is “help me correct”. We don’t need the “to” after “help.”

    (But this verb “help” may be getting to be confused. I have seen some reputable source use “to” after “help.” For now, let’s stay with the rule. No “to” after “help”).

    The other minor thing is that “English” should be capitalized.

    Keep talking and we will work together.

    Great day! 🙂

    Số lượt thích

  6. Hi Binh Duong,

    I don’t think there is a real explanation. There never is a “to” between “help” and another verb.

    Ex: I should help you carry the table away.

    Several other verbs in a group called “auxiliary verbs” or “helping verbs” also have no “to” after them. They are:

    to have, to be, to do, will, shall, would, should, can, may, might, and could.

    They are called helping verbs because they help other verbs in forming a new verb format (tense, mood, voice, etc.).

    Ex: I have seen that picture before.
    I am done with that.
    I do know that the book is bad.
    I will go tomorrow.
    I shall see you again.
    I would not do that.
    We should visit her soon.
    You can go home now.
    You may go out now
    He might have gone by now.
    You could to that if you wish.

    Generally, people don’t think of “to help” as an auxiliary verb, but it has the same rule–no “to” between “help” and another verb.

    Great day! 🙂

    Số lượt thích

  7. It’s great. Thanks for your explaination.
    In your expressing is easy for new ones who have studied English for understanding.
    Hope you always have full health to continue for sharing your knowleges/experiences.
    Great day!

    Số lượt thích

  8. Hi Hoanh,
    It is very nice to discover this page. According to my understanding, there are two ways of using of the verb “help”:
    – to help somebody to do something: the action will be done only by the asked person.
    Eg., A: Could you help me to check spelling of the letter?
    B: Yes, of course.
    The action “check spelling” will be done by B not A.
    – to help somebody do something: the action is carried out by both requester and requested person.
    Eg., A: Could you help me move the table?
    B: OK.
    In this situation, both A and B will do the action “move the table”.
    Have a great day!

    Số lượt thích

  9. Dear icho (& Binh Duong).

    Thanks for the note. I love your answer. But I am afraid it is not totally accurate.

    Here is an answer I have just found that we PROBABLY can trust. It is on the BBC learning English program. http://www.bbc.co.uk/worldservice/learningenglish/grammar/learnit/learnitv226.shtml

    According to that page, “to help” can have “to” or no “to” after it, and both are correct, with exactly the same meaning.

    I have said previously (above) that this verb “help” has started to be confusing, haven’t I? 🙂

    Here is what I guess might have happened over the years. In the old days, “help” never had “to” after it. And that was the rule. No exception that I knew of.

    But people kept writing “to” after “help” like any other verb. This was supposed to be a grammatical mistake, but people made the mistake so often that the mistake has become standard English after many years. Lately I have seen more and more writings with “to” after help. This is my guess from what I have seen over the year. (I can’t guarantee that my guess is right).

    Anyway, it seems now we can say “Please help me clean the table” or “Please help me to clean the table.” If BBC says it is OK, I guess we can trust BBC.

    Have a great day! 🙂

    Số lượt thích

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