Monday, March 26, 2012

Dear Reader's Digest Lady.....

Dear Reader's Digest Lady also known as Katharine Bass,

To start off with, shouldn't it be Readers' Digest? With the apostrophe after the "s"? Or do you only HAVE one reader? Just curious.

When I got your little note about renewing my subscription, I almost didn't open it at all. Mainly because I start getting those cute little reminders about two and a half years before my subscription is due to expire. Are y'all really that desperate for money? If so, how can you possibly afford to give me a 74% discount? Just charge me full price; I probably won't know the difference.

But I DID open your letter, and when I realized the expiration date was just three months away instead of the usual three years, I was prepared to write a check and put it in the mail. Especially when I noticed that the yearly rate is only $10.00!!! That's a savings of 74% off the cover price!!!

Then I made the mistake of reading the P.S. after your letter.

As a grammar snob and self-proclaimed writing expert, first of all I have a little trouble with the whole concept of P.S. If it's important enough to say, shouldn't it be included in the BODY of the letter? I can understand back in the days of writing letters by hand that occasionally one might suddenly remember a pithy saying or an important detail and feel obligated to tack it on at the end, after the signature is in place. Nowadays, though, that practice is a wee bit antiquated, wouldn't you say? If you remember something you should have said but neglected to, can't you put your little cursor up there and insert the comment? You can even make it bold, put it in italics, make it both bold AND italics, underline it, or make it a different color, for crying out loud. The P.S. is dead in the computer age.

Your P.S. requested that if for some far-fetched reason my failure to renew my subscription was a conscious decision rather than a simple oversight, you would like to know about it. To quote your P.S.: "Feel free to write me!"

Oh Katharine.

There's a problem with that sentence construction. I can call you, I can email you, but I can't write you. Unless I write "you," which would make no sense out of the context of this particular blog post.

The verb "write" typically calls for a direct object. Write a will, write a letter, write a check (yes, I remember it's only $10, and I'm still debating), write a blog post, write it off.

The verb "write" is also one of a select group of verbs that will also allow for an indirect object. By definition, though, a sentence cannot have an indirect object unless it also has a direct object, and the indirect object must come BEFORE the direct object.

I can write Katharine a letter, write the Reader's Digest a check (yes, I remember it's only $10, and I'm still debating), write my husband a note.

But in the sentence "Feel free to write me!" (I feel almost the same way about exclamation points as I do about P.S., by the way), there is no direct object. There is nothing that I should WRITE. There is no place in our syntax for the direct object to be understood, even though the "me" in that sentence is clearly intended to be an indirect object, the receiver of whatever the direct object might be.

You might even have avoided the entire direct object/indirect object snafu entirely by inserting one teeny tiny little prepositon: "to." I could write TO you, and everything would be fine. Sadly, though, I cannot write you. Unless I write "you." Here we go again.

So now I'm on the horns of a dilemma. (If you can use P.S. and exclamation points, I can certainly use cliches.) Do I even WANT to renew my subscription to a magazine that allows its Consumer Marketing person to get away with such shoddy sentence construction?

I'm still debating.



P.S. When I make up my mind, the check (yes, I remember it's only $10) will be in the mail! Really!!!!!!!

1 comment:

The girl said...

Mom, seriously!? lol