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@lynn lynn/lynnglish.md
Last active Jul 29, 2019

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lynn's internet english idiolect

lynn's internet english idiolect

I wanted to write this little document explaining how "the English I use on the Internet" differs from the English you might read in a newspaper.

I should note: these rules apply in a "direct messaging" or "chatroom" kind of scenario, and also on Twitter. Elsewhere, especially in long-form forum-style environments where I have paragraphs and Markdown, I tend to tone it down. I'll still use emoticons and abbreviations, but try to capitalize and punctuate in a standard way. (This seems kind of common when I compare, say, StackExchange posts versus chatrooms: plenty of members capitalize in the former but not the latter.)

capitalization and punctuation

  • Sentences don't start with a capital letter.
  • I almost always capitalize the word I, because I think it looks weird otherwise. I sometimes lowercase it for effect, as sort of a "hushed voice" thing.
  • I may or may not capitalize proper nouns — it carries no between-the-lines info whether I do or not.
  • In message-final position, a period (.) indicates sort of a downward intonation: it indicates things like anger, gravity, irony, passive-aggressiveness, or any of these as a joke. Otherwise, I don't end messages in periods.
    • In the middle of a message, it gets tricky. I've recognized that I am way more liberal with ! or ... there, because I know the weight that . carries online. But I'll use a standard . now and then.
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