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October 24, 2010

Is That Email True?

Ever get email stories that make you wonder?

What I really mean is, ever get emails that make you wonder if they are really true or not?

One give-away is that bogus email are rarely...

....signed, dated or documented.

To put it mildly, most writers are proud enough of their work to sign it - some even copyright it - with threats to those who would cut and paste their brilliant thoughts. And it would be nice to know if a particular email is recent - or from last year - or five years ago.

Documentation is crucial is any kind of statement. Mistakes in this area make a mockery of your intended message. Spoofs are fun, but sloppy documentation just makes you - and your cause - the focus of unwanted attention, and makes you look stupid and careless.

If you get emails that just don't seem right or that don't ring true to you, I have two good fact-checking websites. The first, and probably most widely known is Snopes (itself the subject of email rumors) at http://www.snopes.com/snopes.asp. Snopes has a fun index of categories or rumors, legends, stories and scams.

Another reliable site is Truth or Fiction - http://www.truthorfiction.com/.

Both of these sites could save you embarrassment from passing on false information. They could even save you some money. Online and email scams seem to be everywhere.

I get very few of these blatantly bogus email rumors. It might be because when I do get one, I send it back to the person who sent it (and everyone on their mailing list) with a documented reference and some tips on how to recognize fake emails.

For some reason my friends rarely appreciate my advice....

We might or might not like the email rumors we get, but we should at the very least confirm them before we consider passing them on.

Let me know what it is about English that you find confounding, infuriating or endlessly intriguing. And let me know if you hear of any email rumors about me.

And if anyone in Nigeria wants to give you a million dollars, well, you know where to check it.

Listen, read and speak. Make your new language your own.

My best to you as you make your way through this intriguing , constantly shifting linguistic landscape.


About the author of this entry:

Morf has a B.A.from the Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington and an MAT (Master's in Teaching English) from the University of Washington (Seattle). Morf prefers international and independent films, foods he can't pronounce, music no one else has heard of and riding his bicycle in foreign cities. Morf is currently a radio host (tacoma.fm) and a newspaper columnist http://www.thenewstribune.com/opinion/columnists/morf_morford/.

Posted by mmorf at October 24, 2010 11:00 PM

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