RE: Punctuation question

Subject: RE: Punctuation question
From: "Ron Wilbanks" <rwilbanks1 -at- carrie-all -dot- com>
To: "Techwr-l" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 2 Nov 2007 14:03:12 -0400

I decided to ask a few friends after breakfast about this issue, as each person has been involved in technical communication field for many years, and their answer varied depending on when they attended and graduated from school. For instance, my aunt graduated from high school in 1947, and secretarial school in 1949. She said, "I was always taught to use the colon for all opening salutations since the third grade when I was in penmanship class." Likewise, my friend Richard who was a technical writer in the U.S. Army at various times from 1956-1982, was also told to use the colon and nothing else. For example:

"Dear Colonel Rogers:"
"Dear Robert:"

More recent graduates that I talked to, had a completely different view on this matter. Case in point, my friend Sandra who graduated from college in 1997, said that she was always taught to use the comma, rather than the colon for the open salutation. The colon was never used or mentioned, even in her typing class in high school. Likewise, my former college classmate Derrick, said that he was told to use the colon for formal letter writing, and the comma for more personal correspondence with family and friends. Therefore, I would have to believe that over the course of the past 50 years, especially with the advent of e-mail, the comma is seen as more "friendly/informal" than the colon.



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