You have grammar cancer.
I’m sorry. I should have told you to sit down first. If it makes any difference, I have it, too. We’re in this together.
You’re probably wondering about the symptoms of grammar cancer. The good news is that it’s not fatal–although, if left untreated, it can kill your social life.
Grammar cancer is that seemingly benign, creeping affectation wherein you begin to casually drop your punctuation. “Hi, friend!” has become “Hi friend!” (or, more likely: “hi friend!”). You can also think of it as “meme speak”.
This new syntax makes you look weird or overly formal if you punctuate correctly (and you’re also a reasonably social person under the age of 45). Add this lack of punctuation to a growing reliance on exclamation points and smiley faces, and you have a new, subtle language, characterized by the fear of being misunderstood.
The Onion recently lampooned standard email punctuation, hitting the nail on the head by raising the question: When is it OK to abandon our creeping, cancerous new communication in favor of correctness?
Personally, I become more and more casual as I get to know someone. Just met me? I’m probably capitalizing and punctuating correctly. Been my pal since our daiquiri-fueled college a cappella days? You have seen me type (and say) things that are just straight-up not English.
As with all cancers, curing grammar cancer starts with awareness. I’m thinking of making rubber bracelets.