Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Grammar for Spammars

It's the first day back to work after a long weekend which naturally means that I am swimming in it - and in this instance 'it' would not be 'chocolate' or 'gold coins' but instead a substance not at all pleasant.  So that kind of sucks.

Hooray for America.

Anyway, I thought I would share this little piece of junk email that graced my filter this morning:

I always thought, if the whole 'job that shackles me to a desk but is of a confusing Byzantine nature that it is impossible for me to explain in detail anything related to it whatsoever to any potentially sympathetic listeners' thing didn't work out, I could become a proof reader for this type of junk mail:

From: Williams Simom [williamssimon0090@ozu.es]
To: (me)
Subject: have been diagnosed with cancer

Dear friend,I have been diagnosed with Esophageal cancer .It has defiled all forms of medical treatment and I have only few weeks to live so I want you to assist me Distribute my USD$7million to charities. I have set aside 20% for your help, if you can to handle this project please get back to me

Williams Simon

In these instances, I like to practice what feedback I might give.  For example:

"Hi Williams Simon,

First, I want to say it was a pleasure reading your spam email.  It was short and, though oddly intimate for an email coming out of the blue from a completely unknown person, to the point.  I do have a couple of suggestions to make it a little more legible to your intended audience.

First, before we get started, you realize that your first name is a recognizable last name and that your last name is a recognizable first name, correct?  Don't know if your parents decided to play a life trick on you by naming you 'Williams Simon' or if that's a typo for 'Simon Williams' but whatever the case may be I thought I would make sure you were aware that your name sounds fake.

Also, it doesn't help that your email calls you "Williams Simom."  Might want to get that straightened out with your email provider.  I hope you speak Spanish better than English.

Anyway, kudos on picking a disease that actually exists, although you should be more consistent with your capitalization - 'Esophageal cancer' - I would recommend both are caps or both are lower case.

I don't think you mean 'defiled all forms of medical treatment' as that sounds vaguely sexual.  Defied maybe?  Deflowered?  Depends on which way you want to go with the sexual/nonsexual intent of the email.  I'm going to assume you meant 'defied' since 'sexual' and 'esophageal cancer' don't normally go together.

There are a couple of issues in the next sentence, so I'm just going to correct it and you can copy/paste it into your email: "I have only a few weeks to live so I want you to assist me in distributing my $7 million to charities"

Don't use infinitive verbs if you can avoid it: 'if you can to handle this' would read better as 'if you can handle this.'  This way, you sound less like a caveman and more like an actual person.  Also, if you are using an 'if/then' form in your sentence then you should either include the word 'then' or place a comma where 'then' should be.

Also, I'd recommend changing the subject of your email to something that actually does include capital letters, does not start in the middle of the sentence and doesn't include the word 'cancer.'

Here is your corrected email:

From: Simon Williams
To: Sucker
Subject: Spamming Opportunity

Dear friend,

I have been diagnosed with esophageal cancer.  It has defied all forms of medical treatment and I have only a few weeks to live.  I want you to assist me in distributing my $7 million to charities.  I have set aside 20% for your help.  If you can handle this project, please get back to me.

Simon Williams

I wish you much luck in your future scamming (provided of course anyone gets over the incredibly personal nature of an email coming from someone of whom your intended audience probably has no prior knowledge) and look forward to receiving your check.


Anonymous said...

Golly. I hope he makes it to read your corrected email. You're a good friend, Nat.

Mike Bauman said...

I defile several forms of medical treatment. The scalpel is the least pleasurable.