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February 1st, 2006

The message of misspellings

by Barbara Wallraff

Emory Barr, of London, England, writes: “I have an important business proposition for you. On December 12th, 2001, a German contractor with the British Pertroleum co-orporation, United Kingdom ,Mr. Olaf Partetzke made a numbered time (Fixed) Deposit for twelve calendar months, valued at US$ 17,350,000.00 (Seventeen Million Three Hundred Hundred and fifty Thousand Dollars only) in my branch.

“Upon maturity,I sent a routine notification to his forwarding address but got no reply ...”

Dear Emory: What a liar you are! I’ll bet you even lied about your name. And in the part of your (long) e-mail that I didn’t publish, you lied about your job. You’re not an accounts manager at a bank -- you’re a con artist.

What tipped me off is how many dopey mistakes you made in your e-mail. No banker would misspell “Petroleum” as “Pertroleum,” the way you did twice in your full e-mail. (By the way, the company’s official name is BP; it hasn’t been “British Petroleum” since 1998.) Ditto for misspelling “corporation” as “co-orporation.” Your punctuation is a mess, your capitalization is bizarre, and the beginning of your second paragraph is a howler. In good English, “Upon maturity, I” would mean “When I became mature, I ...”Your message is spam, not a business e-mail. Go away.

© Copyright 2003 by Barbara Wallraff. Reprints require prior permission. All rights reserved.

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