Archive for May, 2011

For some reason many craigslisters like to write their for sale ads using an over abundance of capital letters. However, what they don’t seem to understand is that using all capital letters is called rage writing and means you’re yelling or angry or both.

Just so you know, I made up the term rage writing myself. I’m brilliant.

The idea craigslisters have here, I think, is to get their ad seen or to stress that their broken down old pickup is more incredible than any other broken down pickup on the market or something of that nature. However, big ginormous letters in my face make my eyes wig out and my eyes wigging out is not my favorite thing.

So, today’s thing that craigslisters do that they should really stop doing is capitalizing entire ad posts. Or even just entire sentences. Or sometimes entire words. It’s just not necessary that you capitalize every stinkin’ brilliant thought you have in order to stress that a particular product or idea is excellent. Capitalizing everything makes you appear as though you are yelling obnoxiously. And because I know some of you won’t understand what I am saying without an example, I have written one out for you below. Read on.

If you write:

TODAY I FOUND AN OLD MATCHBOX CAR UNDER MY GIRLFRIEND’S MOM’S NEW BOYFRIEND’S AUNT’S COUCH AND I THINK IT’S REALLY OLD BECAUSE IT SAYS 1984 ON THE BOTTOM SO IT MIGHT BE A VALUABLE ANTIQUE. YOU SHOULD CHECK IT OUT. EMAIL ME DIRECTLY IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO TAKE A LOOK AT IT.

I read it like this:

RA! RA! RA! KARATE CHOP TO YOUR BRAIN! INTENSITY MASHING ON YOUR SKULL! FIRE AND BRIMSTONE COMING DOWN FROM THE SKIES! RIVERS AND SEAS BOILING! FORTY YEARS OF DARKNESS! EARTHQUAKES, VOLCANOES, THE DEAD RISING FROM THE GRAVE! HUMAN SACRIFICE. DOGS AND CATS LIVING TOGETHER. MASS HYSTERIA!

This type of ad writing does nothing but make me feel like you are anger-yelling at me in a violent and threatening manner and why would anybody want to meet up with a perfect stranger to buy something when that stranger was anger-yelling at them in a violent and threatening manner through craigslist? You don’t even know me and you’re mad at me. What’s wrong with you?

What I’m trying to say is that capitalizing every word is perfectly acceptable when you are purposely yelling at somebody. And Craigslist, being a selling platform, is probably not the best place to practice your rage writing. Plus, your point is often completely missed in the chaos you created when you typed everything with caps lock on.

So, my tip for you is to stop hollering at me capitalizing everything. Unless you’re selling anger.

Craigslisters seem to have a habitual need to abuse punctuation. And none are taken for granted more than the completely misunderstood exclamation point.

It is true that the exclamation point is a brilliant mark. However, it does appear that this fabulous piece of punctuation is being exploited at every turn. And for the love of all the cheap and used goods for sale in my local area, this needs to be stopped.

Let me give you an example to show you what I’m talking about. The following is strongly based on an actual real-life Craigslist ad I have read in the past but is not an exact replication because my memory is just not that good. This ad is to be used for training purposes only and is not in any way a suggestion for an actual Craigslist ad.

i have really good on facebook! lol u can pay me to do ur fbing 4 u i have ben doing fb since it first came on the interwebs!!!!!!!! am on my computer all day lol n can update ur fb with when u want!!!! maybe we could trade something but im not wanting somethings that are broken or dirty alot!!!!! just emailme if u want me to facebook 4 u 4 money or trade stuff. my # is 555-555-5555 no phone calls plz. i won’t answer!!!!!

Okay. We’ll get into the lack of punctuation in another post. And the lack of proof reading. And the odd misuse of the abbreviation, LOL. And the word alot that is not an actual word. And the substituting of the number 4 for the word for which are not interchangeable.
Right now, however, I only want to point out the over abundance of exclamation points in this ad.

Besides being stupid, there is not one sentence in this ad that calls for an exclamation point. I imagine this poster sitting beside herself in front of her computer screen saying in her head, I wonder if I should use a period or one of those exclamation thingies here. I’m just not sure. I think I’ll play it safe and put 5 exclamation thingies and call it good.

Wrong. Answer.

Let me give you an example of how to write a post using periods.

I’ve got this Walmart bag of vintage stuffed animals I’d like to sell. There are three and they are old and smell funny and the bunny is missing an ear. One of them has what I think might be petrified poo on it but it doesn’t stink and I think it will wash out. Because they are vintage I would like $350 for the lot of them. Please email me if you are interested.

Now, you may think the petrified poo sentence should have an exclamation point but you would be mistaken. Exclamation points were not designed to be used for odd statements, and I think this is what might have so many craigslisters confused. These marks are for sentences that should be read with a modicum or more of excitement. It’s strictly for exclamatory remarks. Exclamatory remarks such as, I was just offered a bazillion dollars to help a Nigerian prince set up a bank account in the USA!

I know this can be tricky. So, to make this a little easier on you, my advice is when in doubt use a period.
Period.

I’ve been doing the Craigslist thing lately. I’ve got to get rid of everything because there is just too much to clean around here and housework gives me a rash. However, in browsing through other Craigslist ads in an attempt to make sure I price what I’m selling for less than what other people are selling the same thing for so I can make the sale first and get rich quicker, I have noticed that there are certain things that an overwhelming number of craigslisters get wrong when writing their ads. And since I feel I’m a pretty decent at Craigslist, I’m going to do a series on how to be a better craigslister. This will be a comprehensive study. You may want to take notes.

The first Craigslist lesson I’m going to give has to do with the interchanging of nouns and verbs in ad posts. This is unacceptable.
It has come to my attention that very few people who post their used goodies for sale on Craigslist know the difference between the words sell and sale. I am baffled at how many people apparently missed this lesson in the third grade. While I am no grammar expert myself, and sometimes here on this blog I purposefully write less-than-perfect, there is something about messing up these two words that grates on my last two brain cells. So, for those of you who are consistently getting this wrong, here is a short lesson on how to properly use the words sell and sale in sentences so you can appear more smart-like.

First, sell is a verb. Sale is a noun. Despite popular belief, verbs and nouns are not interchangeable. Write that down. You cannot sale your toenail clippings and you cannot put your husband up for sell. It is just wrong to use nouns and verbs so lackadaisically. Stop doing it.

Sell should be used like this, I want to sell this coffee spill that looks like Tim Daly.

Sale should go more like this: Up for sale is this used toothbrush.

If you’re still confused, yet at the same time feel an overwelming need to write up a Craigslist ad, please don’t hesitate to contact me for more clarification first. I’m here to help.

There are more lessons to come, people. Stay tuned and you’ll become a most excellent craigslister yourself.