@Bjorn: “Hello” certainly isn’t unique, but I’m pleased we can justify its use in terms of it representing our own friendliness, our attitude and so on. Many others use “Hello”. We think we use it well. Its funny that we actually analyzed it, and then went with something so obvious, but why avoid something so natural? Maybe it wa sa mistake to write about it, but I value that first impression so so much. Some agencies have extremely awkward introductory text, which we were keen to avoid at all costs.
That said, many are keenly pointing fingers at our introduction. In the Guardian today, we have David Mitchell (UK comedian) bemoaning the casual use of “passion” or passionate” in today’s society - such as the “we have a passion for cleaning drains” over-usage we see everywhere. We of course declare that we build websites “passionately” - and we stand by that too. We’re very bloody passionate about it. Honest.
More potent for us is this kerfuffle about “build” versus “builds”, which is getting me down a bit after a monsoon of tweets, emails, DMs and comments. I’ve already explained it a little on the previous page of comments, and I explained that we had double-checked our usage eight months ago, and triple-checked our standpoint after initial feedback from the grammar police. Today, many more people have waded into the argument.
Bjorn, your last paragraph seems to see it from our viewpoint, which is comforting. Now, I am not angry with the wider feedback, but more fatigued by this. So, this is no rant. It is another opportunity to work this whole thing out. So…
One person said in our defense “Strictly speaking we’re talking a singular noun here. But it ain’t life and death. Modern conversational vernacular often matches singular nouns with the plural verb form.” Others agreed that it is now a choice rather than an exact rule. Many have been quick to launch themselves in to urge us to stand our ground as they believe we are correct
That’s us, you see. We are _The Modern Conversational Vernacularists_ - a very dangerous, free-thinking gang of radicals.
Another Twitterer said “You do need to start conjugating your verbs the Amehrkun (sic) way”, and plenty agree that we are wrong to use “build”.
There you are. I think we English use this more liberally, depending on how a sentence might read. Its fair to say that there is “English” and the “American English” variant (as proven by Adobe, Apple, our education systems, and many other examples) and the differences cause many an argument over exact usage of words or phrases, or spelling of course.
To expand upon your example regarding us, we’d say that Erskine Design isn’t singular. Erskine Design is a team of people. That is how we’re constructing that introduction. We are thinking about ourselves as a group of individuals who act as a team/collective to do what we do. We are autonomous, free-thinking beings, not one singular brain.
As my colleague Glen stated, “I build, he builds, we build, they build. They and we don’t builds. At least I don’t think they do, and I know we don’t.”
We think of “Erskine Design” as “we”, and thus “we builds” is a bit odd. Perhaps that is the wrong way to look at it. I keep thinking, “Amazon _sell_ books”. You might prefer that “Amazon _sells_ books”. Personally, I prefer the former.
It is telling that the ALA editorial team have - I failed to notice at preview stage - added the “s” in the article. I trust them a great deal, so certainly for an American audience, I shall accept that “builds” is correct. However, they were OK with our screenshots and our usage on our site (I think) and as I say there should be an understanding of how we English construct our sentences in a common sense fashion.
Ultimately, I’m getting hammered about one missing “s” and its doing my head in. I have to consider that although we can justify our usage of “build”, and that many people support that, we could be turning away grammar-minded potential clients who perceive this as a lazy mistake. Thus, as a businessman I am considering the idea of adding a bloody “s”, at least for some peace and quiet. But then many think the “s” feels wrong. Aaaaarrrgghhh!!!