List of

My Writing Website




The "Emotion Summary" (from tweeting)

Donald Trump's basic style of tweeting in 2016 was to begin with a fact, then add an emotional response. The important thing is, he then (usually) finishes with a very short emotional summary. And it gets an exclamation mark.

There's no Exactly Typical, but:

"Serious voter fraud in Virginia, New Hampshire and California - so why isn't the media reporting on this? Serious bias - big problem!"

"Boeing is building a brand-new 747 Air Force One for future presidents, but costs are out of control, more than $4 billion. Cancel order!"
This is now appearing outside of tweeting. A political letter to the editor in the NYTimes, March 13 2017, ends with the paragraph: "Sad!"

Ending with "Sad" was so common in Trump's tweets that it is mentioned here) There is record of Hilary Clinton using this in April 2016.

A two-paragraph letter from Judge Reinhart, March 17, follows the general form:

Judge Kozinskiís diatribe, filed today, confirms that a small group of judges, having failed in their effort to undo this courtís decision with respect to President Trumpís first Executive Order, now seek on their own, under the guise of a dissent from the denial of en banc rehearing of an order of voluntary dismissal, to decide the constitutionality of a second Executive Order that is not before this court.

That is hardly the way the judiciary functions. Peculiar indeed!

There is nothing new or ungrammatical about this construct, which I have dubbed "the emotional summary". But it's a new grammatical meaning. Suppose a sentence was just "Sad." We wonder what was sad. Or maybe think that it applied to the previous sentence. Or whatever. But this applies to the whole commentary -- it is the author's emotional response to what has already been said.

So it's a convention. Because of Trump, people know the meaning of this grammatical construction. Or it is at least well-known in the genre of U.S. political commentary. But it's a really useful convention, so it can be expected to spread.

I think the exclamation mark is an important part of the convention. Of course it's at the end.

Reinhart's letter shows that we have crossed a line. There is no reference to Trump; he's not saying the well-known "sad", he's extending the generality (as Trump does) to any feeling. So, his letter suggests exactly what I am suggesting -- it's a new convention and Reinhart expectes his readers to know it.

This is the most unusual type of grammar -- a new convention.