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Is it acceptable to begin a declarative sentence with “Am”?

Is it correct to start a sentence with did.

Did my work.

instead of

I did my work.

while answering my emails?

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marked as duplicate by RegDwigнt Jul 4 '12 at 8:38

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

1  
You can, if you want your email to read like a SMS text. That said, though, 'did' is often used to lead off questions, e.g.: "Did you really think you could start a sentence with the word 'did'?" –  J.R. Jul 3 '12 at 10:46

3 Answers 3

up vote 5 down vote accepted

You can do this if being informal, especially in spoken English. Example:

Janet: Hey, Mike, what did you do today?
Mike: Ah well, you know, the usual. Did the dishes, fed the dog. Nothing extraordinary.

But to be formally correct, you need to include the personal pronoun:

The usual. I did the dishes, then I fed the dog.

When answering an e-mail, I'd recommend sticking to the formal version, unless you're explicitly speaking douchebag.

Even if you get an informal e-mail from your superior, I would still recommend being at least grammatical in your reply. You don't necessarily have to be formal as if addressing the king, but you should still at least show your intelligence level by not breaking the basic grammar rules.

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'Fed the dog, did the dishes' doesn't start with did. Edit! –  Roaring Fish Jul 3 '12 at 10:52
    
Thanks for your answer. What do you suggest if one gets a informal mail from someone superior? –  navjan Jul 3 '12 at 10:57
    
@RoaringFish: done. –  RiMMER Jul 3 '12 at 11:13
    
@navjan: edited the answer to answer your further question. –  RiMMER Jul 3 '12 at 11:13

Did this, Done that etc are usually used in notes and informal communication.

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2  
Yes, this is a well-known phenomenon in spoken English called "Conversational Deletion". –  John Lawler Jul 3 '12 at 12:24

The version of Eng. is pertinent. In Brit. Eng., the the question What have you done today? would be answered with I've done/gone/seen/.. In Am. Eng., the question is more likely to be what did you do today? the answer would be I did/went/saw...

In Am. Eng. and in many languages of the world the past simple tense is used to indicate a recent event that has an influence on the present. In Brit. Eng, we prefer the present perfect tense - after all, that is the purpose of the pres perf.

American/Nepali/Indian child weeping: I fell over! Brit child weeping: I've fallen over!

When abbreviating language, you can do anything you like if think the reader will understand. So, choose 'Did' or 'Done' as appropriate.

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