Email etiquette

This area has been established to allow you, our visitors and contributors, to get to know one another a bit better, or to discuss subjects of general interest, without feeling obliged to restrict your postings to language-related topics. But we draw the line at floccinaucinihilivilification.

Re: Email etiquette

Post by Berale » Sun Jun 15, 2008 8:45 pm

Oh yes, Ken, I totally agree - thanks to email I am now in touch with my cousin in Australia whom I've only met once when I was 10, and there's no way either of us would have bothered writing a letter, but email enables us to jot down a brief message of no great consequence.

Perhaps I'm showing the fact that I'm young enough not to know how to use a fountain pen, but I really don't think the informality of emails is such a bad thing. Most of my emails are to friends, and most of us are quite happy to just start with "hi" and continue in a chatty style. But even when I've written to unknown entities, say sending a query to a company, I just could not bring myself to start my email with "Dear Sirs" - to me it would just look totally out of place in such a context - just as if I stuck a post-it note on a cheque I wouldn't write "Dear Sirs" on it.

But I expect some of you are drawing shocked breaths at the thought of sticking a post-it note on a cheque you're sending to a company - of course you'd expect a proper letter on proper writing paper. Sorry, guys! I guess part of this is the fact that I'm under 50 and another aspect is cultural as I come from a highly informal society.

I hope I have not unduly offended anyone
and I remain
yours very sincerely
with tongue where it should be
Meirav
ACCESS_POST_ACTIONS
Signature: Meirav
http://meirav.multiply.com

Re: Email etiquette

Post by trolley » Mon Jun 16, 2008 12:47 am

Don't get me wrong. I think email is fantastic and has done a great deal to encourage conversation in this busy world. Certainly, I don't expect emails to me finished with an "I remain your humble and obedient servant". I don't care how informal they are, but the basic components of a letter should be there. You greet the person, you relay or request information and you sign off. Maybe, if you're not too busy you might even say "cheers" or "thank-you". Telephone conversations can be informal as well but I have yet to pick up the phone when it rings and have someone just start a conversation without saying hello and finish it without saying good-bye. I always thought that there were only three possible reasons for not using the shift key. The writer is either too busy, too lazy or too stupid to capitalize a person's name or the beginning of a sentence. I hadn't considered that they just might be too informal.
Yours Warmly,
trolley
ACCESS_POST_ACTIONS

Re: Email etiquette

Post by JANE DOErell » Mon Jun 16, 2008 3:27 pm

I am not a knee jerk advocate for the handicapped and disabled but whenever I see a message entirely in upper or lower case the thought always passes through my mind that the person might be temporarily or permanently handicapped. But in addition to all the above excuses for not using cap/lowercase there could be reasons ranging from anything a broken wrist to a paraplegic typing with a pencil in their mouth.
ACCESS_POST_ACTIONS

Re: Email etiquette

Post by Berale » Mon Jun 16, 2008 6:42 pm

I wasn't trying to defend the lack of capitalisation, and I certainly wouldn't defend the use of ALL CAPS unless - as has been pointed out - the person is disabled in some way which seriously affects his/her use of the Shift key.

I guess I was just trying to say that emails are bound to be more informal than letters. Someone compared them to a memo, and I think in the context of internal office communication that is a good comparison. From what I remember from my office days, memos did not start with "Dear..." and did not end with anything more than a scrawled signature. We used to type the list of addressees at the top in the form of their initials, and after the "from" and "subject" line we'd just go straight into the body of the memo. So it would look something like this:

To: JSK, LFM, DJP
From: SJT
Re: Plans for Christmas party

Very much like an email heading, come to think of it...

And in the personal context I compare it to the notes my husband and I leave for each other by the phone, which certainly don't have much by way of salutation - they might look more like:

J.
Please remember to xyz
Ta
M.

Again very much like some of my personal emails.
ACCESS_POST_ACTIONS
Signature: Meirav
http://meirav.multiply.com

Re: Email etiquette

Post by Bobinwales » Tue Jun 17, 2008 9:26 am

Berale wrote:J.
Please remember to xyz
Ta
M.
What! No kisses!

Mwah!
ACCESS_POST_ACTIONS
Signature: All those years gone to waist!
Bob in Wales

ACCESS_END_OF_TOPIC
Post Reply