Email Etiquette

Since when did email have so many variations? I remember a time when the unspoken rule was to treat email as you would a written letter. After all, an email represents the sender. That does not seem to be the case anymore, regardless of whether the message is sent in or out of the workplace. As for email, there are those that never capitalize anything, those that use little punctuation (to the point where it’s hard to understand), those that never include their name (or even initials) and those that don’t even write in complete words or sentences. We can’t forget those that include all types of digital smiles, ellipses, and/or symbols. One might say that it doesn’t matter so long as the point comes across to the reader clearly, but I think it does matter because there will be a whole generation of kids that will only be used to writing in the form of short emails/IMs/text messages. The implications might be profound on the future of the English language.

Personally, I like to still keep my emails formal. Rarely do I send an email that does not begin by addressing the person by name, and there is almost never a time where I forget to write my name at the bottom of the email, all neatly separated by a space, just as someone would write a letter. As for a sign off, I tend to just write the overused, “Thanks”. The one that gets me the most, however, is “Best”. Who ever said or wrote that before email? I’ve never seen it before. “Regards” is another one that means nothing to me – might as well be a “screw you”, /s/[NAME].  If I was writing to my good friends, I would include something like, “All my respect”, or maybe just “Respect”. One sign off that I have seen and thought it kind of cool was “Eternal”, then again, that’s not something really used in the workplace. It does not bother me when people write “Have a nice day/weekend, etc”, because I feel as if they’re genuine, but Best/Best regards/Regards, etc are worse than “Sincerely” or the other phrases used more commonly in written letters. All in all, I shouldn’t care how people end their emails (and I don’t), but I fear for the future of the digital generation when writing a formal letter will almost be a thing of the past.

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