The Natural Degradation of Email

When people start using email, they often start using the more formal language of letters. For example, suppose I wrote:

Hi Dorothy,

Could I come to the carol service with my wife Jean please?

Hope you are well and nice to see you recently.

david

Then if Dorothy were new to email, she might reply:

Dear David,

Thank you for your email. We are delighted you can come to the service. Like you, I hope you’re well and it was also nice to see you recently.

Yours sincerely,

Dorothy

Then, after two years of emailing, Dorothy might send this sort of reply:

yes and yes thank you
you too I hope
d

And after another two years, the clipped language of text messaging is likely to have been introduced, as in:

y n y fanx, u2 i hope/d

Degradation, famously, can be a bad thing. But at times, it can be delightful and natural, a source of pleasure for all concerned. And such is the case for the language of email.

David Ferris

P.S. For completeness, Dorothy’s response to this thought was:

David: just taking time out to say that I USUALLY reply very grammatically (as I was brought up to do) – but I’m so busy – I haven’t time at the moment for the niceties!  However, I felt I had to put you straight on this one!
have a good weekend
d

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