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.


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,


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

yes and yes thank you
you too I hope

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

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