Wednesday, May 08, 2013


I'm of two minds with regard to this post at Cultural Offering on the use of "regards." [I had to slip in the "with regard."]

I like plain language and yet a certain level of formality is desirable lest we turn onto the path that leads to adults who dress and act like children and correspondence that begins with "Yo."

Etiquette requires hypocrisy. We start letters to strangers with "Dear" not because they are dear but because the alternative is too abrupt and a little oil can smooth the waters of a relationship, whether old or new.

Email is a special challenge. We have yet to invent a suitable greeting. "Hi" seems way too informal and it is derived from "hello," one of the stranger words in any language. Perhaps we slip into that informality because an email is closer to a phone call than a letter.

I'll have to think some more on this. Until a conclusion is reached, I remain, with deep affection,

Your obedient servant,



CincyCat said...

It may be a breach of etiquette, but I know that it is definitely too formal in my line of work to use "Mr. or Ms. Lastname" as an email greeting (with or without a "Dear" in front of it). That said, I am personally uncomfortable using only the person's first name because it seems entirely too familiar for an initial contact. So, I have begun to use "Good morning," or "Good afternoon," as a general greeting on emails.

I always sign my emails with "Thank you," and only my first name, so people know I'm comfortable with this; however, I also have a "formal" signature line with my full name, title, company name and contact information.

Michael Wade said...


I think we're still finding our way through this process. Email is the real challenge because it is somewhere between a regular letter and a phone call.


Bob said...

Salutations and Valedictions

What is wrong with formality?

What is wrong with creativity?

In a fast paced world should we even bother?

or should you just be cool?

Keep up the good work.


John said...

I kinda like Yo, Bro and Dude.
Candid and friendly with an economy of letters and spaces.