Social Question

JeSuisRickSpringfield's avatar

Why do some people use postscripts in emails?

Asked by JeSuisRickSpringfield (722 points ) November 28th, 2012

The historical function of a postscript was to allow someone to include information that for one reason or another was missing from the body of a letter without having to rewrite the whole thing. In the age of email, however, we do not face such problems. It is an entirely trivial matter to go back and fit the information into the body of our message. Why, then, do some people still use postscripts?

P.S. Just in case you don’t know, this is a postscript. That’s what “P.S.” stands for in this context.

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13 Answers

bob_'s avatar

Why is “separate” all together, and “all together” separate?

jaytkay's avatar

People mostly remember the first and the last items in a note.

PS allows you to move the BIG IDEA to the end of an email.

Jeruba's avatar

For effect. Instead of being an afterthought after writing a formal closing to a letter (by hand or by typewriter, when you’d have to rewrite the entire message in order to include it above the signature), it’s become a device of delivery. A similar contrivance is pretending to cross out and correct something or writing things like “No, wait, I really meant…” or “Forget I said that.”

Many people aren’t just trying to express themselves or communicate; they’re performing.

JLeslie's avatar

I think PS in emails is taking a chance it won’t be seen. Once I get to the signature I am done, I might not have scrolled down far enough to see the PS.

However, I do understand that when having an afterthought, it might take too much effort to bother to put a sentence into an already well written and time consuming message. The PS might be a little disjointed, or slighty outside of what was discussed in the main body of the email, so a PS might be appropriate.

augustlan's avatar

I think of it as an aside, something that doesn’t really fit in with the main message. Sometimes it’s used humorously, too.

Coloma's avatar

Yes,I agree with @augustlan

I use it to interject a last minute thought, bit of extra important info. or in a humorous manner.

Jeruba's avatar

And isn’t that using it for effect? It’s not a practical necessity. Instead it’s calculated to frame the remark or information in a certain way, to govern the reader’s reaction to it. That’s doing it for effect.

Coloma's avatar

^^^ If you say so, that’s never crossed my mind.
I see it as a benign after thought rather than a contrived ploy.
I’m bemused as to why this even merits a discussion quite frankly.lol

augustlan's avatar

@Jeruba Yes, I suppose it is for effect. It’s definitely not a necessity.

Judi's avatar

Fund raising letters do it all the time too. Drives me nuts. Like we don’t know you have a word processor?

YARNLADY's avatar

I use it to separate an idea. I even use it in some Fluther comments.

Haleth's avatar

I agree with @Jeruba.

What really drives me bonkers is when people use parenthesis that way, putting the important thought inside the parenthesis. I’ve only started seeing it in the last year or two, in things like song titles, short fiction titles, or on facebook. The format is usually like,

mundane thing (abstract emotional thing)

Ughhh.

marinelife's avatar

To have them stand out from the body of the letter.

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