I've been wondering this for a while. What is the correct usage of "P.S." in e-mails? Where should and shouldn't it be used?
P.S. in e-mails is used exactly the same as P.S. in normal letters. It is short for the Latin post scriptum, i.e. written after the main script. As such, it is written at the bottom (end) of the main script (main e-mail in this case), and generally contains information which is trivial, or tangental to what was just said. For example,
I'm starting my new job on Monday. Really looking forward to it. I'm going to be working as a clothes designer.
P.S. Do you still like making clothes?
Personally I think P.S. is never really 'appropriate' in emails.
The whole point of a post-scriptum is it's something you think of after the main text has already been written. By which time in the old days of pen-and-ink you'd have already written your closing lines, and most likely signed it as well.
With electronic writing such as emails, just go back and add the extra text in the main body. Don't insult your reader by subjecting him to badly-organised text just because you can't be bothered to organise it before you click on Send.
As FumbleFingers already noted, the post scriptum should appear after the main body of the text, perhaps even after the signature. With that said, I do agree with FumbleFingers that the construct likely has no place in E-mail.
I would like to additionally point out that there is another use for P.S. besides adding a new thought to the correspondence: I have often seen P.S. used in E-mails to incite a new thread of conversation that is tangent to the main topic. While I think that might be a legitimate use in other forms of correspondence, it is generally considered bad netiquette when used in E-mail. Although the rule was not written in the original RFC, it is generally considered bad form to change the topic of an E-mail thread; topics should be changed by sending a separate E-mail, thus starting a new thread.
With that said, in rare cases I think the P.S. construct might be acceptable if used like a footnote, i.e., to provide some additional clarification on something from the main body of text that is likely unnecessary, and would otherwise hamper the flow of the main text.
I recently used PS and here is an example:
To: John CC: Many people including executives
Subject: How to build a wall
Attached document explains how to build a wall...
I have also added details on how to get funding...
PS: I didn't have permissions to add this information to your online document and therefore I have created a separate document. Please feel free to copy/paste this information to your online document.
The main topic of the email is how to build the wall and how to get funding. Why it's not added to the online doc is trivial and most recipients of the email would not care. Therefore, I don't think it needs to be in the main body of the email.
Writers should be careful when if at all using PS at the end of an email.
As previously stated PS was used in pen and ink letters when the writer forgot to include something in the body of the letter - the only option was to try and squeeze it in in between lines or else rewrite the whole thing.
It is so easy to just add anything ommitted to an appropriate part of the main body of the email. Only the sender will know it wasn't included in the first draft.
Be aware if using PS as the receiving person may not see the PS as the email when open may only fit up to the signature at the bottom of the screen - the reader may not in this case get any inclination that they need to scroll further down because something (which the sender may feel is crucial) was ommitted from the body of the email.
This recently happened to me and the PS was a crucial piece of information which I completely missed casuing the sender to get upset and annoyed as they felt that I deliberately chose to ignore it.
Alternatively as a part-time cynic I may say that maybe the sender deliberately added it as a PS so that I wouldn't pick it up
Using "P.S." decreases your signal-to-noise ratio and degrades your ability to communicate clearly.
P.S. may be appropriate when using set ink or stone, however, in modern times, it is archaic and inexcusable as you can easily move text around.
As such, PS should never be used in an email.
(unless you do not care about communicating clearly)
By using PS in an email, you have demonstrated a failure to ask:
- What is the point of this email?
- What type of response do I want from it?
If your intention was to find out if someone still enjoyed making clothes, then your first sentence should have been:
"Do you still enjoy making clothes?"
If it wasn't the most pressing issue in the email, than it should have been tied closely to the sentence that was.
Otherwise, if you were just curious, say so:
"I'm curious, do you still enjoy making clothes?"
http://www.nature.com/scitable/ebooks/english-communication-for-scientists-14053993 http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424127887324735104578117193149868504 https://writers.stackexchange.com/questions/9226/using-p-s-in-a-formal-email#