‘PS’ stands for postscript.
This abbreviation is derived from the Latin phrase post scriptum, which means “after text.”
PS permitted the writer to put an additional thought after the letter has been carefully written and signed back when people used to write letters by hand or on typewriters (and believed they would reach their intended audience).
USING PS IN A LETTER:
Consider that as you were finalising a letter, you suddenly realised there was something you forgot to include. A PS would be appropriate at that point. PS can also be used for impact by including a humorous epitaph. It can even be used to emphasise a point or to say, “So there!’ To include any forgotten thoughts, you may either add a PS section after finishing the letter or completely rewrite it.
A crucial part was performed back then by the postscript. It prevented time consuming redos and provided room for missed details and afterthoughts. And though it has ancient origins, it is still useful today.
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Although it’s simple to modify a piece that was written digitally today, “PS” is still frequently used in writing. This can be the case since it draws the reader’s attention and provides them with further information. It can also be used to highlight a phrase or idea that was already mentioned in the body of the text. It is also a fantastic opportunity to give anything you have written a little bit of your own flair.
USING PS IN EMAIL:
With the use of computers and word processors, we can easily alter and reproduce papers. This implies that electronic communication may completely replace the need for PS. That is not the case, though. Instead, it’s still employed in emails and communications today to draw attention to a particular subject. The tool now also serves as a means of stressing a point or including an afterthought in addition to being used to fill in any gaps in information.
These days people don’t like to skim through lengthy texts and only read the beginning or the finish, thus it is especially helpful in emails. The full impact of PS is felt here. A PS should go right after your signature. This is because the concept only occurs after the letter has been written.
PS messages are frequently used in email marketing. Many people will skim a letter and read the PS first, according to studies! As a result, email marketers will include a PS with a call to action or a special offer.
1. Richard Feynman
Influential American physicist Richard Feynman (a 1965 Nobel Prize winner) lost his wife and high school sweetheart, Arline, when she died of tuberculosis at age 25. In October 1946, sixteen months after Arline’s death, he wrote her a tender love letter, which remained in a sealed envelope until after his death in 1988.
“. . . I know you will assure me that I am foolish and that you want me to have full happiness and don’t want to be in my way. I’ll bet you are surprised that I don’t even have a girlfriend (except you, sweetheart) after two years. But you can’t help it, darling, nor can I — I don’t understand it, for I have met many girls and very nice ones and I don’t want to remain alone — but in two or three meetings they all seem ashes. You only are left to me. You are real.
My darling wife, I do adore you.
I love my wife. My wife is dead.
PS Please excuse my not mailing this — but I don’t know your new address.”
2. Another example could be a letter arranging to meet someone at 3pm next Monday. You finish off the letter:
P.S. Don’t worry if I am a few minutes late – the traffic might be bad but I will definitely come as soon after 3pm as I can.
3. A PS is also a useful way to emphasise the main point of your email:
Dear Mrs. Lawson,
I am writing this email to propose a new plan for our sales and marketing team. I believe that this plan will increase our sales by 20% and increase email subscriptions by 25%. This plan is especially valuable because it decreases the costs required to advertise our products. Attached are the details for this plan. I hope you consider it for future use.
PS: I really think that decreasing the costs required to advertise our products can help our company succeed45.
4. Another example of an email to higher authority:
Dear Mr. President:
I am glad to help just so long as it is kept very private. You can have your staff or whomever call me anytime today, tonight or tomorrow. I was nominated this coming year one of America’s Ten Most Outstanding Young Man. That will be in January 18 in my home town of Memphis, Tennessee. I am sending you a short autobiography about myself so you can better understand this approach. I would love to meet you just to say hello if you’re not too busy.
P.S. I believe that you, Sir, were one of the Top Ten Outstanding Men of America. I have a personal gift for you which I would like to present to you and you can accept it or I will keep it for you until you can take it.
PS is a stylistic device that draws attention to a certain area of your email, possibly even the most crucial one. Professor Siegfried Vogele claims in Handbook of Direct Mail: Dialogue Methods that your audience may read the PS first rather than last.
A PS at the conclusion of an email can help establish a clear call to action, highlight the personality of the company, and leave a lasting impression.
Would it be appropriate to use it in your upcoming personal or professional email? Why not, unless it feels inappropriate or off-brand, like a professional email to your employer or a product update to users?
In the end, the PS is similar to a bonus scene after the credits!