The first question that arises with a 21st-century generation that hardly knows letter writing. What does PS mean? The older generation would know, of course, but probably do not use PS any longer. The word Postscript from the Latin term, Postscriptum refers to the afterthought after the communication completes with the signature, whether in personal or official letters.
Why should PS be disappearing now?
The image is taken from Flickr
After several centuries of use, does it make sense that PS has almost disappeared? Computer Software like MS Word makes the difference. Traditional typewriters that used to use for so long do not enable such easy formatting as electronic software. Copy and paste becoming so easy, that there is no difficulty in including afterthoughts within the main body of the communication. Insert the cursor, click and start typing.
The image is taken from wikiHow
Just reflect on the pen and paper experience that existed before the 1990s when the internet gradually conquered the world. After composing the sweet and dignified letter, whether to a lover or boss, with a signature, something suddenly remembers. The important point got missed. It happens all the time. In busy schedules, writing the entire letter once again may not be practical.
The letters PS after the signature mentioned the afterthought that attracted ample attention. Because it was a standalone sentence or two. Earlier, in the body, masses of words made up sentences and paragraphs. PS seemed a good idea to make something stand out and attract greater attention like a reminder to attend a party perhaps. PS meaning represented greater clarity.
The image is taken from Epson
What does PS mean at the end of a letter?
The image is taken from postscript.io
Do many people write letters anymore? With electronic social media taking over most of the communication, it is bits of sentences mostly. LOL means laugh out aloud. Each day, millions of images and videos get exchanged and words seem to have lost their meaning. Handwriting is certainly suffering and signatures are forgotten because withdrawing cash from the bank no longer requires it.
Yet, change is definite, and adjusting to the change is another certainty. Keeping up with the competition would require updates all the time.
Examples of “PS” in letters you may still see even if they are not so common. What about remote regions amidst forests, deserts, and mountains that have not yet received the healing touch of the internet? Conventions of centuries still exist in such settings through change will come soon.
Now that so much has shifted online like exchanging soft greeting cards, hard copy greeting cards have fewer buyers. The industry has not vanished but is so much reduced. Similarly, the reading of hard copy books has reduced with millions of free e-books available for download. Easy to read even on smartphones, pirated e-books require little expense in most cases compared to the hard copy that can get rather pricey. Abuse of the system, duplication, and piracy is common as in everything else.
The formality or informality of PS
No restrictions apply, unlike the other differences between formal and informal communications. Use it in emails too. Make sure that the tone of the little afterthought is similar to the rest of the message.
Once upon a time, such an afterthought was confined to personal letters between friends. Times have changed. Emails use them as an important marketing tactic. Work correspondence uses the afterthought as reminders or to stress points.
Source: The image is taken from adobe stock
Avoid a postscript in a very short message
Conventionally, letters and emails are very brief, and even more so is the official correspondence, straight to the point. Advertising similarly contains short and crisp messages in simple language that drive home the point to everybody. If the body of the message contains a few sentences, it is inappropriate to add a few more sentences as a postscript, both appearing similar in length.
Should it be PS or P.S.?
In an age of liberal thinking and personalization, should hard and fast rules apply to language use? Grammar books do set out a list of rules that mostly follow to the letter. While P.S. refers to British English, the Americans prefer to write it as P.S. Will it makes a difference which approach gets used? With or without the periods, letters are certainly understood at the end of the communication.
The periods add a touch of seriousness and make the letters appear more grammatical. However, most acronyms like UNO do not use periods though they should use, strictly speaking. The three letters represent three words. United Nations Organization. According to the Chicago Manual Style, P.S. is preferable to P.S. Don’t forget that both letters capitalize, whether used with or without the periods.
Say ‘No’ to the comma
PS or P.S.? In either case, the need for a comma does not arise. Some people have the nasty habit of using excessive punctuation. PS, and P.S., are not acceptable or should not mention. Further, the words after PS or P.S. usually follow the same line and begin with the capital letter. The Enter key should not use in the computer which will lead to the next line.
Do emails use postscripts?
Lost amidst sensational videos and images by the million, emails seem to have lost their past glory. The truth is that emails survive just like podcasts even in the absence of images or moving images. Email campaigns are still very much popular as a minimal-cost marketing tool that can reach vast numbers of potential customers in seconds.
How to format “PS” in emails is a tricky question. The advantage of PS after the email serves the valuable purpose of attracting attention. Gaining visibility in various ways is what the whole world is busy with, personally and professionally. Marketing experts vouch for the PS trick too. That final message is a call to action but it is not needed. Handwritten or typed, exchanged between two individuals, or catering to numerous would-be customers, the afterthought is a gentle reminder or a friendly additional message.
Get to understand PPS
PPS is certainly lesser-known, and many lost! If a second afterthought occurs after writing or typing the afterthought, will it require PPS? A post postscriptum? That seems to be a crazy thought. But some prefer to write it that way. By studying samples of real messages exchanged between individuals like Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton, you can see PPS. Though PPS does not need it, just let you know as a possibility.
Intensely personal messages could still use PPS or PPPS, but it is usually not used and certainly not officially. In any case, PSS is not used.
Brevity is important
PS meaning would be lost if it was not very brief. If the main body was 10 lines long and the PS was a single line, it might make sense. Surely, the PS cannot be half as long as the main body. An afterthought could mean a single thought or idea, reminder, or additional message. The purpose of emphasis is very well served just like the bold or underlined text. Capitalization serves similar purposes too. Perhaps 4 or 5 lines are the maximum lengths of a postscript.
How to format “PS” and manage the length and content?
Examples of “PS” in letters indicate that it is a useful tool. It could be a different matter quite unrelated to the main body. If it concerns budgets, the postscript might be about a planned football game.
What PS means at the end of a letter could also refer to a secret between friends or lovers in addition to the official matter in the main message. Jokes or gossip suit the nature of postscripts too.
Messages, events, persons, places, and things are appropriate postscripts
I haven’t received the communication yet.
Yes, I am attending the party tomorrow.
I will be meeting the manager this evening to discuss the problem.
I haven’t visited Haiti yet but wish to go next summer.
I bought the birthday gift already. Quite expensive!
Business emails and PS can achieve so much!
Like a subject line at the beginning of a business letter, the postscript at the end could serve a similar purpose. Strangely, what serves as a headline could be at the end. If such is the purpose, it could a hard-hitting postscript to gain attention. Don’t neglect the opening sentence though of the main message.
A business postscript could stress a new offer or gift the company is including during a festival season. That interests and energizes readers and motivates them to read further.
A personal approach touches hearts
Like the ‘you’ on YouTube, attract people with personal communication. Appealing to individual characteristics is time-honoured as an effective way to attract attention.
Take it with salt, sugar, and spice. Only in hand-written or typed text messages does the possibility of postscripts arise. Though an age-old tradition, it is uncommon nowadays amidst the videos and images. Use them effectively when the need arises.
Author and narrator C.S. Lewis mentioned in the final chapter of his book “Out of the Silent Planet” is a postscript to a letter Ransom wrote in a fictional version. He agreed with a grudge that he has done some corrections with the letter opener in the middle with Ransom.