TL;DR – PS stands for ‘postscript,’ a Latin-derived term meaning ‘written after,’ indicating content added after the main letter is completed.
“PS” stands for “postscript,” an abbreviation derived from the Latin word “post scriptum,” meaning “written after.” In both American English and British English, it’s traditionally used at the end of a letter or email, following the main body, to introduce an afterthought or extra information. According to sources like the Cambridge Dictionary and the Chicago Manual of Style, the use of “PS” is a way to capture the reader’s attention to an additional thought, sometimes serving as a call to action or emphasizing a specific point.
For example, in handwritten letters or even business emails:
I hope you’re doing well. It was great seeing you last week.
Warm regards, Jane
PS: Remember to bring the book I lent you next time we meet.
In the digital age, while “PS” still retains its classical usage in letter writing, its application has expanded. From email marketing strategies where it might introduce a personal touch or a marketing strategy point, to text messages or even social media where it might be used for a funny afterthought, the “PS” continues to be relevant. Some even push the concept further with “PPS” (post postscript) or even the rarer “P.P.P.S”, each time adding an additional layer of information or emphasis.
Furthermore, while the term originated from Latin and is widely recognized in English, the concept of a postscript isn’t unique to the English-speaking world. Variations of it can be found in French, German, and Italian letter writing as well. For those interested, the format or examples of “PS” can be explored further in style guides or specific letter-writing manuals, emphasizing its versatility across contexts, from a personal “I love you” to conveying key points in email marketing or even adding a note in a business email.
Is PS formal in email?
"PS" (postscript) originated from handwritten letters, where it was used to include additional information or a thought after the main body of the letter had been completed. Today, "PS" is still used in emails and other forms of communication, both formal and informal.
In a formal email, it’s acceptable to use "PS" if there’s a brief, related point or piece of information that you think would be beneficial to the recipient but didn’t fit naturally within the main body of the email. However, it should be used sparingly and appropriately. If the information is critical, it’s better to incorporate it into the main body of the email.
Here’s a formal usage:
Dear Dr. Smith,
Thank you for agreeing to speak at our annual conference next month. We appreciate your expertise and are eager to hear your insights on the topic.
PS: We’ll be sending out an information packet next week with details about the venue and schedule.
That said, if you’re sending a very formal email or an official document, you might want to avoid using "PS" and ensure all essential information is contained within the main content. It can sometimes be seen as an oversight or afterthought, so always consider the context and the impression you want to make.
Published on: 2023-09-30
Updated on: 2023-10-05