Are you familiar with the word ENERVATE? Do you think it’s equivalent to ENERGIZE? It’s not, but that ENER—fools a lot of people. In fact, ENERVATE means to drain the energy from something or someone.
These days many good shows are on television on Sunday night, and although we record them, my husband and I tend to park ourselves in front of the set and watch as many as we can stay awake for. When we finally give up, we are both completely enervated, feeling as if we will never be able to move again.
If you are not sure of the meaning of word, rather than making an awkward mistake, take a second to use your dictionary. All it takes is one click, hardly an enervating task.
Seal of the United States Department of Energy. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Johannes Vermeer – A Lady Writing a Letter – WGA24650 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
I recently wrote about closing emails and noted that “Yours truly” is stilted and somewhat archaic. When you think about what those words mean, you see how silly they are when taken literally. (However, I guess that is a better closing than when people regularly closed their letters with “Your Obedient Servant.”)
Similarly, when we begin an email with the salutation “Dear,” perhaps we should think about how many of the recipients of our emails are truly “dear” to us. When writing casually, starting with “Hello,” “Good morning” or “Hi” can all be acceptable, given your relationship with the person or people you’re writing to. In a more formal situation or when writing to someone in a higher position, you can begin your email like this:
To Ms. Jane Doe: or To the Director of Human Relations (if you cannot discover that person’s name): Then begin your message.
When writing more formally, use a colon after the greeting. After a more casual greeting, a comma is fine.
People sometimes ask me about closing a business email: how do you sign off?
The main consideration is the relationship you have with the person to whom you are writing. If you are on a first-name basis, then think about what you’d say in person. You might be very casual. Some of these might fit your style:
Have a good one
If you are writing to someone you don’t know well or who is in a position above yours, you should tend toward more traditional closings:
Sincerely—I favor this one because no matter what you have written, I hope you have been sincere.
Yours truly—This one annoys me because how many people we write to are truly ours?
In addition to commonly used closings, you can also close using thoughts that are pertinent to what you have just written:
Keep up the good work
Thanks for your time
I look forward to hearing from you
When you use a two (or more)-word closing, only the first word is capitalized. If you are writing to a group and you know some people more casually and others less so (some of the people you may never have met), address your closing to the latter group. Avoid slang.
In all instances, your closing needs to fit the tone of the content. If you have been critical, stern, annoyed, or even angry, then you certainly don’t want to close with “Warmly” (even though you may be hot under the collar).