words on the chopping block



Why do people in emails and so forth nowadays close with BEST?

Best what?

Are they embarrassed or do they think it’s too formal to say BEST REGARDS? Or, as an alternative, BEST WISHES? Which one is it?

And, by the way, in emails, what’s wrong, if you don’t know the person well, with saying — in other words, writing — “Dear” and “Sincerely” for what we learned in elementary school (but I am sure is no longer taught) are called the salutation and the complimentary close?

Who came up with “best,” and why has it been ordained? Since when do we have to use shorthand when supposedly being polite?



— Roger W. Smith

   October 2017

About Roger W. Smith

Roger W. Smith is a writer and independent scholar based in New York City. His experience includes freelance writing and editing, business writing, book reviewing, and the teaching of writing and literature as an adjunct professor. Mr. Smith's interests include personal essays and opinion pieces; American and world literature; culture, especially books and reading; classical music; current issues that involve social, moral, and philosophical views; and experiences of daily living from a ground level perspective. Besides (1) rogersgleanings.com, a personal site, he also hosts websites devoted to (2) the author Theodore Dreiser and (3) to the sociologist and social philosopher Pitirim A. Sorokin.
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