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Thank you, or something like that

I was replying to a student e-mail this morning—specifically, I was trying to thank him for responding promptly to a message I had sent him minutes before—and I again confronted a vexing question.

At first, I ended the message with the phrase "thank you." But unless I'm corresponding with someone higher on the academic prestige ladder, that phrase always seems overly formal in an e-mail, as if someone starched the collars to my golf shirts.

My second attempt was to use the word "thanks." But I think that tips too far toward informal for a message from an instructor to a student. And it's kind of flat to boot. Thanks. Yeah, whatever.

My third option, which I have been using much more lately, is "Thanks!" I cringe, though, because of the exclamation point! I think it sounds shrill! Or too overly gushy! In its own way, it's too informal! But I don't know of another way to use the word to convey pleasantry!

I hope you'll comment on this! Thanks! I'm probably obsessing over nothing, but hey, when your blood is equal parts red cells, white cells, plasma and words, you can't help it!

Comments

( 27 comments — Leave a comment )
nodressrehersal
Jun. 6th, 2011 11:48 pm (UTC)
You made me snicker out loud with this one. I SO know what you mean about exclamation points. My business partner loves them! And one is rarely enough!! It's like she can barely contain herself!!! So I try to do all of our business writing in order to eliminate my need to silently cringe.

I hope you appreciate the above comment AND the following suggestion! (Hmm, I wanted to use a colon right there, but I couldn't figure out a way to make it exclamatory, too!) How about if you added a few more words to the "thanks" part to warm it up without getting too cozy: "Thanks for getting back to me so quickly, I really appreciate it." No exclamation point needed. Ha! Like you need me to offer writing suggestions.
patrick_vecchio
Jun. 7th, 2011 03:25 am (UTC)
I'll take writing suggestions from whomever is willing to give them to me, and you already know what I think about your writing. So no "Ha!" needed.

But the double and triple bangers, and beyond, take "shrill" to "shriek" in a hurry.
(Deleted comment)
patrick_vecchio
Jun. 7th, 2011 03:26 am (UTC)
Agreed. One a year ought to be plenty.
tanadariel
Jun. 7th, 2011 02:57 am (UTC)
I always end emails to students with "thanks." I think that email has become so casual a medium that, for an instructor-student correspondence, it holds an appropriate tone of informality while still being polite. But, I am a little closer in age to my students, and I know damn well that affects how I communicate with them.

Thanks!
patrick_vecchio
Jun. 7th, 2011 03:28 am (UTC)
"But, I am a little closer in age to my students ..."

Thanks for the reminder!!!!!
tanadariel
Jun. 7th, 2011 03:49 am (UTC)
Oh, 'twas not meant to be a jab. You're like 30, right?
patrick_vecchio
Jun. 7th, 2011 03:52 am (UTC)
I didn't take it as a jab. Just funnin'.

strwberryfizz
Jun. 7th, 2011 03:09 am (UTC)
I always struggle with that. I feel like I come off like an immature little girl if I use an exclamation point and a stuffy poser if I don't. I usually go with a plain "thank you" at first, and then lighten up a little depending on their response. Thanks for the post! (now I'm self-conscious about that punctuation... oh well, haha.)
patrick_vecchio
Jun. 7th, 2011 03:32 am (UTC)
You're right: It's easier to go from formal to more casual than it is to go the other way.
anthrojesus
Jun. 7th, 2011 04:41 am (UTC)
If you can't think of anything appropriate then don't act appropriately.

"FOR VALHALLA,

- pjv"

or

"Pay it forward,

- V-man"
patrick_vecchio
Jun. 7th, 2011 01:17 pm (UTC)
I'm likin' the Valhalla line.
sarahk809
Jun. 7th, 2011 09:09 am (UTC)
I usually start with "Thank you for....whatever..." then end with "Thanks again, Sarah."

There's a great Seinfeld episode in which a couple breaks up because the guy didn't use an exclamation point on the note he left the girl--she felt that "Myra had the baby" deserved one, he did not. Jerry then commented that it may have been the first time a relationship had ended over punctuation.


patrick_vecchio
Jun. 7th, 2011 01:20 pm (UTC)
Hmmm. Now I'll be thinking about that Myra note all day.
cam_1089
Jun. 8th, 2011 02:17 am (UTC)
I've never ended one over punctuation, but I've reconsidered interest based on it.
patrick_vecchio
Jun. 8th, 2011 02:37 pm (UTC)
Considering you used the word "parse" on your résumé, I'm not surprised.
punkymonkey107
Jun. 7th, 2011 06:14 pm (UTC)
In an email I am a "Thank you" all the way kinda girl. It may touch on stuffy. However, I know I can't be chastised for inappropriateness or make the person feel as if I don't appreciate their response.

As for exclamations, unless I would yell the statement out into a crowded room, I don't use them.
patrick_vecchio
Jun. 8th, 2011 02:38 pm (UTC)
I agree with your use of "thank you" for occasions when I don't know the person I'm communicating with. I think the tone of the rest of the piece can establish non-stuffy-ness.
vivitalia
Jun. 7th, 2011 07:07 pm (UTC)
I usually say "thank you" somewhere in the email and then end with "thanks." I'll tailor it, depending on who I'm sending the message to, but that's my standard. Personally, I agonize far more over salutations than my signature. Dear? Hi? Name only? A girl could waste all day weighing the pro's and con's. As for exclamation points, just had the following conversation with my editor:

Me: Your editorial has a lot of exclamation points in it.

Her: It's a very happy editorial.

Me: It borders on manic.

Her: Yeah, it does.

She left it the way it was. Let me go on record: I tried.
cam_1089
Jun. 8th, 2011 02:16 am (UTC)
Trying to come up with a salutation can eat up a lot of time for me.

Dear makes it sound like I'm calling them dear to me, which is a bit forward in most cases. Hello/hi doesn't seem like the opening to a written communication. Just the name sort of feels incomplete, but I tend toward that one.

Stuff it. From now on, I'm just gonna open with "Sup." And I'll close with "If you don't know, now you know."
patrick_vecchio
Jun. 8th, 2011 02:40 pm (UTC)
I like "good morning" or "good day" with the name—Good morning, Mr. DeOrdio—in mystery business communications.
patrick_vecchio
Jun. 8th, 2011 02:50 pm (UTC)
That's all you can do: try. Either that or respond to her "Yeah, it does" comment with something like "It sounds like it was written by a high school sophomore."
cougarfang
Jun. 8th, 2011 02:10 pm (UTC)
"kkthxbye :)"

*ducks and runs*
patrick_vecchio
Jun. 8th, 2011 02:42 pm (UTC)
When you're as smart as you are, you can use whatever you want. But I can't even bring myself to type "u" in a text message! It's a horrible affliction.
cougarfang
Jun. 9th, 2011 09:26 am (UTC)
I usually try to maintain proper spelling while texting, unless I run up against the character limit (then creative measures are undertaken). Capitalization becomes a bit spotty, though.

Tangentially, When Parents Text can be quite entertaining - and occasionally cringeworthy XD
patrick_vecchio
Jun. 9th, 2011 02:10 pm (UTC)
"Cringeworthy" is right. Some folks just don't understand the phrase "age-appropriate behavior."
inkling7
Jun. 12th, 2011 12:54 am (UTC)
You could always switch to "Cheers."
patrick_vecchio
Jun. 12th, 2011 01:10 am (UTC)
Don't you have to be wearing a derby to say that?
( 27 comments — Leave a comment )

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