Writing Tip Wednesday: Email Signoffs

Dear Master’s student,

If you’re a regular reader of the weekly writing tips—and I hope you are—you may have noticed my attachment to a particular signoff, “Happy writing!”  Well, an article from the Atlantic on email signoffs got me thinking about what (if anything) email signatures say about writers and about language use in general.

The Atlantic piece, by Jessica Bennett and Rachel Simmons, focuses on the emergence of XO (and its varients, XXOO, XOXO, etc) in workplace correspondence.  While the writers acknowledge that Xing and Oing is an almost exclusively female practice, it is not confined to tweens jamming to the Biebs and Taylor Swift on their Beats by Dre headphones.  According to the Atlantic, these virtual hugs and kisses have been adopted as the signoff for successful women from Diane Sawyer and Arianna Huffington.  email-signoffs

In fact, it seems, women generally seem to be the linguistic pioneers in our society, according to the New York Times.  (An article from Slate notes that some men find all this vocal novelty annoying, if only because it asserts women’s burgeoning power in shaping social norms.)  From uptalk and vocal fry (i.e. “creaky voice”) to repeating lettersfor emphaaaaaasis, there seems to be a slew of hip trends in spoken and written discourse.

So if you’re looking for something a little edgier and less stilted than “Sincerely” in your next email (and if you think “Cheers” is a little too 2012), give some consideration to XO.  Or develop your own email signoff.  It’s a great way to brand yourself and show off your creative side.

XOXO,  Happy writing (as always!),
James

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