August 30, 2008

P.S - Why do we say p.s.?

"Assuring you of our best intentions at all times, we remain,

Yours sincerely.

Doombay and Sons

P.S. Should this note arrive after the birth then please accept our commiserations"

The humble post script, or "PS". It comes from the latin meaning 'after writing' and dates back to when we finished hand written letters with 'Yours sincerely' or 'Yours faithfully' and then wanted to add something else.

Now, with computers (or even word processors) we can just add something further up, thus negating the need for a p.s.

But still we use them

What's more they get used in things like web squeeze pages (you know, those pages touting a special offer to purchase where you can only do one thing on the page - buy!). As you read your way down the page you'll see lots and lots of information about the product and then at the end there will usually be a P.S. - As if we haven't read enough already. What is that all about?

So why do we do it?

Is it because we can't stand leaving behind something that is ingrained from an early age - well, an early age for those who had to hand write letters once rather than type them all? Or is it something that exists in the language and therefore needs to be used regardless of the origins?

In the internet world is there some reason that the p.s. takes on a typical significance? Does it send out the message "I'm still tied to the old fashioned way of doing things regardless of the movement towards the modern world"? Or is it actually a specific marketing ploy? Is it merely a way of adding additional information that will be 'The takeaway' that someone leaves your web age or e-mail with? After all when you've spent 10 or 15 minutes reading a sales pitch, how much do you actually remember? Is it just the last few words?

Maybe we will never know

P.s. My eBook "The Perfect Process Project" now comes with some additional free extras. Check it out at this site

P.p.s What is a P.p.s. all about then? "I couldn't tell you everything I wanted in the letter OR the p.s. so I added some more stuff to read"? Tch!

P.p.p.s "Sincerely" comes from the latin sine cera meaning "without wax" in other words meaning honest [as in an honest intention] and without wax regarding the closing of a letter/note. But also regarding people’s behaviour about being genuine and uncorrupted.

(Image courtesy of addedentry. Released under a creative commons attribution, share-alike licence)


  1. My understanding - people add a P.S. to emails when it is off topic, but usually they have just thought about it.


    P.S. Are you even with Ray Knight?

  2. I think you're absolutely right about why people SHOULD use PS's, but I think they use them for the wrong reasons as well :-)

    P.S. No I'm not with Ray Knight - according to their spiel you have to live in London, and I don't. Is it still worth registering? Have you got work from them, yet?

  3. No work yet, but I only finshed the sign up process on the Friday before Cornwall. I will ask them on Monday since I'm calling to beg for work.

    Will let you know then.