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ESL Story: Emails?

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Listen to this essay (English audio, MP3; by Ralf Breheny)

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What do you make of email?

What intrigues me is what sort of communication we all used to use before the coming of the email. Was it the phone or the letter? Or do we now have more contact with people than we used to simply because the phone could have been too expensive or the letter too much of an effort? In the old days people you met briefly but got on with would say: Keep in touch.

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Give me a bell. Drop me a line. But did you? Do you now keep in touch with email? Then of course not all occasions are suitable for emails. Would you write an email of sympathy to someone whose loved one had died? Take another example. Would you send a love email? A love letter, well that's something different. People look back over those in later life and treasure them. But would you save your love emails and keep them in a little box? Is it likely that an email will acquire a historical significance in the future as letters have done in the past? In this country sometimes an email between important political figures is 'leaked' because they are so easy to get hold of and send to the press. That rarely happened with letters. Again we have all seen and read books containing the collected letters of famous writers, artists, politicians and the like. Can you imagine a book being published containing the collected emails of similar figures in the future? And what about the word 'email' itself? We can use it as a noun and a verb and possibly call someone who sends one an emailer. What would we use to describe the equivalent of correspondence? Could it be 'emailings' or again 'emailery'?

What I'd really like to know is what sort of status do emails have in your opinion?

If you want to share your thoughts on this story, you can do so here: emails?

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please post them on this English Grammar Forum.


Next:ESL Story: Are you a nitpicker?

Author: Alan Townend


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