A Beginner's Guide to Effective Email


Kaitlin Duck Sherwood

I've gotten a number of email messages about the Re: that email programs put at the beginning of the subject lines of replies.

The Oxford English Dictionary says that "re" comes from the ablative of the Latin "res": thing, affair, and that the ablative case is used to mean "coming from" or "source of". "Re butterflies" would thus seem to say that "butterflies" is where the message "comes from".

I would guess that "Re" has probably been used in correspondence since before there was correspondence in English. (The earliest citation in the Oxford English Dictionary is from 1707.)

Now, most people think of "RE" as an abbreviation for "REgarding" or "REply"`.

Go back to Context

Go back to the beginning

Created 10 Dec 1994
Tweaked wording 28 Oct 1998.
Modified 7 Dec 1998 - changed examples slightly
Fixed typo 24 Feb 2000
Beautified page 23 May 2001

Please see the
copyright notice.