Subtext /Writing an e-mail/ (Tales of mere existence)
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When you write an e-mail, are you saying what you REALLY mean?


Ok, what should I put here... I suppose I could just say "hello"... Actually I should probably make that "hello from Lev".

Ok, "dear Mimi". Actually it might be a little bit too formal to say "dear" because I don’t really know her, so maybe just "hi, Mimi". But there’s something about "hi" that sounds uptight so maybe I should make it "Hey Mimi". Yeah, that’s it, "Hey Mimi".

Ok, now, here I should definitely remind her who I am. But wait, that sounds like I’m expecting her to forget me, so I should change that to... Nah, that's too polite. Make that... Yeah, yeah, that’s it, that’s it.

Ok, here I can be nice and say I hope she had a good night. Then I should tell her that I had a fantastic night so she’ll start to think that she would’ve had more fun if she was with me instead of going to the party that she went to.

And then, I’ll throw in some little indication that somebody was hitting on me, so that maybe she’ll get kind of jealous.

Now, how should I do this part, how should I do this, how should I do this.
No, no, no, no, no, that’s too forward.
No, no, that’s too traditional.
But wait a second. "Would you like to" is a yes-or-no question, so maybe I should try...
But there’s something about that that sounds a little bit too neaty so maybe I should try this.

Ok, that’s straightforward enough. Send it.


SUBTEXT= the ideas not expressed in the text but which are transmitted by it in an unconscious or hidden way.

ACTUALLY= a nice way of correcting other people when they’re wrong (or correcting oneself, as here)
In some other cases (as we can also see in this text) it means: as a matter of fact, in fact.

UPTIGHT= anxious, nervous, tense, not relaxed.

NOW= in conversation, we often use "now" as a gap filler, it doesn’t mean anything, it's like: ok, well, err, then, so...

NAH= a coll. way of pronouncing NO (also spelled "naw" in AmE)

WOULD’VE= would have (pronounced /wʊdəv/)

IF SHE WAS= grammatically incorrect. In this sentence he should say "if she had been with me". Besides, the "correct" form for all the grammatical persons in conditional clauses (with IF) is not WAS, but WERE (if I were you... / if he were rich...), but that’s changing fast in BrE and changed long ago in AmE, so "if I was" or "if he was" is today perfectly normal even in BrE.

INSTEAD OF GOING= remember that after prepositions and conjunctions we always use the form –ING of the verb.

THROW IN= put into the text in a natural way, as if not intending any particular reaction.

HIT ON SOMEBODY= to try to pick somebody up. If someone hits on you, they’re trying to attract your attention to have a romantic conversation or affair with you.

JEALOUS= when you feel bad because you think the person you love may like or be liked by another person.

FORWARD= (also "straightforward") direct

NEATY= a coll. version of "neat", which means more or less "clean, formal, uptight, elegant, nice"

STRAIGHTFORWARD= direct, with no possibility of misinterpretation (the opposite of "ambiguous").

ENOUGH= it goes after the adjectives and before the nouns: "you’re not big enough", "there were enough people to help us".