WHAT IS THE MEANING OF PS?

PS stands for postscript. It comes from the Latin ‘postscriptum’, which literally means “written after.” A postscript is an additional thought added to letters (and sometimes other documents) that comes after it has been completed.

Here’s a tip: People wonder—does the PS come before or after the signature? Since a postscript is an addition that comes after a letter is completed, it should always follow the signature.
In the days of handwritten and typed letters, we often found ourselves remembering something we wanted to include only after we’d signed off. That’s where a PS came in handy. It’s also often used for effect to add a clever or funny afterthought. It can be added for emphasis, or even as an argumentative “So there!” It’s a tool still used in direct and email marketing, which we’ll talk about in a moment.

THE P.S. IS THE MOST CHARMING PART OF A LETTER. IT’S THE WINK YOU GIVE AS YOU WALK AWAY.

HOW TO PUNCTUATE AND FORMAT PS

Should PS be capitalized? How is it abbreviated; with (P.S.) or without (PS) periods? Should you use any trailing punctuation? Surprisingly, there are no hard and fast answers to these questions.

The Cambridge Dictionary suggests that PS is the proper format in British English.

PS Don’t forget to let the cat in before you go to bed.
The Cambridge Dictionary also says that P.S. (with periods after each letter) is the American English format. Indeed, you’ll often find it abbreviated as such in the US. But The Chicago Manual of Style favours PS, without the periods.

The verdict? Usage varies, and PS doesn’t factor into most style guides. The safest bet is to capitalize the P and S (use periods after each letter if that’s your preference), and leave out any trailing punctuation.

PS IN EMAIL

PS once saved us from having to edit or rewrite an entire letter just to include an important afterthought. But email allows us to go back and edit before sending. Technically, we could avoid the use of PS altogether in electronic communication. But should we?

Not really. PS is still useful for effect, and it’s a great way to get a specific point noticed. Although the Internet has made us a culture of skimmers rather than people who read things like email word-for-word, we tend to notice what’s at the beginning and end of a text. Can you think of a time when you didn’t read the PS in an email you cared enough about to open?

Including a PS has long been a direct mail marketing strategy. Statistics once showed that as many as 79 percent of people who opened a direct mail letter would read the PS first. Although times have changed, email marketers still swear by it as a way to reiterate a call to action, create FOMO, provide some sort of bonus information or offer, or even share a testimonial.

It’s grammatically incorrect and sounds awkward to native English speakers. The word “news” is one of those words that sounds plural (meaning there’s more than one) but is actually singular (there’s only one). It’s called a mass noun and is usually used with a singular verb.

In English, most nouns add “-s” or “-es” to the end of the word to make it plural; cat becomes cats, house becomes houses. Sometimes, the entire word changes in the plural: mouse becomes mice, goose becomes geese. Some words can be plural or singular, depending on the context— moose is one example that can be one animal or a whole herd.

So, back to your question. “News” is like the word “scissors” or “trousers”. It’s generally understood that although it sounds plural, it’s actually singular. These kinds of nouns are called ‘plurale tantum‘.

(Plurale tantum is a noun that appears only in the plural and doesn’t ordinarily have a singular form (for example, jeans, pyjamas, tweezers, shears, and scissors). Also known as a lexical plural. Plural: pluralia tantum. Jeans, scissors, trousers and glasses are great examples of plural tantum nouns in the English language.
There is, of course, the opposite as well. Singular tantum, a noun that appears only in the singular form, such as dirt, is known as singulare tantum.)

In order to use the article/adjective “a”, you’d need to change the way you phrase it.

“I’ve got a bit of good news.”

“I have a lot of good news.”

Otherwise, the correct way to say it is, “I have good news.”

The most successful essays are well planned. Essays that go off the point with lots of extra detail will get poor marks.

STICK TO THE QUESTION

Underline key words in the essay title so you really understand the question being asked. It’s not about writing all you know about a topic.

Words like ‘discuss’, ‘compare and contrast’, ‘evaluate’, ‘account for’ are used as ways to direct your answer; make sure you know what they mean.

Other questions may start with ‘how’, ‘what’, ‘why’ or ‘when’.

WRITE A PLAN

Brainstorm your ideas on the essay topic to get started. Spider diagrams are good for this.

Plan the structure of the essay by numbering each of your ideas in order of importance. At this stage, you may wish to leave some of them out or develop others by breaking them into sub points. Redo your original spider diagram as necessary.

You may have to present your argument for the essay under broad themes like ‘economic’, ‘social’, ‘political’ or ‘religious’ reasons. Make sure you understand which theme suits each of your points, then group your all points on the same theme in order of importance into a separate paragraph.

WRITING THE ESSAY

1. INTRODUCTION

Your essay must have an introduction. State the main points you will discuss in order to support your answer to the question set in the title of the essay.

2. DEVELOPMENT OF YOUR ARGUMENT

After the introduction, add further paragraphs to build your argument, make the most important points first. Remember the way these points are ordered makes your argument clearer to the reader.

Start a new paragraph for each new important point and any linked points that relate to the question. You may include quotations from other historians and refer to primary sources (such as you can find on this website) to support a particular point.

Make sure your essay makes chronological sense. Try to present any factual points in date order.

Avoid telling the story of what happened. If you refer to an important historical event, you must make a point or comment about it. This will stop your essay from becoming a simple narrative and it shows you are trying to analyse events rather than just describe them.

Aim for five to seven paragraphs, depending on the essay and level, of course, you are following.

3. CONCLUSION

Sum up the main points and briefly restate your argument.

RE-READ YOUR WORK, CHECK FOR SPELLING ERRORS, AND REDRAFT IF NECESSARY.