Try to be timely, yeah?

If you’re lucky enough to get invited to a super-fancy shindig at some point in your life, like a wedding or anniversary dinner or bar mitzvah, at the bottom of the invite you might see the letters “RSVP.” Now, I’ve had people tell me it means “Respond soon – very prompt,” but that’s not actually what it means. It stands for “répondez, s’il vous plaît,” or “please reply.” Why do people print that when they can just say “Please reply?” Well, French makes everything sound more elegant or important, I guess. Why say you’re going to cut the carrots into strips when you can say you’re going to “julienne” them? Why say underwear when you can say “lingerie”? Most people know what RSVP means anyway, so its inclusion is not meant to confuse the person you’re sending the invitation to, but I don’t half-wonder sometimes when and where the practice of using that began.


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