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RSVP not de rigueur

By Debra Dobbins


I just snagged a coworker in the hallway and asked coworker whether that person is planning on attending a book club meeting tonight at my home. Coworker replied in the affirmative. (Coworker will remain anonymous because I do not wish to embarrass coworker for not sending me a gilt-engraved RSVP, delivered on a silver platter by a white-gloved butler, or at least a footman.)


Other book club members have sent IMs and/or emails, letting me know whether they can attend. Along with accosting my coworker, those forms of communication are fine with me for such an event. I don’t need a formal RSVP, and I have a perfectly good reason. If I don’t know an exact count of attendees, I can overbuy wine and appetizers and then happily consume the leftovers. I do realize, of course, that instead of going to waste, they’ll go to my waist, but ‘tis the season for overindulging, after all. I’ll make an early New Year’s rez to hit the gym more often.


Yes, as noted in a Dear Annie letter on 6B today, RSVP means “please respond.” More precisely, it means “respond, if you please,” which is a direct translation from répondez s’il vous plait. According to the Online Etymology Dictionary, the phrase came into English from French around 1845.

Illustration special to the Sentinel
 

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