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How to Quote Original Messages Properly in Replies

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How Much to Quote and Where to Reply

When you reply to an email message, you should include that message, but only as much as is necessary to establish the context.
  • Your reply should be below the quoted text, not above it.

If there is more than one point you reply to,

  • your repartees should follow the original text you refer to directly.
  • Don't be shy to cut and reformat the quoted text (except where the original formatting is essential, of course).

Proper Quoting for the Lazy and Stylish

We'll look at an example shortly, but not before I've put these rules into perspective. While they are and work great and aiming for purity here is an entertaining endeavor, following these rules is not the only way to produce neat and efficient emails. There is also a faster, simpler and more relaxed way of replying to emails that works just as well.

Proper Quoting Example

Now for an example: let's suppose the original message is

I think (or should I say I wish I acted as if?) every human being is always responsible for all other humans. Every action you take factually defines what you think humans are. Your actions reflect your basic beliefs, and I think we can choose these beliefs — although, of course, we are trained to use a certain set of beliefs as children.

...and so on. Of course, you must reply to that. And so you write, with proper quoting:

> I think (or should I say I wish I acted as if?)

Do you refer to Wittgenstein here? If the basic
beliefs are chosen (as you claim later), how can
they differ from what you think?

> [...] Every action you take factually defines
> what you think humans are.

I like that thought! But I think I must give it
some more thought... if it is a command (and I
think it should be one!), how can it be one?

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