DEAR MISS MANNERS: I received an email regarding a job I applied for. It was sent from an email address with one name attached to it, and was signed “p.p.” followed by two other names, separated by a slash:
Sent: Last Name 1, First Name 1, email address
Dear Ms. My Last Name,
p.p. First Name 2 Last Name 2 / First Name 3 Last Name 3
To whom should I address my reply? Also, I would like to reply addressing the correct person (or people) using the format Ms. Last Name or Mr. Last Name, but I cannot tell the gender of the third person by their first name. An internet search for the person has not yielded any clues. How should I address the email?
GENTLE READER: The “p.p.” or “per procurationem” used to be legalese (a popular dialect of Latin) for, “Person 2 is sending the email on behalf of Person 1, because Person 1 does not know how to type.”
It has largely fallen out of use, due to email, but remains perfectly acceptable. In responding, you may address yourself directly to Person 1. Or you may respond to Person 2 (assuming you have Person 2’s email), asking that your response be shared with Person 1. As Person 3 just seems to be along for the ride, Miss Manners gives permission to ignore him. Or her.