Read the text and answer the questions that follow!
Many years ago, near the beginning of this century, when the mayor of Boston was shown a telephone for the first time, he was so impressed that he declared: "In fifty years there will be one of these in every American city."!
Others predicted that the telephone would make writing, to friends at least, unnecessary because instant person-to-person communication would be possible. Typically, they also predicted the end of postal services altogether and the death of the skill of letter writing. The advantages of the telephone over sending a letter were so obvious, it was felt, that nothing could stop this process.
Both these predictions proved to be wrong in their own ways, of course, but there is no doubt that our habits did change with the arrival of the telephone and will change again as new media come into use.
On the plus side, the telephone has two obvious advantages. Firstly, it frees us from the difficulties of writing formal letters. We wouldn't have to remember when to use ‘Dear Sir,' and when to finish with ‘Yours sincerely', ‘Yours faithfully' or ‘Yours truly', where to put the address and date or to learn all the other rules of formal letter writing.
Secondly, the telephone allowed us to get our message across in real time, without having to wait days, and, in the case of some international mail, weeks, for a reply.
Simultaneously, then, the telephone freed us from restrictions of both style and time. However, the use of the telephone also has disadvantages and there are many times when writing a letter is preferable to making a call.
In the first place, a telephone call is almost always disturbing. The ringing of the telephone always interrupts something, even if it is a welcome interruption, so almost all calls begin rather apologetically. How many calls do you make beginning with phrases like: ‘Sorry to get you at home ... ‘ or ‘Oh, hi, have you got a minute?' and so on? We are never sure about whether we should be calling at this particular time and never know whether the person we have called is ready to talk to us. For this reason, we listen out for the tone of voice to reassure ourselves that the call really is welcome and that we haven't interrupted a meal, a conversation or a favourite television programme.
Letters from friends, on the other hand, are almost always welcome and can't interrupt anything because we can read them when we choose to read them and respond if and when we like. Unlike telephone conversations, too, we can also re-read them of course and choose not to respond at all if we don't want to. In addition, when writing a letter, you can organise your thoughts more carefully and say what you really want to say without having to ‘think on your feet' and running the risk of saying the wrong thing.
In addition to the phone and the postal service now, of course, we have electronic mail - e-mail - which seems to combine the advantages of both letter writing and using the telephone.
We can compose e-mail messages cautiously and slowly, making sure that we choose our words with care and we can read and re-read them just as carefully before responding. In these ways, sending an e-mail message is just like sending a letter but even easier because we can use much less formal language and we don't have to buy a stamp or leave the house to post it. However, unlike old-fashioned letters, e-mail messages are usually delivered virtually instantly, just like using the telephone.
E-mails also have advantages over the use of telephones as well. When you send an e-mail there is no need to check your watch to make sure it's a suitable time of day, no need to make small talk to apologise for disturbing people and no need to respond immediately to awkward questions.
The best of both worlds!
Q1:Letters are sometimes better than making telephone calls because
Q2:Sending an e-mail message is
Q3:E-mails allow us

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