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RSVP is an initialism derived from the French phrase Répondez s'il vous plaît, meaning "Please respond" to require confirmation of an invitation. The initialism "RSVP" is no longer used much in France, where it is considered formal and old-fashioned. In France, it is now more common to use "Réponse attendue avant le...", meaning "[Your] answer is expected before...". In addition, the French initialism "SVP" is frequently used to represent "s'il vous plaît" ("please").
The phrase "RSVP, regrets only", - or simply "Regrets only", is a popular modern variation that implies "if you do not reply, that will be taken as an acceptance." More specifically, if most invitations can be assumed to be accepted, a "regrets only" RSVP will reduce the communication required by both the host and their guests. The phrase "Regrets only" refers to the assumption that a declination will be worded with some variation of "We regret we cannot attend...".
Prior to sending the RSVP invitation, the host may mail out a "save the date" card to advise the date and location of the celebration. This may be used when the event will be held a considerable time in the future and/or in a distant location to allow for travel plans, for such events as a wedding, christening, or any other important event.
In recent years, the use of RSVP in the English language has spread outside of the discourse of highly formal correspondence and commonly figures in group emails. In this context, the initialism seems to have loosened its tie to its original meaning and is often understood simply as an abbreviation for "reply sender via post". Some writers therefore routinely use the phrase "Please RSVP", which is a case of RAS syndrome or a pleonasm.
The phrase "please RSVP" is considered incorrect by most invitation creators.
In the age of the internet, mobile phones and other technology, digital RSVPs are becoming common, particularly for wedding invitations.
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- "Rsvp : Définition simple et facile du dictionnaire". www.linternaute.com (in French). Retrieved 2018-02-27.
- "Svp : Définition simple et facile du dictionnaire". www.linternaute.com (in French). Retrieved 2018-02-27.
- "RSVP vs. Regrets Only". www.announcingit.com. Invitation Do's and Don'ts.
- "Invitation Etiquette". The Emily Post Institute, Inc. Retrieved 2012-06-24.[dead link]
- Alford, Henry (2015-06-12). "The Aspirational R.S.V.P.: Saying Yes When You Mean No". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2020-03-12.
- Alford, Henry (2013-11-08). "How the Internet Has Changed the R.S.V.P." The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2020-03-12.