Faux leather, faux fur, faux pearls – and faux letters. Something that is ‘faux’ is, as they say, a genuine imitation. That is, it isn’t ‘false’ in the sense of intending dissimilitude, but ersatz and a substitute forming something of its own kind. I’ve received three faux letters in the last ten days. Two were addressed personally but formally to me, the first from my local supermarket and ‘signed’ by its manager, the second from a charity addressed similarly and ‘signed’ by its CEO; the third, also a form letter, was addressed to ‘dear Liz’ and from a second-hand bookshop I frequent and ended with a name rather than a printed ‘signature’.
If I was someone very famous or very important – say the Queen of Britain or the President of the US – and had minions producing such letters for me, would these also be faux? If the amanuensis wrote a personal reply on their behalf, then I think not; but if they simply produced a standard reply sandwiched between my name and their employer’s signature, then yes, I think so.
Last updated: 10 September 2015