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Academic email replies

I find it much easier to reply to casual emails, and trivial comments, than I do to reply to academically significant emails. Perhaps it's because I feel more is at stake in the latter, and because I have less of a sure sense of etiquette in writing formal emails. (As you can tell, academic etiquette has been weighin on my mind lately.) This morning, I finally replied to several academically-related email to which I should have replied much sooner.

As long as I'm not rude, surely it is less of a faux pas to just go ahead and respond one way or another than to continue postponing replies for fear of wording it the wrong way, or addressing the recipient incorrectly.