Work & Career
10 Irritating Phrases You Should Never Write in Emails
Whether you’re addressing people at work or sending out the details for the next family reunion, some phrases should be left out of all emails.
“We need to …”
Translation: XYZ needs to be done, but … I’m not actually going to come out and directly tell any of you to do it.
… especially when used outside British pubs or the United Kingdom in general.
“Thanks in advance”
As opposed to thanks from the past? No thanks on all accounts. Make sure you also avoid the 10 most annoying phrases in the English language.
We all appreciate catching up with friends or colleagues, but where did “touch base” even come from? What base are we touching? Is it a baseball analogy gone wrong?
This phrase is as empty as, well, a circle. Instead of suggesting to circle back to a topic some other time, why not just discuss it right then and there? And if you wait a significant amount of time before circling back to that topic, is it really even worth bringing up?
“To be honest”
You may write this thinking that you’re showing how open and trusting you are, but the recipient probably won’t respond that way. In fact, you’re giving her good evidence that anytime you don’t start a sentence with that phrase, you could very well be lying. Make sure you don’t use these petty work phrases everyone is guilty of writing in emails.
“Please consider the environment before printing this email.”
I love the Earth as much as the next guy, but if I need to print an email, I will—whether you nag me or not.
This is a much too formal sign off for any email, and ironically, it can come off as the opposite of respectful. Stick with a simple “Thanks” or “Sincerely.” Here are more toxic phrases to avoid in work emails, and what to say instead.
If you receive an email, it’s implied that the content of that email is “for your information.” And definitely don’t make this the only thing you write in a forwarded email to a colleague. It probably won’t be immediately clear what exactly you want them to know. Save time and confusion by just sending a separate email with whatever the person needs to know.
… or anything written in all caps and/or followed by multiple exclamation points. No one wants to read an email that looks like it was written by a hyper middle schooler. Next, check out these 11 ways productive people manage their emails.