What Not to Say in an Email: 5 Things to Avoid

Delete, delete, undo

Email is awesome! Except for that one time you wrote “OK” with no exclamation point and your sister-in-law thought you were mad at her and Thanksgiving was ruined. That's why we're here to remind you what not to say in an email. In the interest of not being misconstrued, here are five phrases to cut permanently from your lexicon.

RELATED: 6 Things You Should Never Say During an Interview

what not to say in an email

1. Just

Prefacing a statement (especially a request) with “just” diminishes your message and might make you seem less confident. Instead of saying “I’m just trying to set up a time for the packaging meeting,” say “I’m writing to set up a time for the packaging meeting.” Nobody will miss that little J-word.

2. Actually

This word is kind of like "literally" in that it’s annoyingly ubiquitous and frequently misused. Basically, it’s filler, and nine times out of ten, can actually be cut.

3. I’m sorry

Did your colleague’s dog die? Did you do something egregiously wrong? Or are you asking her why her expense report is late? We often use apologies (“Sorry to nudge but…”) as a crutch in emails in order to keep from seeming aggressive. But the downside is that you then start the conversation on a negative tone, and end up taking blame for something that isn’t your fault

4. Does that make sense?

This is another one that deals with confidence. If you’re saying something, project that you know it makes sense. If you’re genuinely concerned that your message is confusing, think about ways you can clarify.

5. Sent from my iPhone. Please excuse any typos.

Here’s an idea: Don’t make typos!

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Rachel Bowie

Royal family expert, a cappella alum, mom

Rachel Bowie is Senior Director of Special Projects & Royals at PureWow, where she covers parenting, fashion, wellness and money in addition to overseeing initiatives within...
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