Here are some more phrases that sound almost right—but aren’t. Check to see if any belong to you:
- For all intensive purposes It’s for all intents and purposes.
- One in the same should be one and the same.
- Make due Nope. You need to make do. Make what you have do what you need.
- By in large is by and large.
- Do diligence is not something done. You want due diligence.
- Peak one’s interest This has nothing to do with height. It has to do with pique, sharpening your interest.
- Shoe in? This has nothing to do with footwear. It’s shoo in, the way you would shoo your cat inside at night.
- Extract revenge. Nothing is being removed. You are going to exact revenge.
- Doggy-dog world. You’re describing a highly competitive situation, which is a dog-eat-dog world.
- Supposably No such word. You want supposedly.
You know you get too many emails every day. Everyone you know gets too many emails. Here are five guidelines to help you be thoughtful and legal about forwarding emails:
1. Before you forward anything, be sure you have removed ALL email addresses of others, both in the address lines and ones that might be in the body of the document. The privacy of others is as important as your own.
2. Forward only the relevant parts of an email. Much of it may be unimportant to those you want to receive it. Don’t make your readers wade through irrelevant information to get to the core information.
3. Take the time to write a personal comment at the beginning of the email. It can be very brief, as in, “I thought you’d want to see this,” but it’s important. Put yourself into the email and not come across just as a forwarding machine.
4. If you suspect the contents might contain a hoax, always check with snopes.com before you forward. You will save yourself a lot of embarrassment. (It’s happened to all of us who were in too much of a hurry to take this one simple step.)
5. If forwarding a message requires sending it to more than one person, if you don’t use BCC: for each person’s address, you may be divulging private information to people they don’t know. If you choose not to use BCC: have no doubt that all who receive your forwarded message will be OK with having everyone else see their email address. Using BCC: also prevents recipients from clicking on Reply All and bothering strangers with unwanted emails.
One more point: if you want to forward an email that was sent to you privately, you must get the original sender’s permission to forward it, to post it on Facebook or on any other form of social media. Emails we write are our private copyrighted property and we must respect the proprietary rights of others.
Most of us have had the horrible experience of discovering one nanosecond after clicking “Send” that we have sent that email to the wrong person. Here is a checklist to help you avoid that and other problems:
1. To make your email sound more human, include a greeting and closing. These can be casual or more formal, depending on the situation.
2. Make sure all names are spelled correctly. You don’t like to see your name mangled; neither does anyone else.
3. Don’t forget to add “please” and “thank you.” These are positive words people like to see.
4. Always use spellcheck, and then always proofread out loud (quietly and slowly) to pick up mistakes spellcheck doesn’t recognize (e.g., “ant” when you meant “any”).
5. Don’t overpunctuate!!!! You want to come across as a professional.
6. Avoid using “Reply All.” We all get too many emails, and “Reply All” clutters up mailboxes with issues that often don’t pertain to the recipient. Be selective in sending responses.
7. If the subject is emotionally charged, after you write your reply do not send it immediately. Do something else. Later, reread your answer and make certain it is responsive to the email you received. If you are satisfied that your answer is appropriate, go ahead and send it. If you’re not sure, either wait awhile longer or else rewrite your response.
8. The last step before sending is to check the TO: field to be certain your email is going only to those you want to see it.
People sometimes ask me about closing a business email: how do you sign off?
The main consideration is the relationship you have with the person to whom you are writing. If you are on a first-name basis, then think about what you’d say in person. You might be very casual. Some of these might fit your style:
Have a good one
If you are writing to someone you don’t know well or who is in a position above yours, you should tend toward more traditional closings:
Sincerely—I favor this one because no matter what you have written, I hope you have been sincere.
Yours truly—This one annoys me because how many people we write to are truly ours?
In addition to commonly used closings, you can also close using thoughts that are pertinent to what you have just written:
Keep up the good work
Thanks for your time
I look forward to hearing from you
When you use a two (or more)-word closing, only the first word is capitalized. If you are writing to a group and you know some people more casually and others less so (some of the people you may never have met), address your closing to the latter group. Avoid slang.
In all instances, your closing needs to fit the tone of the content. If you have been critical, stern, annoyed, or even angry, then you certainly don’t want to close with “Warmly” (even though you may be hot under the collar).