By Farhan Shah
On average, 294 billion emails are sent every day. That’s 2.8 million emails whizzing electronically around the Earth every second. Discounting mysterious correspondences from rich and shady Nigerian financial advisers and electronic pharmacists touting magic pills, quite a large number of work-related emails are opened up, read and replied to.
Indeed, most office inhabitants in Singapore are familiar with Outlook and all its other variants, and will tend to be very cautious when wording their emails, simply because emails usually mean there is an electronic trail.
Consequently, email users will have the habit of adopting the language that their colleagues and contacts use, which might sometimes actually be plain wrong. Here are 5 email terms that you are probably misusing blithely:
1. As attached
Whenever there is an attachment, a healthy practice that most people adopt is to point out the existence of the attachment in the text of the email. This is great; unfortunately, many email senders fall prey to a very common grammar mistake.
The most prevalent example is “Please find the documents as attached”. Unless these documents have been wedded in the eyes of the law, this sentence is grammatically wrong. A better and more modern phrase to use would be: “I have attached the documents in this email.”
2. With regards to…
At some point or other when you were crafting your email, you might have used the phrase “With regards to” when you’re bringing up a point or changing the focus of the email. Some common examples are:
• With regards to your proposal…
• With regards to your request…
“With regards to” is grammatically wrong. The correct term is “With regard to” although there are far simpler terms that you can use, such as “Concerning”, “About” or even “Regarding”.
3. Please advice
Normally included at the end of emails as a call to action, “please advice” is an oft-used phrase when the email sender is asking for approval or input from the recipient. However, “please advice” will have your English teacher spitting out his or her morning coffee as well as a round of after-school lessons on the difference between verbs and nouns.
The word you’re looking for is “advise”, which is a verb whereas “advice” is a noun. So, the correct phrase or sentence is “Please advise.”
Unless you’re referring to the meridian running across the town of Greenwich marking Greenwich Mean Time or the number to a chat-line, “dateline” does not actually make any sense. What most people mean when they use the word “dateline” is actually “deadline”.
Common wrong examples include:
• Please advice (!) on the dateline of this proposal.
• The dateline for this project is 30 February 2013.
The next time you want to inform the stakeholders in your project of when it needs to be completed, remember it is “deadline” and not the number to a shady call centre.
Quite possibly the most abused word in the electronic mail landscape, “revert” can usually be found at least once in your emails for the day. If you have gotten an email with this phrase “Please revert as soon as possible”, feel free to charge the sender with culpable homicide not amounting to murder of the English language.
Revert does not mean “reply”; it actually means “to return to a previous state”.
Wrong usage: Please revert with the details.
Correct usage: She reverted to her evil ways.
A correct and friendlier sentence that you can use to replace “Please revert as soon as possible” is “I look forward to hearing from you soon.”
What are some other misused words that you’ve seen in your electronic correspondences that make your blood boil? Share them in the comments box below!
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