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Ranked: 31 terrible email phrases you need to drop immediately

Jessica Yun
How many of these email cliches rub you up the wrong way? (Source: Getty)
How many of these email cliches rub you up the wrong way? (Source: Getty)

Most of the working world has embraced instant messaging by now – but email isn’t going anywhere any time soon.

It’s still one of the main forms of digital communication, but comes with plenty of tired cliches and bugbears that can have people disengaging before they even finish the email.

According to a study by employee experience platform Perkbox, these are the email phrases people hate the most:

5 worst email greetings

It seems people prefer some form of greeting to none at all, and hate cold, impersonal addresses like ‘to whom it may concern’.

While ‘Hey’ also ranked as a highly disliked greeting, ‘hi’ was ranked the best way to start an email.

  1. No greeting – 53%

  2. To whom it may concern – 37%

  3. Hey – 28%

  4. Happy [Insert day]! Eg Happy Friday – 23%

  5. Greetings – 22%

The best way to start an email

“When asking respondents to choose what they think is the best greeting for a work email, a simple route is taken,” Perkbox said on its website.

“‘Hi’ takes the top spot for the best greeting, followed by ‘Good Morning and Good Afternoon’ in second place.”

5 worst email sign-offs

You’re at work, so things should be kept professional – and signing emails off with ‘love’ comes off as a bit inappropriate.

‘Warmly’, ‘cheers’ and ‘yours truly’ were not looked upon favourably. Whatever you do, just make sure you sign off in some for another – no sign-off was rated as the second-most disliked way to end an email.

  1. Love – 57%

  2. No sign off – 44%

  3. Warmly – 31%

  4. Cheers – 26%

  5. Yours truly – 24%

The best way to sign off your email

Keep it simple: more than two thirds of people agreed ‘kind regards’ does the job perfectly fine, while ‘thanks’ is also appropriate if you’re on more familiar terms with your correspondent.

  1. Kind regards – 69%

  2. Thanks or thanks again – 46%

  3. Regards – 31%

  4. Thanks in advance – 21%

  5. Best wishes – 20%

9 worst email cliches

Need to follow up on something? There are things you should say, and things you shouldn’t. The following phrases are the easiest way to tick people off:

  1. Just looping in...’ – 37%

  2. ‘As per my last email’ – 33%

  3. ‘Any updates on this?’ – 24%

  4. ‘Just checking in’ – 19%

  5. ‘Confirming receipt’ / ‘confirming that I have received this’ – 16%

  6. ‘Per our conversation’ – 15%

  7. ‘Please advise’ – 8%

  8. ‘Thanks in advance’ – 7%

  9. ‘Hope you’re well’ – 6%

But is it just the fact that we’re following up at all that’s the issue? “It seems we don’t like to be prompted to respond,” observed Perkbox.

12 worst email no-nos

Worse than email cliches, there are some moves you simply shouldn’t make in an email – for example, effectively shouting at your recipient, or using kissing emojis.

Including people in an email that don’t need to be looped in is also irritating, and slang or acronyms should be kept out of email communications.

And it’s a good idea not to ramble, either.

  1. Using capital letters for whole words or sentences – 67%

  2. Using kisses or ‘x’ – 65%

  3. CC’ing people who don’t need to be involved – 63%

  4. Using slang, eg ‘OMG’ – 53%

  5. Using too many exclamation marks – 52%

  6. Sending an email without proofreading – 50%

  7. Sending very long emails – 29%

  8. Using emojis – 29%

  9. Not having an email signature – 23%

  10. Double emailing – 22%

  11. Using smiley faces – 22%

  12. Using coloured fonts – 21%

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