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How to Avoid Overusing “Please" in an Email Message

A simple solution to a problem plaguing corporate email.

Ellen Jovin

There are multiple arguments against using the phrase “please find attached” or the alternative “attached please find” in an email message.

First of all, the literal meaning is bizarre: You are imploring the reader to go search for an attachment that is sitting there conspicuously, right in front of his face.

Second, it is an awkward and unnatural-sounding construction. If you can’t imagine walking up to someone at work with a pile of papers and saying, “Enclosed please find the report you requested,” it’s not a phrasing you should use in your email.

Third is a practical consideration. On a daily basis across the United States, the “please find attached” habit leads to many thousands of email conundrums: how do you avoid saying “please” twice in a short email?

This problem arises because, in addition to beginning their messages with a “please find attached” sentence, many people end their email with another “please” sentence, such as this: “Please let me know if you have any questions.”

The intended courtesy is commendable. The style is not.

The closing sentence can stay. The opening sentence has to go.

Instead of using the clunky “please find attached,” just write “I have attached…” or “Attached is…”With this adjustment, the wording of your opening sentence will still be 100 percent professional, but the language will sound more natural, more comfortable, and more confident. You will be writing in your own skin.

In addition, you will no longer have three-sentence emails in which 67% of the sentences begin with the same word.

Problem solved!