For most of us, emails are the main medium of communication to the working world outside our office. As the first form of direct contact with someone, an email says a lot about a person, and sadly, some choice of words will make you want to table-flip and facepalm at the same time.
Here are the most common, cringe-worthy email mistakes Singaporeans make, and suggestions on what you can say instead:
1. a�?Pls advicea�?
What you probably mean:A�Youa��re the expert here, so please suggest some alternatives. What it actually means:A�What it actually means: Please assist to suggestion. What to use instead:A�Please advise.
a�?Advicea�? is the noun referring to the suggestion that someone gave. a�?Advisea�? is the verb form, which refers to the act of suggesting something. You give advice to someone, and you advise someone. We advise that you seek advice from Google if youa��re unsure.
Also, a�?plsa�? enunciates like an unprofessional a�?plisa�? instead of a�?pleasea�?, so spell words correctly in full.
2. a�?Pls revert backa�?
What you probably mean:A�Please check and get back to me ASAP. What it actually means:A�Please return to your original state.
The Oxford Learnera��s Dictionaries has updated the meaning of a�?reverta�? marked underA�”Indian English” to mean “to reply”, but in Singapore, ita��s stillA�labelled as a mistakeA�in official correspondence. To “revert back” means to go backA�backA�- even polyjuice potion cana��t do that.
What to use instead:A�Please get back to me on this.
3. a�?Nice to e-meet youa�?
What you probably mean:A�Ita��s nice to meet you via email. What it actually means:A�I feel the need to highlight that wea��re using technology to meet even though the medium already clarifies that wea��re meeting electronically. What to use instead:A�Great to be working with you on this project/nice to meet you.
A�4. a�?Pls expeditea�?
A�What you probably mean:A�You guys are really slow so Ia��d appreciate it if you hurry up and move with the project. What it actually means:A�Ia��m using my impressive vocabulary to assert my authority but I want you to (please) hurry with this. What to use instead:A�Please get back to me on this as soon as possible.
5. a�?FYNA plsa�? (for your necessary action / notice and action pls)
A�What you probably mean:A�Take note and do something about this because I know some of you dona��t read my emails thoroughly.A�Tolong. What it actually means:A�I dona��t trust you to work independently, so Ia��m instructing you to take action. What to do instead:A�As long as you make your emails concise, people are going to understand what they have to do. Adding an acronym at the end of your instruction doesna��t highlight it if your emails are longA�af.
ForA�necessaryA�action? ForA�notice? Doesna��t the act of sending someone an email already imply that therea��s some action to be taken?
Tip:A�make your emails concise, so that you wona��t have to make markers like this.
6. a�?Ita��s not in my purviewa�?
What you probably mean:A�This isna��t my expertise. What it actually means:A�I dona��t care about this because ita��s not in my job scope. Get someone else. What to use instead:A�Ia��ve cc-ed _____. He/she will get back to you on this.
What you probably mean:A�Just to brief you on this What it actually means:A�I wish to touch you on all your bases
Um no you are not touching any of my bases.
What to use instead:A�Just to follow up
8. When emails are written like text
What you probably mean:A�I just want to get my message across – short and sweet. What it actually means:A�I have no respect for you and Ia��m going to leave in the a�?Sent with iPhone” to show you what a busy, on-the-go person I am so dona��t contact me for anything. What to do instead:A�Delete the a�?Sent with iPhonea�?, open with a greeting, and sign off properly. Emails should always be consistently professional, especially when youa��re applying for a job interview.
9. People who dona��t sign off
What you probably mean:A�I thought my name would be apparent from my email. What it actually means:A�Youa��re going to have to figure out which of my four names is the one Ia��d like to be addressed by. Also, you cana��t contact me because I didna��t give you a number to call. Youa��ll also never find out what position I hold in the company. Good luck. What to do instead:A�Just put in an automated sign-off, inclusive of your name, position, and contact info. As far as possible, your company logo should be visible, but not too large. Also, stay away from sign-off quotes, because:
10. a�?Highly noteda�?
What you probably mean:A�I have taken note of this important piece of information. What it actually means:A�?????? I have taken note of this at a high place??? What to use instead:A�Got it/thanks for this/understood.
11. People who dona��t keep their text formatting consistent
Different font, different font size, different font colour, different life.
What you probably mean:A�There are different things you need to take note of but everything Ia��ve written is important so tAKe nOte. What it actually means:A�I dona��t have my life together and I waste a lot of time changing fonts and font colours in hopes to motivate people to do the things I want them to do. Ita��s not scientifically proven but I do it anyway. What to do instead:A�Again, keep your email concise. Ita��s easier for people to pick up on important information. Below is a rewritten version of the above email:
Wea��ll meet this Friday at 9am to discuss the changes to our quarterly metrics. Prepare three items youa��d like to address in Q4 before the meeting starts.
Looking forward to your contributions!
12. a�?With regards toa�? instead of a�?with regard toa�?
What you probably mean:A�Pertaining to the your previous emaila�� What it actually means:A�Send my best wishes to your below (?) email. What to use instead:A�With regard to your previous emaila��
13. Consistently marking messages as urgent/ important
What you probably mean:A�I would like a reply on this as soon as possible. What it actually means:A�PAY ATTENTION TO ME I HAVE NO PATIENCE AND I WANT ANSWERS NOW. What to do instead:A�If your job is at stake, ita��s fine to mark your email as urgent, but it should never come to a point where you have to resort to using the dreaded red exclamation mark, or a�?low importancea�?. If ita��s of low importance, dona��t draw unnecessary attention to it. If you need a reply, ring the person up – calls get things done much faster.
14. a�?Happy TGIFa�?
What you probably mean:A�Yay, ita��s Friday! What it actually means:A�TGIF is an acronym for a�?Thank God Ita��s Fridaya�?. By saying a�?Happy TGIFa�?, youa��re literally saying a�?Happy Thank God Ita��s Fridaya�?. What to use instead:A�Happy Friday/have a great weekend ahead!
15. a�?Thanks for the quick turnovera�?
What you probably mean:A�Thanks for replying so quickly. What it actually means:A�Thanks for the quick employee replacement rate/thanks for the pie. What to use instead:A�Thanks for the quick response.
A�Communicate to be understood
As the main medium for working professionals to contact each other, emails can leave a lasting impression. Rather than saturating your emails withA�cheemA�words thata��ll only confuse people, ita��s far easier to be understood when you use simple words in concise sentences.