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November 01, 2006

Please Find Posted This Blog Entry

A poorly constructed and tired phrase in email writing is:

Please find attached the document that you requested…”

This phrase is verbose, passive, and imprecise. Strunk and White cringe every time it is used.

It is imprecise: Who attached the document? You? Me? The Document Fairy? The phrase doesn't convey the actor.

It is verbose: The alternative, “I’ve attached,” is shorter.

It is passive: It uses third person passive voice.

Don’t use this phrase. Replace it with the straightforward and concise “I’ve attached the document…” It should be included in chapter 5 of the next edition of Elements of Style.

Posted by gsmith at November 1, 2006 07:48 AM

Comments

It's also redundant - all graphical email clients show you if there's an attachment.

It's also often inaccurate - because we write the phrase before attaching and then forget to do the attaching. I believe there's some plugins that detect such phrases and warn if there's no attachment.

An even shorter, but more obscure version is "Herewith" as in, "Herewith the document you requested..."

Posted by: Josh G at November 1, 2006 09:03 PM