Monday, 19th April 2021

Six email phrases to bring all work to a grinding halt

CONCERNED you may be accomplishing too much at work? Try these ways to make every email utterly gear-jamming while remaining beyond reproach: 

Hi All! Let’s look into this asap!

Basically a read receipt with an upbeat spin, this leaves absolutely no-one in any doubt that you are going to do nothing and encourages everyone receiving it to make no response and to do nothing as well. Spreads inactivity like a virus.

Hi, I’m concerned that…

Oh, you’re concerned? That’s great. How about proposing an actual solution, instead of mass-emailing your whinge? Being concerned just allows you to sit in a meeting in three months’ time and say primly, ‘I did voice my concern back in February…’ you dreadful wanker.

Last night I was thinking… 

Oh God, here comes a thoughtful 1,000-word commentary on the new credit control process, painstakingly outlined in the precise order in which the thoughts occurred to you rather than in the order people need the information. The definition of tl;dr.


The perennial classic. Means either ‘This is not important, basically just delete it’ or ‘Immensely important and career-defining, ignore at your peril.’

As you’re aware… 

Similar to ‘As discussed’ or, less subtly, ‘I did cc-you into the thread’ this is back-covering at its finest, making it clear the recipient should already know the bad news. And if they don’t? You’ve already teed up that they are the lazy f**kwit at fault, not you.


A supreme blend of economy and laziness, your one-word question clearly demands a proper response even though you couldn’t even be bothered to write a full sentence. Your casual brevity also makes you seem more important than the other person, so you win on two fronts. Result!