‘Not sure if you saw my last mail’ and other passive-aggressive email phrases
A poll has revealed the most irksome phrases in work emails. Here’s what they mean
“Not sure if you saw my last email”: what passive-aggressive email phrases really mean. Photograph: fStop/Getty
A poll by Adobe has uncovered the most annoying phrases to receive in a work email. It is a poll rammed with all manner of passive-aggressive neediness and belligerence, but what do the phrases really mean? Here are the nine most annoying, decoded.
‘Not sure if you saw my last email’
Perhaps you were busy on a date, or having a nice time with your children or visiting your sick mother. Whatever it was, I am more important. Please work until you are dead.
‘Per my last email’
I use the word “per” now, because I want my vaguely legal-sounding vocabulary to create fear deep in your stupid bovine heart.
‘Per our conversation’
I am creating a paper trail, because this entire project is about to go tits up and I definitely want everyone to know that this whole mess is exclusively your fault, even though it is probably mine.
‘Any updates on this?’
I am phrasing this as a question because screaming “I DEMAND IMMEDIATE UPDATES!” makes me look deranged.
‘Sorry for the double email’
I am not sorry. I like sending double emails. They make me feel powerful. Tomorrow I am going to send you a triple email, and I won’t be sorry about that, either.
I am washing my hands of this whole tawdry cock-up and dumping all responsibility on to you.
‘As previously stated’
I cannot believe you ignored one of my statements. Can you imagine if Noah had ignored God’s statement about the flood? I want you to place similar importance on a spreadsheet about office fittings that I will never even look at.
“Discussed” obviously means “demanded”. Fear me.
‘Re-attaching for convenience’
I do not just want to clog up your inbox with unnecessary reminders; I also want to clog up your inbox with documents you already own. Feel free to cry at your desk at the earliest convenience. – Guardian