These are the most annoying phrases people use in email

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Megan Murray

Are these are the most annoying phrases you can possibly use on email?

How many times a day do you find your eyes rolling skyward as another passive-aggressive email hits your inbox? We can bet it’s too many.

Sentences like “not sure if you saw my last email,” loaded with double meaning are rife in the workplace, where the enforced politeness of professionalism stops colleagues from saying what they really mean. 

But if you thought you were the only one wanting to chuck a stapler at the next person who sends you a message starting “per my last email”, you’re not alone.  New research from Adobe reported by the Evening Standard, shows that there’s a whole host of phrases guaranteed to get office workers riled up because of the attitude that comes with them.

The software company surveyed 1,000 officer workers online, asking what they thought were the most annoying phrases people could use on email and it seems that people felt most irritated by sentences that alluded they haven’t done their job quick enough. 

At the top of the list was “not sure if you saw my last email” which 29% of people thought was the worst thing someone could send. While the least likely to offend was “re attaching for convenience,” relating to sending files over email. 

You can see the full list of annoying email phrases below:

  • Not sure if you saw my last email… 25%
  • Per my last email… 13%
  • Per our conversation… 11%
  • Any updates on this? 11%
  • Sorry for the double email 10%
  • Please advise. 9%
  • As previously stated… 9%
  • As discussed… 6%
  • Re-attaching for convenience. 6%

This list piqued our interest, and so we decided to put the phrases to the Stylist test and see which ones you, our readers, actually found the most troublesome. We picked four from the above and popped them in a Twitter poll to see what you thought. Interestingly, the results differed quite a bit from Adobe’s findings. 

According to Stylist readers, words that should never, ever be uttered on email are “per my last email,” coming out on top with 36%. And judging from the amount of pass ag in that sentence, we can see why. The sentence that least bothered our Twitter followers was “please advise,” which we have to agree doesn’t seem all that bad.

And there aren’t just phrases online that are guaranteed to give your colleagues a jargon judder. According to Glassdoor, there are certain ‘buzz words’ that when used in pretty much any capacity are bound to rub people up the wrong way. 

They’re all as cringe-worthy as you imagine, with the term “touch base”, being voted by 24% of the 2,000 office workers surveyed, the most annoying. The jobs website also recommends steering clear of “blue sky thinking”, which means to be creative, as 21% of people consider it a serious faux pas. The weirdest one, though, has to be “punch a puppy” which refers to doing something horrible for the long-term good and was voted most irksome by 9%.

Well, now we sure know what not to do, if you’re looking for some advice on how to excel at work, check out our careers section which is packed full of advice, like how to up cycle your LinkedIn profile and inbox management hacks for being super productive. 

Images: Getty 


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Megan Murray

Megan Murray is a digital journalist for, who enjoys writing about London happenings, beautiful places, delicious morsels and generally spreading sparkle wherever she can.

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