These are the 9 most annoying phrases people use in work emails

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Megan Murray
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Have you used any of these work email phrases? If so, you might want to rethink the next message you send to your colleague… 

Office politics is notoriously difficult to navigate, but if you’ve been receiving frosty replies to your emails recently, you might want to check out this research. 

You see, according to Adobe, there are certain sayings that are near guaranteed to rile up your colleagues and rub them the wrong way.

Phrases loaded with double meaning, such as, “I’m not sure if you saw my last email”, are rife in the workplace, but they seem to be the worst for ruffling feathers. 

So, worried you might have put your foot in it? Read on and see if any of your workplace cliches make it into the list. 

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    Adobe surveyed 1,000 office 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%

    woman at desk
    "Not sure if you saw my last email…" has been voted the most annoying phrase to use in an email.

    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. 

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    Images: Getty 


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    Megan Murray

    Megan Murray is a senior digital writer for, who enjoys writing about homeware (particularly candles), travel, food trends, restaurants and all the wonderful things London has to offer.

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