Words to avoid in email

Do you feel like you struggle to get your point across at work? Are you failing to garner the respect you think you deserve in the office? It’s possible it could all be down to a few phrases you’re using in your emails.

Email etiquette is tricky, and it’s important to remember that your message might not be being read the way you think it sounds. Words that you feel help you sound friendly could come across as sounding unsure, and trying to soften the blow of feedback or instructions could be interpreted as lacking confidence.

We’ve put together a list of 5 words that you should consider avoiding in your emails. If you find yourself using any of these words it might be time to get out the thesaurus.


Adding ‘just’ to your emails can make you seem less confident, and phrases like ‘just checking in’ minimises the importance of your request. Re-think that sentence.


Hopefully you don’t use this one too often. Using the word ‘Hopefully’ gives the impression you don’t have control, or that you are unreliable and don’t really know what is going on. You shouldn’t need to be hopeful for anything. Be confident, and stick to the facts.


Using the word ‘but’ is lazy, and often greatly overused. The word is jarring and tends to be a little too informal for business use. There are better ways to interrupt yourself in an email, use a hyphen or a comma instead.

Kind of

Relying on ‘kind of’ comes across as though you are not committing, are unsure of how to convey your idea, or are too fearful to be upfront. If any of these are true then you need to stop writing your email, clear up the confusion, and start again.


Apologies should not be made via email, if you have made a mistake pick up the phone and apologise like you mean it.

While you shouldn’t apologise for yourself in emails you should also be conscious of how aggressive you are coming across. Emotion and tone don’t come through via email, and anything that is critical is going to come across as aggressive. Always wrap critical statements with positives to soften the blow and lose the perceived aggression.

Efficient emails need to be direct, clear, honest and open. With busy schedules and looming deadlines, not many people want to read wordy emails chockfull of filler words. Keep it brief and remember, being succinct isn’t rude, it’s thoughtful and shows you understand how important the recipient’s time really is.