The Assistant’s Guide To Email Jargon


Today is Wednesday. We all know how I feel about Wednesdays.


To counteract the hate I have for Wednesdays, I’ve decided to compile a list of my favorite things to say in emails in a professional environment. I’d like to think I have some experience with emailing, or at least I hope I do. If not, that means being an assistant for a year and a half was somewhat worthless. Some phrases are passive aggressive, some are stupid and some are just hilarious and I wish I could say them more often in real life (and I do and my friends kind of hate me for it.)

  • “Please advise”: Probably my favorite thing to say in an email (and in real life) just because saying “please advise” means “I don’t know what the hell this is supposed to mean and I need you to tell me but at the same time I’m making myself sound sophisticated and pretending this is an urgent matter when in actuality I don’t give a shit.”
  • “See below”: The ultimate “I’m too lazy to copy and paste what I’m supposed to tell you so I’m going to type these two words instead and make you endlessly scroll though this email chain” phrase.
  • “Confirm”: I actually really hate saying “confirm.” What I want to say instead is “yo tell me if I can make an iCal invite for this meeting that will probably be cancelled anyways.”
  • “Please read”: When you write “please read” to your boss, chances are they still won’t read it. As a result, this phrase is useless.
  • “What’s the best number to call so-and-so on directly?”: You always want to get the number to call directly so you’re not waiting around for some other dumb assistant to call you. Chances are, they will forget to call you because they’re in the corner crying because they forgot to make a lunch reservation for their boss.
  • “I’m so sorry but an emergency came up, can we reschedule?”: This translates to “My boss doesn’t want to talk to you anymore/doesn’t actually know who you are but I’m going to be nice and lie to you so I don’t hurt your ego.”
  • “I’m cc-ing so-and-so to coordinate”: Translates to “I don’t want to schedule my own meetings so I’m making my assistant do it.” The best cc’s come when the boss man/lady says they’re cc-ing you, then they forget to, then a few days hours later ask you why you haven’t set up the meeting.
  • “Looping in so-and-so from this department to handle”: One of the only phrases where an assistant doesn’t have to deal with shit. When you get to loop someone else in to deal with something you don’t have to, go ahead and take a 5 minute dance break to celebrate your success.
  • Say “please” after basically everything: As an assistant no one really gives a shit about you, so when you ask for something you’re basically begging. Saying please every other word is a bit of an overkill but once or twice in an email will make people hate you less.
  • The “xx” at the end of an email: I think I may have just had a bad experience with the “xx” because most people are fine and actually use it all the time. But “xx” to me translated to “I’m sorry I’m making you do this because I know it sucks but you have to do it anyways” so it was kind of passive aggressive and I grew to despise it.
  • Do you end an email with “Thanks!” or “Thank you!” or “Thank you,” or “Best”?: This is the ultimate email question and can be very awkward if you mess it up. Say you sign off on the first email with a “Thank you!” you know, being super nice and excited. But then the next email, the person signs off with a “Best,” and you’re like oh shit they don’t want to be friends….SWERVE.

you're welcome

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