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Readers Respond: What Email Etiquette Hint Do You Wish Others Would Follow?

Responses: 171


No Salutation, Subject or Spelling

Hello: Thank you for this excellent primer. 1) My peeve is the lack of salutation - no "dear so-and so", no "hello" or even "hi". Often the email then comes across as a command or a shout. It is off-putting. Also some emails address one in a too familiar way. That also is offensive. 2) Another peeve is either the complete lack of a response or subject title, or a "cutesy" one which does not let one know immediately what the email is about. I don't want to waste my time trying to find out what the email is about, so I typically scrap those without reading them. 3) I wish more effort was put into using proper spelling and grammar. Sometimes it is almost impossible to know what people are trying to say because their emails are so inarticulate.
—Guest Jaspera

I wish people would not…

…forward all the headers from umpteen previous forwards. Just highlight the stuff and delete it in the "forward" message!
—Guest Gale

Email Chain Letters

[My pet peeve is] e-mails that say "send this on and you'll see something wonderful happen on screen". Never once has it ever worked.
—Guest judy curtis

Forwarding no-no's

Not cleaning up the forwarded message's related e-mail addresses before sending to others. Forwarding an attachment and not verifying the attachment is part of the forwarded message, i.e. you receive nothing.
—Guest Jim M.

Forwards That Make You Scroll Endlessly

My email pet peeve is when someone forwards an email without removing previous addresses and/or ads. To me, it's frustrating to have to scroll down to find whatever was sent. I admit, sometimes I just delete the message without reading it.
—Guest Heather

Chain Letters

[My pet peeve?] Chain letters that promise miracles but have curses if you don't forward them within a time frame.
—Guest marcksmar@aol.com

My Solution for All Caps

Hi there! My solution to this problem is the following: I make an email rule in Outlook (you can do it in Gmail or wherever you want) that sends an auto-reply to every email I receive that does not follow the rules (for instance, with ALL-CAPS in the title: Subject: PLEASE DO NOT SEND ME AN ALL CAPS MESSAGE AGAIN Message: Dear contact, I would really appreciate it if you would send your next message in normal case characters. Thanks, Martien If someone is annoying you with their bad formatted email messages, you are returning them the favor. This will make them aware of what they are doing.
—Guest Martien

Bashing Public Figures

Whether I am a fan of a particular person, I hate to see all the "hate" emails and and untruths or partial truths. I have one friend who sends mostly this kind of email. I usually just delete.
—Guest Fanny

People who use the expression…

People who use the expression "it is so fun." For instance, Martha Stewart says it all the time. Feels like nail on a blackboard to me.

Possess the proper "Possessives"!

I have noticed for the past decade or longer that people misuse and overuse their apostrophes! I majored in English, and graduated with High Honors, and I know that I learned this: An apostrophe is used to note possession 0 for instance, if a hat belongs to a man, we write "The man's hat" or "It is that man's hat". We do NOT note plurality with an apostrophe, such as "more than one hat = hat's". Typing "there are fifty girl's here is infuriating to someone who has learned proper grammar and syntax, or even proper spelling, so please, everyone, get the apostrophe's (JOKE!) in the right "Place's"!!! (Another joke! :)
—Guest nancy beegle

FW messages with pictures, songs, etc

My Pet Email Peeve is [forwarded] messages. Mostly I feel that the person is too lazy to write to me, and therefore sends me an FW instead.
—Guest Sandra Shawhan

Failure to use BCC

One of my pet peeves is about people that send out email messages to groups and do not use the BCC feature. This sends all names and email addresses to everyone on the group list. Your email address has now been spread to people that you may not know.
—Guest Suzanne Fisher

Pet Peeve: Clumsy Sentences

I think proper English is not stressed in school any more. It is not the young people's fault that they don't know how to compose a sentence. The worst offence is putting a preposition at the end of a sentence. For an example: Where are you "at". Even TV broadcasters are guilty. I guess it is the new way of communicating. Sorry I am old fashioned at 75, but it is offensive to me.
—Guest valley gal

Imagine your boss is watching

When sending an email from your office, imagine that your boss is standing behind you, watching you type. Now type that email properly. (With today's sleuthing software, you boss might actually BE watching you :-)


My pet peeve is folks forwarding my and every one else e-mail address. This drives me nuts!!!!
—Guest Yvette

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