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August 29, 2009

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RVB

Thank you for bringing this matter to our attention! I used to write this sentence too often...
It is still a great help and a real pleasure to read your posts, especially when English is a second language. So thanks to Kathy too!

Khat

Mea culpa! I write this when it's a semi-formal type of email. I'll stop - thank you, now, for the alternate suggestions. I appreciate your help.

kathy

Thanks for your clear explanation about "Thank you in advance". I like those alternatives you provide in the writing. With your help, I will make my writing more effective.
Thanks.

Darrell Turner

Lynn, thank you for this posting. I've often seen "thank you in advance" criticized, but I had never come upon any suggested alternatives. I like to say something courteous in an e-mail after asking someone to do something, and your suggestions all sound good.

In contrast to "in advance," I'm one of the people who winces whenever I see the phrase "prior to." It seems stiff, even in legal writing, and I see no reason why "before" can't be used instead.

Lynn

Darrell, I strongly agree. Even more than "prior to," "subsequent to" drives me nuts. I always have to stop and translate it as "after."

Jody Bruner

Hi Lynn, I agree with everything you say about "Thank you in advance...."

I recently wrote a blog about another annoying closer: "Should you have any questions....("http://brunerbiz.com/email/should-you-have-any-questions/) another one of my pet peeves.

I enjoy your blog--thanks!

Best, Jody

John Sammut

Hello Lynn, thanks for the alternatives. I used "thanks in advance.." many times. Now I know something better.

regards
John

Lynn

Hi, Jody. Thanks for the link to your blog. It has lots of useful and inspiring information.

Jim

Lukewarm regards,
Jim

Marla

Thank you for letting me recognize the errors of my emails. I use this phrase often and didn't give it much thought. I'll politely reword my 'thank you in advance' to something more personable. :-)

Bob Miller

Well done. I can't stay so calm on this subject: I once actually printed up some "Thank you for not thanking me in advance" stickers, also applicable to such notices as Thank You For Not Smoking.

Presumptuous, arrogant, smarmy, euphemistic, lazy, impersonal, careless... TYIA can spoil the best intentions on so many levels.

Please stay with this,

Bob

Lynn Gaertner-Johnston

Thanks, everyone, for your comments, thanks, and passion on this subject.

Lynn

LP

I see many cases where this phrase is use by non english people who in their culture found this acceptable.

How about this one.

Any help you could provide for this request will be appreciate.

Lynn Gaertner-Johnston

LP, your example needs some repairs to the verbs. Here are possible versions:

Any help you could provide for this request would be appreciated. [could . . . would]

Any help you can provide for this request will be appreciated. [can . . . will]

Any help you provide for this request will be appreciated. [provide . . . will]

Lynn

Barry

I was taught that it is rude to thank someone for something that has not yet been done.
It implies that (as the author of the request) your will is greatest or that their choice in the matter is nil. It is not only presumptuous, it is also pretentious. The idea that the reader could be coerced by your closing statement is an insult to them.
The examples you cited for LP are about as close as you can get to showing your appreciation for what they may do if they are able and willing to do it.

Lynn Gaertner-Johnston

Thanks for commenting, Barry. I do not believe people intend to be rude when they "thank you in advance," but I agree it can come across that way.

Lynn

writer

I highly disagree that "thank you in advance" is rude. What is the difference between saying "thank you for x y z" and "Thank you in advance for x y x"? Both presume the reader will do x y z - it is only the phrase that says "in advance" that is honest about its prematurity.

Rania

Thank you for this post. I didn't know that it was rude to use "thank you in advance" since in french we use it frequently in formal emails.
I am currently writing an email and I was looking for courteous alternatives to end it. Luckily i found 5!
Thank you for your help!

Rania


Lynn Gaertner-Johnston

Rania, I was interested to learn that the expression is standard in formal email in French. It seems that only some people find "Thank you in advance" irritating.

Lynn

Ed Walker

Merci d'avance is indeed common in French but it is probably a direct translation from American English and a product of international business school culture.

I often receive curt and unintelligible briefs for projects via email and interpret TIA as "my time is far too precious to spend briefing you by telephone or face-to-face, so please just get on with the job and don't bother me until it is done."

Lynn Gaertner-Johnston

Ed, what an interesting interpretation of "TIA"! Thanks for sharing your view.

Lynn

Andre

VEEEEERY useful Lynn, thank you so much for this...hehe and I love the way you ended it!

Lynn Gaertner-Johnston

Glad you liked it, Andre.

Lynn

Lana

"I will appreciate your help with this situation." Why, is it not will be appreciate with others situation could come across this question.

www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=704910705

wow...I just changed the "thank you in advance" that I use in almost every email communication and difference in humongous!!! Excellent article and advise Lynn. Many thanks!

Haining

Well I still like to use "thank you in advance", even after reading this post.
But I use it spesific for situations where I have to ask people to do their job (which they did not do in a timley manner) e.g. "Could you send me the presentation xyz,thank you in advance"

The provided alternatives apply more to situations where the other person is not obliged to do the task.

•"I will be grateful for any help you can provide." appears far too soft to me when I want to say "please do your job and I thank you in advance for doing your job"

Lynn Gaertner-Johnston

Hi, Haining. Have you considered not saying thank you until you receive what you have directed the employee to do?

Lynn

Florian

"Merci d'avance is indeed common in French but it is probably a direct translation from American English and a product of international business school culture."
I would like to say that it is not the case. Merci d'avance is simply the usual and polite way to express a request. It does not imply "you must do the job". It simply means "thanks for your attention". And when the job is done, a polite person will write thanks again... No cultural differences there...

A French scientist.

PS: I will use your suggested alternatives with my English and American colleagues. Thanks.

Lynn Gaertner-Johnston

Florian, I appreciate hearing your view as a French scientist. Thank you for commenting.

Lynn

Everett

This has bugged me for years. Unfortunately, it has become so common in emails and such that I was recently 'thanked in advance' for a job I had already completed! I'm sure the writer didn't think twice about it.

Dumbfounded

Lynn Gaertner-Johnston

Everett, thanks for sharing your story of being thanked in advance afterward!

Lynn

Andrew


I have seen this phrase or TYIA on steroids: "thank you in advance for your anticipated cooperation" from bosses (past). This has occured in passive-aggressive settings.
This means 2 things to me:
1) I hate the fact that I have to work with such lazy, uncooperative employees
2) You would not now, and never will be thanked unless I need something extra from you
Pretty much 'anti-motivation'...

Lynn Gaertner-Johnston

Hi, Andrew. You give two good reasons not to use "Thank you in advance."

Thanks for commenting.

Lynn

Marcos M. Ventura

Hi, Lynn.

Actually, I like "thanks in advance", but I also agree that other options may be used and are very good. But I find it a little bit strange to justify not to use it saying that it suggests that the reader will not be thanked later on. It looks like a presumption of character.

I think that "Thank you in advance" strengthens the relationship and commitment between the parts. I find that "I hope you will be able to provide the information" or "I will appreciate your help with this situation", much more aggressive because "I hope... I will..." are much more individualistic.

But, anywhay, isn't it a little bit of "writing rules neurosis" that we all have?
Don't get me wrong... Just kidding! ;-)

Marcos

Lynn Gaertner-Johnston

Very interesting, Marcos! I had not thought of my suggestions as coming across as individualistic. I guess that says something about me and my culture. (Another individualistic remark!)

I am glad you dropped by and left a message.

Lynn

Jazon Santos

I totally agree with you. Your command of the English language is impressive. This is the first time I have visited your website and read an article of yours. I'm already a fan and have added the website to my bookmarks.

P.S. Your options are not individualistic, by the way. It is part of the English language to use expressions with the pronoun "I."

Lynn Gaertner-Johnston

Hello, Jazon. I am glad you have discovered this blog and have joined the discussion.

Lynn

Dave LewiS

Saying "Thank you in advance" is an assumptive close and indicates that the writer is "directing" the recipient to do work rather than genuinely requesting it.

A really awful passive-aggressive phrase that leaves the recipient little room to do anyting but comply.

Britt

Very useful! In Dutch (I'm from the Netherlands) it is very common and even polite to thank someone in advance (Bij voorbaat dank/Alvast bedankt), so I'm glad I read this. I will definitely make use of the alternatives.

Lynn Gaertner-Johnston

Hi, Dave. You have strong opinions about "Thank you in advance." Before you think too negatively about writers who use the expression, remember that it may be an unconscious habit. I find that people often use an expression only because they see their colleagues using it.

Thank you for sharing your view.

Lynn

Lynn Gaertner-Johnston

Hi, Britt. Thank you for taking the time to share your Dutch perspective.

Lynn

Johannes

In german it is a standard idiom in business correspondence too: "Danke im Voraus!"

I'm from Austria, and I know it's the same in Germany.

Of course you thank them again on fulfilling the request, and omitting this would likely be considered impolite.

And, in case of requesting information, closing an email with "I hope you will be able to provide the information." would have a slight sarcastic undertone to it, inferring they are not overly capable of giving me that information, assuming you know they can.
But that could just be me.

Lynn Gaertner-Johnston

Johannes, vielen Dank! I appreciate your German perspective. It is so interesting to hear from European business writers.

Thank you for taking the time to comment.

Lynn

Elvira

Interesting.In Russian,we say
"заранее благодарен"(read as Za
ranye blagodaren meaning 'I am
grateful in advance) in formal and
informal writing to be polite but
without necessarily implying a
favour to be done or honoured.

Thank you for the blog.

Elvira
Donetsk,Ukraine
--
“The earth is but one country and mankind its citizens”.Bahaullah.
Bahaullah

Lynn Gaertner-Johnston

Elvira, thank you for your helpful Ukrainian perspective. It is very interesting to learn about the Russian "I am grateful in advance."

Lynn

Eb

I was, very recently, chewed out by my school's Internship Coordinator for using that term in an email I sent to her. I was told it was rude to thank her in advance because it was almost as if I were demanding her ever so kindly to fulfill my request.

I felt horrible about it and have never used the term, business or otherwise, again.

This article was very helpful.

Thank you.

Lynn Gaertner-Johnston

Eb, please do not continue to feel horrible. As you probably noticed in the comments above, people have varied views of "thank you in advance."

I am sorry the internship coordinator chewed you out, but at least she made an impression!

Good luck with your education and your career.

Lynn

Steve

I detest the phrase "thanks in advance" because it is an order, not an expression of gratitude.

I stick with what I consider the gold old-fashioned "Please..." when making a request and "thank you" after the request has been complied with(or after the person has consented to comply with the request).

Lynn Gaertner-Johnston

Hi,Steve. Thanks for sharing your view.

Lynn

Ernesto Poussif

Hi Lynn,
First of all, thank you very much for your post. I got right now another doubt on how to say that correctly (First of all...).
This topic was driving me crazy. And it's absolutely not about the sentence itself (I can memorize your suggested alternatives and stop using the incorrect one), but about the cultural misunderstanding. Of course I don't want to discuss your logic (you just only explain wonderfully how it could be interpreted under your culture) but to learn from the case to apply it in other cases.
I know the equivalent expression from Spanish (my native language), German (my current local language), Italian and French. In all of them the sense is the same: The writer is thanking, first to read until that point (the end of the letter or message), to pay attention, and "in advance" to try to help you (even if it's finally not possible). The assumption that the reader will try it's so far appreciated rather than resulting offensive (interpreted as a pushing way). In the four languages is considered very polite. It's not always used, but its use is considered as a very nice way of closing a request. Whoever is writing like this would never think on the possibility to omit thanking again after answered (nobody wrote "enjoy my thanks now because I'll not repeat it... just kidding), and even a negative (but polite) answer would be re-answered (in the same level) with something like "Thanks anyway" (I'm thinking now how this could be mistaken following the same logic). As far as I read along the other comments, many other readers explained that in their languages it's the same. My doubts are now about other common expressions. I got that one the first time from any received email, but I can't remember from who. Anyway I read many native English speakers recognizing that they use/d it. It makes difficult for us (foreigners trying our best in our rudimentary but well intended English) to get the right way of writing and expressing our thoughts.
Again, many thanks for this your post and all your others in this website (which I discovered now and I'll explore it well during the next days).
Greetings,
Ernesto

Lynn Gaertner-Johnston

Hello, Ernesto. Thank you so much for taking the time to talk about the issue of misunderstandings, especially across cultures.

In the United States, people take offense at different things. Some people dislike "Thank you in advance." Some hate "Please advise." Others get angry about "Hello, Ladies." As you read the comments on this blog, you will see how many things can irritate readers.

I try to share ideas for language that will not offend anyone. It can be difficult!

You mention people like yourself who write and speak in English as a non-native language. Many people in that category copy what they read from their associates who speak English as a first language.

Unfortunately, many native English speakers have writing habits that are not good to copy. Their emails and letters should not be used as examples.

I am glad you read this blog for insights into business writing in English.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

Best regards,

Lynn

Eileen Newell

How about if we add I look forward to your information at the end of the memo/email.

Lynn Gaertner-Johnston

Hi, Eileen. I think "I look forward to receiving your information" is fine at the end of the message.

Lynn

Alex Alves

As a non native English speaker this article was very useful to me, I was about to make this mistake,thanks God I've found this post first

Lynn Gaertner-Johnston

Hi, Alex. I am glad you found the information helpful.

Lynn

Andy.Xia

Lynn, thank you for your artical about business writing, In Chinese, thanks in advance(先谢了) is OK, every one often uses it. But we learn English from the U.K or U.S.A , so to respect your culture, I will use the alternatives you supplied.
Best regards,

Andy Xia

Lynn Gaertner-Johnston

Thanks, Andy. I appreciate knowing about the Chinese use of "thanks in advance."

Lynn

Mugdha

Hi,

Thank you for the useful article.

Though is 'Thanking you in advance' and 'Thanking you in anticipation' really the same?

I would like to know you thoughts on the same.

Regards,
Mugdha

Lynn Gaertner-Johnston

Hello, Mugdha. Your two expressions have the same meaning.

Lynn

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