In email, letters, and memos that include a request, writers often end with one of these statements:
- "Thank you in advance for your attention to this matter."
- "Thank you in advance for any help you can provide."
In comments on another blog post this week, one writer said she hated "Thank you in advance" and another wanted to know why the phrase deserves hatred.
People hate the phrase for a couple of reasons. One is that it feels presumptuous. The writer presumes that you will provide what is requested and so is "thanking you in advance." Would the proper response be "You are welcome in advance"? That silly suggestion shows how "Thank you in advance" comes across wrong.
"Thank you in advance" also suggests that the reader will not be thanked later on, after fulfilling the request. If the reader receives thanks in advance, will his or her actions be thoughtlessly ignored?
Of course, people who write "Thank you in advance" do not intend to be presumptuous or thoughtless. On the contrary, they are trying to be polite. If you are among them, here are courteous alternatives to consider:
- "Thank you for considering my request." (Just by reading to the end of your message, your reader has considered your request.)
- "I will be grateful for any help you can provide."
- "I will appreciate your help with this situation."
- "I hope you will be able to provide the information."
You can also sound polite by simply omitting the "in advance":
- "Thank you for any help you can provide." (But be sure to thank the individual after you receive the help too.)
I began with the example "Thank you in advance for your attention to this matter." That sentence has two offending phrases. The second one is "for your attention to this matter." That bureaucratic expression has appeared in billions of letters, especially ones asking for late payments. It's so tired after being spit out of typewriters and computers for decades. Give it a rest. Replace it with something more specific that fits your situation.
Thank you in advance for avoiding the above phrases.