Please See Attached

Jonathan from California wrote to me last week asking and then answering his own question. I like it when readers are so efficient!

Here is what Jonathan grappled with:

Today I was looking for an answer to my question about the correctness of the term “please see attached,” but I could not find a post about it.  So I am writing to ask you, but in thinking about it a little more, I think I know the answer.  Even though people use the term all the time (at least in my industry), it is an incomplete sentence and should be avoided. It takes a few seconds longer to type out “please see the attached document (or spreadsheet, proposal, etc.)”, but it is the right thing to do. 

I agree, Jonathan. "Please see attached" sounds incomplete.

To people who send nonstop text messages or emails, the phrase probably seems efficient. But I suggest boosting efficiency with more energetic, focused sentence starters such as:

The attached diagram shows . . .
The attached spreadsheet contains . . .
When you review the attached proposal, you will notice . . .
As promised, I have attached a revised . . .
Please let me know if the attached draft . . .

"Please see attached" is simply too dull–and it's inaccurate. We don't want our readers to "see" the attachment. (I "see" a pile of papers on my desk, but my next step is to hide it in a file drawer.)

We want our readers to review, improve, approve, save, forward, or recommend it–not "see" it.

We also don't want them to find it. (It's not lost or hidden, is it?) So "Please find attached" is no improvement.

Are people at your organization, like Jonathan's, attached to "Please see attached"? Perhaps you can ask them to please see consider this blog post.

Lynn
Visit my website at www.syntaxtraining.com.

 

90 COMMENTS

  1. I read “PFA is XYZ” in one of mails I received, and I was thinking to myself the same thing – How much time does it take to write, “Attached document is XYZ”

    Moreover, “PFA is XYZ” doesn’t even make sense! Please find the attached is XYZ? Hmm… I need a break.

  2. Thanks, Lynn!

    I really like your suggestion to do away with “see” and “find”. Creative writing is more effective AND efficient!

  3. Hi Lynn,
    Love all your posts. This one hit the home. I do “PFA” all the time because I am sending invoices every week.
    Some how could not come up with a better alternative to that when sending invoices.
    Do you have any suggestion.
    Once again million thanks for your wonderful blog.
    AC

  4. Hi, AC. Well, imagine that I have just banned your use of “PFA.” What plain language would communicate better?

    How about “I have attached” or “Attached is” or “Your most recent invoice is attached” or “The attached invoice covers the dates xx to xx”?

    Depending on the circumstances, you may want to try “When you review the attached invoice, you will see that . . . ”

    Remember: I have banned your use of “PFA”! No cheating!

    Lynn

  5. I was told today that my sentence was incorrectly written.
    “Please see attached for today’s US & International refund report”. The person said I should write it without the word “for”.

    Please tell me if I was writing it incorrectly. I think I write pretty well and really shocked me.

  6. Hi, Elena. If the entire attachment is the refund report, then the feedback you received is correct.

    If the attachment includes more than the refund report, your version is correct.

    A cleaner version is “Today’s US & international refund report is attached,” or “Attached is today’s US and international refund report.” Unless you need to direct your reader to “please see” the attachment, you can drop those words.

    Lynn

  7. Should I use OR, or WITH in the below sentence?

    We will keep you apprised of further developments OF the application. Or

    We will keep you apprised of further developments WITH the application.

  8. Hi, Sherri. It depends on your meaning. “Developments of the application” means the application is being devleoped.

    “Developments with the application” may mean something is being developed that works with the application.

    I hope that response helps.

    Lynn

  9. Hi,

    I used to send emails with this common line “please see attached the statement of your account….”

    Yet, few days back while teaching my trainee she insisted that it is wrong. she said it should be “please see the attached statement of your account…”

    I believe using “the” before “attached” is not necessary. Or does it matter if “the” comes before or after.

  10. Hi, Meryl. To an American ear, “Please see the attached statement of your account” sounds more natural than “Please see attached the statement of your account.”

    My purpose in writing this blog post was to offer alternatives to “Please see attached.” Did you consider the sentence starters listed above?

    Lynn

  11. Nice observation.These sentence formations are helpful and knowingly or unknwingly, I’ve been using them for quite a while.
    The only time I use PFA/PSA is when I have to send an attachment referred during a discussion..The
    context is clear and I don’t want to send a blank mail 😉
    While composing a mail for wider audience, I try using the additonal word “herewith” to make it clearer – call it old school 🙂
    Eg,
    Attached herewith is XYZ
    or – XYZ is attached herewith.

  12. Abhishek, I would not add “herewith” unless I wanted to sound terribly old school–so old school as to be shriveled and dusty.

    I just checked “Garner’s Modern American Usage.” Garner says, “Business-writing texts have consistently condemned the phrases [‘enclosed herewith,’ etc.] since the late 19th century.”

    What’s wrong with “As promised, here is the ________”?

    Lynn

  13. Agree Lynn- so much old school as obsolete but ,somehow, seems to give a completeness to a mere “Attached”.
    Refreshing to see more ways enlisted to refer to the attachment indirectly in this article and subsequent comments..Quite refreshing!Nothing wrong with “As promised, here is the __” but the word “attach” has to be accommodated somewhere in the text- more importantly in the multiple attachment scenarios! Your views please?

  14. Aman, the sentences I recommended would be in the body of the email. In an email, you do not refer to attachments after the closing.

    In email, the closing is the end of the message. It is followed by only the signature. Business letters are different. In letters, attachments are noted after the signature.

    Lynn

  15. Hi Lynn,

    Thank you for your blog which provides a lot of useful information about business writing.

    In some of our business correspondences, I notice that people start their sentence with ” herewith attached is…….”. I wonder if it is a correct way to use “herewith attached”.

    I’m looking forward to hearing from you.

    Thank you,

  16. Hi, Ileen. When I was growing up, people started sentences with the expression “Attached herewith please find.” “Herewith attached” is not quite as bad, but it isn’t good.

    Why not use plain, clear English?

    Lynn

  17. Hi Lynn,

    I’m thinking about how I can make improvement with the “please see attached” problem in the following sentence:

    “There is a paid parkade located at the corner of XX Street and XX Street (see map attached for directions).”

    Thanks for your time.

    Amy

  18. Hi, Amy. I would use “See attached map for directions,” since the map isn’t “attached for directions.”

    There is nothing wrong with referring readers to an attachment. The problem is the “Please see attached” that appears alone, when other constructions would be more accurate and helpful.

    Lynn

  19. Hello, Ibrahim. You do not need a comma between the month and the year. Otherwise, your sentence is correct.

    I do not use “Please find the attached.” To me, “Please find” suggests that I have lost something. Why not simply say “The invoices are attached” or “I have attached the invoices”?

    Lynn

  20. Thank yoy so much,but he is my boss.
    i need to be formal with him

    Please find the attached invoices from G T F for September and October,2011.is it corect?
    G T F is another company
    how can say that and Mention the month of the invoices

    i am greatful for your help
    Ibrahim

  21. Dear Lynn,
    I have the exact opposite problem. We are a world wide company. Many of our email recipients are contractors and do not spend hours in front of computers. Therefore, to be clear, we want to let them know that there is an attachment to “this” email. In fact, I DO explain all the pages content in bullet form when necessary. However, since I use the term “see attached” SO OFTEN, I want to find a shortcut text term to “see attached”. So, Q: is there a text or symbol that I can use that my email recipients would understand as “see attached” or “attached” or “attachment” ? Does a term need to be invented for me and others?
    Sincerely,
    Pat Schultz

  22. Hi, Pat. Thanks for the interesting question. You don’t have to invent an abbreviation.
    I just checked three reference books on my shelf, all of which give “att.” as the abbreviation for “attached” or “attachment.”

    I wonder though whether your readers have any problem with your repeated use of “See the attached report” or “The spreadsheet is attached.” I would not mind your using such terms repeatedly in a complex message.

    If you do choose to abbreviate, be sure you define the abbreviation the first time you use it in a message, for readers who may not recognize it.

    Good luck!

    Lynn

  23. Hi Lynn. I trust you are well. I like your blog.
    Please suggest wether to use this sentence or not:-please fin/see attache the reports for the day 9 march.

    i will be greatful for your help.
    Sergio

  24. Hello, Sergio. If you have read my blog post and comments above, you know I do not like “Please see attached” when other phrases work well. One possibility you might try is “Reports for March 9 are attached.”

    Whatever wording you choose, I encourage you to make a list of the correct spelling of the words you want. Here are words to add to the list from your example:

    fin = find
    attache = attached
    march = March (capitalization)
    i = I (capitalization)
    greatful = grateful

    I wish you success.

    Lynn

  25. I really appreciate your blog!
    Usually I use “Follow attached the document”…
    It’s sounds pleonastic or redundant?
    Regards
    Patricia (Brazil)

  26. Hello, Patricia. I do not know what you mean by “Follow attached the document.” It is not natural- sounding English.

    I have never seen the word “pleonastic” before. Thank you for the vocabulary development!

    Lynn

  27. Hi Lynn,

    I am a Document Controller in a Construction Company and I always send out e-mails to contractors and clients daily.

    I have read your replies above but since you don’t like to use “Please find attached”, can you suggest on how am I to send a formal e-mail like this:

    “Please find attached herewith our letter with reference 1234 dated 14 April 2012 regarding Damages on Completed ID Works for your perusal.”

    I hope you could help me on this.

    Thanks.

    Dyan Rioveros

  28. Hi, Dyan. Try something like this:

    Subject: Reference 1234

    “I have attached our letter regarding damages on completed ID works for your review.”

    OR

    “As promised, I have attached . . . .”

    OR

    “For your review, attached is our letter regarding damages on completed ID works.”

    Any of those choices is better than the original.

    Lynn

  29. Hi Lynn,

    Is it okay if I only write one line .

    Attached is your statement of account.

    Thanks, celine

  30. Hi, Celine. Yes, it is okay to write only one line. It may be better if you add a polite message to your customer such as “We appreciate your business” or “Thank you for your business.”

    Follow your message with a professional signature line that includes your contact information.

    Lynn

  31. Hi Lynn. Below is 3 sentences I got from the emails.

    1)Please find enclosed for the captioned.

    2)Any further necessary please feel free to contact us.

    3)As per your request, please find attached the completed sub-contractor registration form and other supporting documents for your information.

    Are those sentences correct?

    Thanks,
    Issac

  32. Hello Lynn,

    I have been wondering why people use “Please find attached…” and wanted an alternate phrase. Now, I’ve got a meaning full alternate and would like to Thank You for the same.

  33. Lynn,

    Thanks a lot for the help.

    Is it okay to say “As requested by Josh, I have translated 4 pixels (PPL, PPL + CSL, PPL + PPS, PPS). You can find them attached.”?

    Thanks again!

  34. Hi Lynn

    Thanks for the blog – I am glad I am not the only one getting increasingly annoyed by ‘Please find attached’.

    However, I want take a step back and question whether ‘Please find attached’ is gramatically correct to start with before finding its more constructive alternative (sentence structure to be specific).

    Here are three sentences, what do you think?

    1. Please find attached a zip file containing the scripts.

    2. Please find a zip file attached which contains the scripts.

    3. Please find a zip file, containing the scripts, attached with this email.

    Ofcourse, I will not use any of the above three (anymore!).

    Thanks

    Kevin

  35. Hi, Kevin.

    Let’s see:

    Number 1 is structurally correct.

    In Number 2, the structure is clumsy. The “which” clause is hanging from the word “attached,” but it modifies the word “file.”

    Number 3 is structurally correct, but “attached with” does not sound good to me. I prefer “attached to.”

    Do you agree?

    Lynn

  36. hi ms lynn

    My officemate writes like this “Please find attached file it contains….” and “Attached here file contains…” are these correct?

  37. Dear Lynn,

    Thank you for both your website and this post.

    I have a grammatical question for you about the phrase “please find attached.” (I know that you do not like this phrase and to avoid using it.)

    A non-native English speaking colleague recently asked me about the difference between these two sentences using this expression:

    1) Please find attached the MS Word file for your reference.

    2)Please find the attached MS Word file for your reference.

    In particular, he was looking for a grammatical explanation as to how the article “the” could come either befor or after the word “attached,” if both are indeed correct?

    I would greatly appreciate it if you could help me out with a grammatical explanation of the position of “the” in these cases.

  38. Hi, Patrick. Interesting question! The article “the” is correct in both sentences. What changes is the use of the word “attached.”

    In your first example, “attached” works as an adverb telling where. In your second sentence, “attached” acts as an adjective telling which one.

    Consider these examples:
    The file folder hanging there is the correct one.
    The hanging file folder there is the correct one.

    The name announced was Smith.
    The announced name was Smith.

    The enclosed letter explains the details.
    The letter enclosed explains the details.

    In all the pairs, one sentence sounds more natural, but both sentences are correct.

    I hope that explanation helps.

    Lynn

  39. A question in response to your examples:

    The name announced was Smith.
    The announced name was Smith.

    In the above examples “announced” seems to be an adjective in both cases.

    The enclosed letter explains the details.
    The letter enclosed explains the details.

    In the above examples “enclosed” seems to be an adjective in both cases.

    Were both of these examples meant to show a similar distinction between adjective / adverb use in my original question? If so, which case is the adverb form for each example. If not, what was I supposed to notice from the examples and I would greatly appreciate it if you could give a similar example to my original question?

    By the way, your website is really helpful, thank you for it.

  40. Hello, Patrick. What I hoped would come across in my examples is that a word could come before or after a noun, but the placement of that word does not necessarily change the need for an article such as “the.” I believe my focus on adverb/adjective obscured what should have been my real point.

    I could not think quickly of examples that matched yours. I might have to begin with “Please find” to do so, and I don’t like that construction unless I have lost something. For example, “Please find enclosed” would work to illustrate the point.

    If all else fails, just tell your colleague that this is one of the oddities of English. (I am only partly kidding.)

    Lynn

  41. “Please see attached” is simply too dull–and it’s inaccurate.

    Oh no it isn’t. See is entirely grammatically correct and appropriate shorthand for ‘Refer to for further information’.

  42. Hello, Adnan. Both of your suggestons are bad because they are wordy and the language is old-fashioned and heavy.

    You can simply say “Here is the attachment” or “I have attached the ____________.” (Fill in the blank.)

    Lynn

  43. Hi Lynn,

    Could you please make a comment on the comma place in the greeting?

    I’ve been seeing and using stylistics as above. But now I see that you are putting comma before name.

  44. Hello Lynn,

    I really like your corrections.
    Is it correct to write ‘ATTACHED IS AN AMENDED COPY OF INVOICE’and
    ‘Vessel has been substituted to” or ‘substituted by’.

    Thanks!
    Chin

  45. Chin, your first sentence is correct. However, the sentence would sound more natural with the word THE before INVOICE.

    I don’t completely understand your second sentence. Vessel B might substitute for Vessel A, in which case you would write “Vessel B substituted for Vessel A.”

    Lynn

  46. Hi Lynn,

    I write a lot of emails to different countries where I try to ask for payment without actually asking it, and my usual sentence would be:

    “Thank you for your new order. Please find here attached our pro forma invoice for your kind reference and payment.”

    Would there be a better way to phrase this?

    Thanks,

    Fem

  47. Hello, Fern. It depends whether your goal is efficiency or courtesy or both. You might write something like this:

    “Thank you very much for your new order. I have attached our invoice. Please note that payment is due within 30 days.”

    If you could add anything about the order between the first and second sentences–for example, the shipment date–it would be helpful.

    Lynn

  48. Hi

    I was quite confused on what words to use. Now i learned that “please see attached file is a big no! no! it should be ‘Please see the attached documents.But can u help me with this sentence.
    “Please see the attached documents for the Updated account value for the following clients.”

    is it for the ff clients or of the ff. clients.

    Too much Appreciated. Thanks

  49. Hi, Emma. “Please refer to the attachment” sounds fine. Of course, the sentence must work in the context of your message.

    “For your perusal” is redundant because referring is very similar to perusing.

    Lynn

  50. Thank You Lynn for replying me.

    Please help me out,

    I am working in Pharmaceutical company and i would like to know, whenever i will send the attachment via mail to Manager, Designer and Medical Representative, then what should i write there ?

    Please suggest me the updated pattern to writing a mail to same

    Regards
    Arvind

  51. Arvind, please see the examples I gave in my original post. They may be helpful to you.

    You can also use this construction:

    Attached is the _______ [for one attachment]

    Attached are the ______ [for more than one attachment]

    Lynn

  52. Hi Lynn,

    It is okey if I only write one line to the customer?
    ” Please see attached invoice for payment. or I have attached the invoice to be paid.” which is correct?
    Thanks a lot.
    Ari

  53. Hi Lynn,

    Which form is correct

    Dear Sir,

    I have attached the documents of Stock statement and please do the needful

    Dear Sir,

    The documents of stock statement have been attached, please do the needful.

    Dear Sir,

    Please find the attached documents and do the needful

    Which form is correct?

    regards
    arvind

  54. Hi Lynn,

    i have attached the documents of ……………. please do the needful.

    In corporate sector all works seems to be team work so how can i write i have attached….

    that should be we have attached the document…………..

    please clarify.

    Regards
    Arvind

  55. Dear Lynn,

    Please see the sentence pattern

    Dear Sir,

    The documents of xyz are attached, please do the needful.

    Regards
    Arvind

  56. Arvind, I recommend this structure:

    The documents of xyz are attached. Please take the necessary steps.

    I don’t know who your readers are. However, “needful” is a word that is never used in the United States.

    Also, it would be much better to use the customer’s name. If you cannot, I recommend “Dear Customer” rather than “Dear Sir,” which assumes that your reader is a man.

    Lynn

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