“Enclosed Please Find” Means You Lost It

Sandra wrote today asking about the expression "enclosed please find":

I took a business letter writing class in 1988 and was told NEVER to say "enclosed please find" because it's redundant! I see correspondence from lawyers using "enclosed please find." As the letter writer you are saying "enclosed" SO WHY would you say again, PLEASE FIND?? It doesn't make sense.

Good question, Sandra! Here's the short answer:

Only use "please find" if you have lost something and want your reader to find it. 

Like Sandra, I have seen the phrases "attached please find" and "enclosed please find" countless times in other people's writing. In my first office job back in college, people wrote, "Enclosed herewith please find." Those were the painfully verbose years. 

We have many options to replace those needlessly wordy phrases:

  • Here is . . . 
  • Enclosed are . . . 
  • Attached is . . . 
  • We have enclosed . . . 
  • I have attached . . . 
  • The attached proposal includes . . . 
  • The enclosed document shows . . . 
  • Please review the attached diagram . . . 
  • The attached spreadsheet covers . . . 
  • Please use the enclosed envelope to . . . 

You may be wondering whether legal documents require a formality that only "enclosed please find" and similar phrases convey. Well, legal writing expert Bryan Garner calls "please find enclosed" and like phrases "archaic deadwood."

Garner points out that such phrases have been condemned in business writing texts since the late 1800s. In his HBR Guide to Better Business Writing, he cites an 1880 text in which a man named Richard Grant White wrote, "A more ridiculous use of words, it seems to me, there could not be."

There's your answer, Sandra. Let's echo Richard Grant White's cadence and confidence: "A more ridiculous use of words, it seems to be, there could not be." 

In your work do you still see "please find attached" and other old-fashioned phrases? Feel free to share your frustration here. 

Do you wish someone would edit or proofread your business messages to be sure they are concise and correct? Get an instant quote on your project from my partner Scribendi. They provide excellent, fast proofreading and editing services at reasonable prices. 

Lynn
Syntax Training 

 

56 COMMENTS

  1. I’m one the culprit who use such phrases as I picked them up from my predecessor. So I’ve learnt a very good lesson today. I use them cos I thought it was polite way of writing.

  2. Alas, I keep having to edit such meaningless out of the correspondence I review for many ESL colleagues. One day maybe they will go the way of the do-do.

  3. Thanks…it was learning indeed however may I kindly request you to give one or two correct phrases which can be used when there are attachments to be emailed?

    thanks
    Sanjay

  4. Interesting article, Lynn. As the majority of my correspondence is by email, I normally use “Please see attached…” or “(attached)” as befits the context.
    I do get bugged by writers who abbreviate this to “PSA”; I’m afraid I put them in the same category as those who sign off with “Rgds” or worse “BR”. Strikes me as plain lazy… But that’s another topic for another day!

  5. Anna, when faxing something, I use, “Please see accompanying…” because it is not attached, but it does accompany.

  6. I wouldn’t get worked up over these three words. In fact, I’d be pleased that someone used the word “please”! And this use of “find” is consistent with the dictionary definition:

    find
    verb (used with object), found, findĀ·ing.
    2.
    to locate, attain, or obtain by search or effort: to find an apartment; to find happiness.

    I can think of many other writing tics that are much more annoying.

  7. Hello, Jasmine, Joanne, Sanjay, Jeannette, Paul, Anna, Trecia, and Christina. Thanks for taking the time to comment.

    Sanjay, when you review the blog post again, notice the examples that include the word “attached.” All of those are fine for emails.

    Paul, PSA? OMG. I have never seen that abbreviation. I agree about BR and Rgds. How much regard do they communicate?

    Anna, I like Trecia’s suggestion, and I believe “attached” also works. You can use a variety of expressions other than “Please see attached.” Notice the ones I listed.

    Christina, thanks for sharing a different view.

    Lynn

  8. I use “enclosed please find” when I am referencing a specific enclosure in the envelope and there are multiple enclosures.
    When there is only one enclosure, in addition to the letter, I omit that directional phrase.
    thanks!

  9. Quite an interesting post! I have been working in an international relations context (UN etc.) in the last few years where such expressions are standard (e.g., “Please find attached”) and I thought they were the norm in regular business English as well.
    Thanks for alerting me to this.

  10. that’s a very interesting post. I attended Business English classes run by an American native speaker who is also a very experienced journalist writing for Bloomberg. What she said was something different. While she agreed there are other newer forms, she said that “Enclosed please find/attached” is still commonly used in the business world. We studied Business English using books like “Intelligent Business” or “Market Leader” and this expression is still taught there. What’s more, I work for Citibank and receive a lot of emails written by the Americans or the British, and they still use these expressions in their correspondence. And they’re quite young people …So I don’t know what to say because you’re saying these are obsolete forms, whereas my American and British colleagues and their bosses prove the opposite! I’m confulsed!

  11. Hi Kamila,

    You will notice above that I wrote, “I have seen the phrases ‘attached please find’ and ‘enclosed please find’ countless times in other people’s writing.” Seeing them repeatedly should not convince us that they are good writing.

    I have not seen the texts you refer to, so I cannot comment on their contents.

    I try to help people write effectively. That often means they must write differently from the people around them.

    Thanks for asking your excellent question!

    Lynn

  12. While I do appreciate Lynn’s intentions to improve some patterns in business writing, there are some standards and you can’t change them just because you feel something else will sound better.

    With all due respect, you specialize in linguistics, and this is a topic for business world. This is like starting to change English grammar BY YOURSELF to make it “make more sense”.

    “Please see attached …”, “Enclosed please find …” are totally fine. Moreover you SHOULD you them in a PROFESSIONAL business correspondence.

    You are lucky you haven’t worked with legal documents much – they are full with what is called “legal language” and legal terms that can be labeled as exceptions or as “incorrect” from a general perspective of a linguist. You can’t change them either, just to make them sound more down-to-earth. I’m not even a lawyer (I’m a business owner with operations in several countries), yet I know what standard and CORRECT language is used in legal world, business world, and some other specific areas. You shouldn’t look at everything through one narrow single prism and try to bring it under one standard.

    Please don’t confused people with such articles. At least you should clearly say that this is your OPINION and that those expressions ARE standard in business writing and are correct. Please post information online responsively. There are many native speakers and non-native speakers who are looking for real answers that will help them in their career.

    Another quick note: “please” is very important in business correspondence and any correspondence with someone you don’t know well, and this communicates your POLITE attitude and you show you are being friendly. “Enclosed please find” is not even only a standard, it is also much more polite than “enclosed are …”.

  13. Paul, thank you for your comment.

    Yes, “please” is a polite word, which we should all use whenever we ask a favor or make a request. However, “attached please find” and “enclosed please find” are wordy, old-fashioned, silly expressions. They are NOT standard in good business writing. People should not copy those phrases just because they see others using them.

    I am not a linguist. I have been in business for more than 25 years and have worked in a wide range of companies and other organizations, including law firms.

    I read business writing experts and style guides to keep my knowledge fresh. I strongly encourage you to do the same. Reading the experts will help you recognize good business writing.

    Lynn

  14. Hello Everyone. Please help me on the following sentence: “Attached are the bank statement, marriage certificate and medical letter. Is this sentence correctly formulated? If not, any suggestions would be appreciated. Thank you in advance.

  15. Hi!
    My company and its partners from Europe & USA usually write:

    “Please kindly check attached (or enclosed) quotation for your inquiry.”

    Is it wrong? How is it to be?

    Thanks in advance.

  16. Thank you for prompt reply Lynn.

    I would like to ask you one more:

    How can we write correctly to check if one has been able to have a look at our proposal that we have sent before? I mean can we use the word “consider”?
    For ex. “Have you been able to consider our poroposal?”

    Thanks.

  17. Hello Lynn,

    I am using the word kindly for my boss and please for my colleagues and junior staff its correct or not? and not using thanks end of mail just use to with regard word only m i Correct ?

    Rekha

  18. Rekha, I want to answer your question correctly, but I need more information. Would you please write the entire sentence you use “kindly” in?

    Also, please show me how you end your messages so I can understand your comment about “thanks” and “regard.”

    Lynn

  19. This is an old habit that is hard to break. Almost all of my communications is via email. When sending documents via email, is it proper to use the phrase “Please see attached” document for your review? OR “Please see the attached” letter for your review? It sounded like you said to use other expressions but did not say whether or not it was acceptable to use. Thanks!

  20. I recommend using language that sounds natural rather than wooden or wordy. If you want someone to review a document, why not write “Please review the attached document” or “Would you please review the attached document?”

    “Please see attached document for your review” and “Please see the attached letter for your review” are not wrong. They have been used for decades. But other wording can come across as more natural.

    Lynn

  21. Reda, your example is not correct yet.

    First, you may use “Dear Sir or Madam,” but if you know your reader’s name, use it. For example:

    Dear Mr. Cho,

    Then you might write this sentence:

    Please kindly review our company brochure, which is attached.

    You might also tell your reader why he or she should read your brochure. How will reading your brochure benefit your reader?

    Lynn

  22. Hi,
    I would like to send my boss biography of someone that I have recommend it to my boss to be as a guest speakers for graduation events.
    can you help me pls.

  23. Hi Nancy,

    I believe you are asking about using “enc” as an abbreviation beneath the typed signature at the end of a letter. “The Gregg Reference Manual” shows several versions as commonly used:

    Enclosure
    Enclosures
    Enc.
    2 Enc.
    Enc. 2

    It does not show “enc.”

    Beyond that, you need to spell out the word when you use it in a sentence.

    Lynn

  24. I used to. Until now. I’m stopping, right now. I did because I was copying people who did, because I didn’t know better. But now I do! Thank you!

  25. Dear Lynn,

    I Sarabjeet Singh Arora working in a multinational company in India, First of all I really appreciate your efforts towards English Language.
    My Enquiries are given below, kindly help to understand
    1.Can we write together please and kindly in one sentance as you write in above said blog.
    “Please kindly review the attached (or enclosed) quotation in response to your inquiry.” Lynn – See more at:

    2 With reference to above please find enclosed herewith S.O. no 023 of Mukim Traders. You are requested to dispatch the material as per the S.Os. to the respective party tomorrow.(Is it grammatically OK)

  26. Hello is my sentence correct

    “Dear Sir

    I am sending you my tour plan 20th June to 25th June.”

  27. Hello Sarabjeet Singh Arora,

    Yes, you may add the word “kindly” to a request.

    This sentence is grammatically correct but unnecessarily wordy:

    With reference to above please find enclosed herewith S.O. no 023 of Mukim Traders. You are requested to dispatch the material as per the S.Os. to the respective party tomorrow.

    Consider this revision:

    Regarding the above, enclosed is S.O. no 023 of Mukim Traders. Please dispatch the material as per the S.Os. tomorrow.

    Lynn

  28. Hello Sabyasachi,

    You asked about this opening:

    ************
    Dear Sir,

    I am sending you my tour plan 20th June to 25th June.
    ************

    Here are suggestions:

    Address the reader by name. If you are writing to the individual, you must know his name.

    I would revise your sentence this way: “Here is my tour plan for June 20-25.”

    Lynn

  29. Hi Lynn

    First of all appreciate your views which are very infomative. I use to send email such as

    “Attached is the minutes of todayā€™s tool box meeting for your information”

    But I received a complaint that the sentence lacks respect to the receiver of the mail… wondering how to bring in “respect” to the sentence..please help me out

    Hrishi

  30. When we want to write an email to client, we would like to start a phrase with “Please”.So pl suggest how do I write.
    Now we write as below
    ‘PL find attached the subjected drawings for your approval’

  31. Hello Hrishi,

    If one of your readers feels that your sentence does not communicate respect, perhaps he or she can suggest a way to write it differently.

    You might include a greeting before your sentence such as one of these:

    Hello Team,
    Hello everyone,
    Greetings!

    Or you might change “for your information” to “for your review.” Sometimes “for your information” communicates a critical tone although I don’t think that is true in your sentence.

    Because the word “minutes” is plural, you should use the verb “are.”

    Good luck!

    Lynn

  32. Hello Anu,

    If you want to start your sentence with “Please,” you can certainly do so. Another way to handle the message is this:

    As promised, we have attached the drawings for your approval.

    I am not sure what “subjected” means in your sentence.

    Lynn

  33. Hello Lynn,

    In my country Bhutan, people from all walks of life still use this old-fashioned phrase “Please find attached” in email writing. I tried to correct some of my friend’s email saying that there are many better phrases to replace that old ones but to no avail. Even our ministers, secretaries and college lecturers use that old-fashioned phrase. It seems I am the only one not using that phrase. How can I convince them that it is literally wrong?

    Thank you for your time.

    Sky

  34. Hello Sky,

    I suggest leading by example. Continue to write your modern, fresh sentences that communicate clearly. Eventually someone will say, “But Sky does it THIS way, and it seems crisp and clear.”

    A movement starts with just one person. Although you may feel lonely now, your clear writing will make a difference.

    Thanks for your comment.

    Lynn

  35. Hello Lynn,

    Thanks for this post. Please help me on the following sentence:
    ” please see below our comments to your technical proposal for your consideration and kind reply.” Is this sentence fine? If not, any suggestions would be appreciated. Thank you in advance.

  36. Hello Khosro,

    It is fine to write “please see below.”

    Normally, the expression is “comments on” rather than “comments to.”

    I would not use “kind” if you are writing to a U.S. audience. It is not incorrect, just flowery. An alternative is to end the sentence with the word “consideration.” Then add “We look forward to receiving your reply.”

    Lynn

  37. Hello Lynn!
    I’m very surprised to know that use ” enclosed please find or please find enclosed ” is not a correct form.
    So I’d like to change and improve my writing. May I say as follow:
    – Attached you can find the statement of facts containing times of operation until this afternoon for your approval and comments if necessary.
    I also use ” keep you posted ” in the final of message. What do you suggest? keep like this or change.
    Thanks in advance!

  38. Hi Mam
    Whenever we write mail to clients, in the subject field itself we maintain the details of the attachment.
    But again in the letter we write
    Please find attached the subjected document for your approval (instead of repeating the details we use the word “subjected”
    Pl correct.

Comments are closed.