Grammar Bite #9: Please kindly find the attached

27 January 2011

 

Here’s the content of an actual email I received recently.

 

Please kindly find your electronic statement for November 2010 as attached. Should you have any queries, please contact our Accounts Office at [tel number].

 

I’ve seen messages very similar to this hundreds of times. Although it has no grammar mistakes, the style problems are so common that I’d like to include it in the ‘Grammar Bite’ series.

 

What’s the problem?

These two short sentences have three style problems in them.

 

First – the expression ‘please kindly’ is not only very old-fashioned; it’s also repetitive. The word ‘kindly’ means ‘please’. So when you say ‘please kindly’, it sounds like you’re down on your knees, begging me – Please, please find the attachment!

 

Second -- why should I have to ‘find’ something you’ve sent? Did you hide it somewhere? Did you lose it?

 

Third – the conditional clause ‘should you have any queries’ is also old-fashioned. Better to say, ‘if you have any questions’. The words ‘queries’ and ‘questions’ both mean to object to something (in this case, objecting to some of the charges on a statement). ‘Questions’ is more modern.

 

It would also be useful to tell the reader that they should raise any objections to charges by a certain date.

 

What’s a better way to write it?

A better way to write this message is this:

 

Your November 2010 electronic statement is attached. If you have any questions about it, please contact our Accounts Office at [tel number] before the next statement cycle ends on 31 January 2011.

 

So if you’re guilty of using this language, please, please stop. (I’m on my knees begging you.)

* * *

Next week, we celebrate Chinese New Year in Hong Kong—the Year of the Rabbit (my year). So I’ll not post next Thursday.  See you again on 10 February.

 I wish you all a very happy and prosperous new year!

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