The five most annoying things you can do in an email

The five most annoying things you can do in an email


Life without email would be terrible. How would we work? Keep in touch with far-flung friends? Find that latest link to a video of a baby panda sneezing?

On the other hand, who hasn’t at some point found themselves frothing in impotent rage and gripping the mouse until their knuckles turn white, because their correspondent has inadvertently trampled on their e-chilles’ heel?

Our poll suggests you have as many reasons to hate email as to love it. As the old saying goes, you can’t please all of the people all of the time; but avoiding these top five infuriating habits should tip the balance in the direction of those sneezing baby pandas. Aww.

Here are the top five pet hates:

1) CC this!

Careless use of the CC (carbon copy) function comes in at number one as the most hated e-habit. So, don’t CC someone in place of asking them directly to do something. Don’t CC rather than BCC (blind carbon copy) people who may not want their email address sharing with your entire mailing list. And do know that CCing their boss, their boss’s boss, and your boss on one message may well be seen as a declaration of war.

2) 2 bsy 4 wrds

Yes, everyone is too busy for words nowadays. Well, too busy for whole words. One can only imagine the increased productivity enjoyed by those who save valuable seconds with their streamlined signoffs: ‘KR’, ‘BW’ (‘Kind regards’; ‘Best wishes’) and ‘Rgds’. Let alone ‘thx’ for ‘thanks’. Abbreviate at your own risk, though: as one tweeter put it, ‘the effect is ineptly disguised indifference’.

3) Have you read it yet? How about now?

No one likes to be checked up on. Requesting a read receipt will win you no friends, and won’t necessarily have any positive effect, given the anguish they cause (one person reported they made him ‘feel violated’). And don’t try to pretend you’ve never pressed the ‘don’t send receipt’ button simply out of spite.


Yep, using all capital letters rankles – it’s just unnecessary to inflict such an optical assault. And coupling CAPS with emphatic exclamation marks in the hope of rousing your reader into action is more likely to get them rolling their eyes. ‘As if that will somehow make it seem more urgent and important!!!!!!’ one Tweeter quipped.

5) I dont need to punctuate in email right

At the other end of the spectrum is ‘the assumption that all forms of punctuation (and the capital letters that follow some of them) aren’t required’. Not only do you risk presenting yourself as someone who doesn’t give two tweets about work/grammar/being understood, but you’re much more likely to be ambiguous and confusing.