5 Common Words That Make You Sound Rude in Emails

 In Client Tips

Email is one of the easiest methods of getting your message across a big group of people. In the virtual assistance industry, it’s also a place to discuss project details, deadlines and other details amongst fellow virtual assistants and different clients.

However, since you can’t hear how your thoughts sound when delivered through email, miscommunication may arise if you don’t use the appropriate words. To prevent this from happening, make sure to avoid these 5 common words that can make you sound rude in emails.


Using “actually” in your emails can sound rude if you’re using it when correcting someone. With the word actually, your correction may come off as condescending and arrogant. You don’t want to leave a bad impression when sending emails to your colleagues. When used in emails where the recipient doesn’t hear your tone, improper use of actually can harm your reputation and career.

For example, when a client or customer asks, “can I see this under the file menu?” then you answer with, “actually, you can see this under references,” instead of simply saying: “it’s under the references menu.” It will depend on the reader if she or he gets insulted or finds your reply rude by starting off your sentence with “actually,” but it’s not worth the risk. It would be better to use other alternatives.


Thanking someone is always a good trait. It’s also equally important to understand that delivery matters, and the problem with email is that you can’t hear the person saying it. When it comes to using “thanks” in an email, it’s a different story. It might sound rude or sarcastic depending on the context. The word “thanks” also sounds too casual for professional and business emails. It’s always a good practice to use “thank you” or “thank you very much” when communicating through email.


Some say that you should not apologize through email. But if you’re stuck in an inevitable situation, the best you can do is to not sound rude and sarcastic about it. Saying “sorry” without any other explanation may sound sarcastic, so it’s better to avoid using it and just say, “I apologize.” Simply saying “sorry” can also make you seem insincere. Sure, you can tell your friends “sorry” for simple mistakes or misunderstandings, but for business partners, clients and customers, it can come off as curt and unprofessional.


Writing that something is needed ASAP can definitely get you your desired results, but it also sounds a bit rude and pushy. It can also put unnecessary pressure on the recipient of your message. As an alternative, it would be better to state the actual date of the deadline, or just simply state that the matter is an urgent one. It’s always better to read “this is due on Wednesday” or “please finish it by tomorrow” than something like “get this done ASAP.”


This word is included because it can cause miscommunication. Using the word “fine” is confusing because the word itself has variable definitions. Saying that something is “fine” sends a message that’s somewhere between “it’s not good, but it’s acceptable for now” to “you did a wonderful job.” To avoid sounding rude, displeased or undecided, skip using “fine” and use clearer messages like “it’s really good” or “you did well” instead.

Your reputation and your team’s relationship with each other are important elements in keeping your career on the right track. As much as possible, you want to cultivate a good working atmosphere and a great professional relationship with your clients and colleagues. By using the tips provided above, expect clearer and better communication between yourself and your fellow virtual assistants and your clients.


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