The Grammarphobia Blog

Email intuition, Part 2

Q: Is there any etiquette concerning the forwarding of emails? At the school where I work, I see information forwarded that should be kept private. An email looking for a substitute, say, may include a forwarded message that contains the regular teacher’s excuse.

A: I think email should be forwarded very selectively.

If you have to forward something, there should be an explanation at the very beginning, saying what the information is and whom it’s from and why you’re forwarding it.

Example: “Hi, whosis. Here’s something of interest that was sent to me by so-and-so.”

Furthermore, one should forward just what’s relevant, deleting all the rest. And maybe nothing needs to be forwarded at all.

In that case, I’d just send a note paraphrasing what the original sender sent to you: “So-and-so needs a substitute for next Thursday.”

For more on email etiquette (if that’s not an oxymoron these days), test your Email I.Q. and check out You Send Me, the book about online writing that I wrote with my husband, Stewart Kellerman.

Buy Pat’s books at a local store or
Amazon.com.