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johnspartan
08-27-2014, 10:03 AM
Even in writing emails, when it's any sort of business setting I feel compelled to use the expression "attached please find" rather than "attached is".

I know it's a lingering formality from letter writing, but I feel like "Attached is a contract..." seems too casual and dismissive, while "Attached please find a contract..." seems more proper.

But if someone who wasn't familiar with English asked me why it's more polite, I'm not sure I could give a reason why.

ETA: Here's an interesting article calling it "archaic deadwood", and that apparently people have been trying to stop the expression since the 1880s!

http://businesswritingblog.com/business_writing/2014/06/enclosed-please-find-means-youve-lost-it.html

Jophiel
08-27-2014, 10:06 AM
I regularly send out emailed proposals and still use "Attached, please find..."

I figure it's attached and I want them to look at it so it still applies.

Crotalus
08-27-2014, 10:12 AM
When I went to community college to learn programming in the late 80s, I had to take a business writing course. I was convinced at the time that I was a great letter writer. The teacher of that class straightened me out. One of the things that she insisted on was replacing "enclosed (or attached) please find..." with "here is...". She taught me the virtues of conciseness.

Now that emails have replaced letters in so many cases, there may be some benefit to referring to an attachment, as Jophiel notes. Remembering that teacher, if I have any concern that the recipient might miss the attachment, I either say "I have attached..." or paste the copy right into the email.

Calatin
08-27-2014, 10:14 AM
Whenever I send a work e-mail w/ a PDF or whatnot, I use "attached please find." Seems to be commonplace around here.

Jophiel
08-27-2014, 10:14 AM
Reading the linked column, I disagree that it's wrong because the attachment wasn't "lost". People use "find" as a synonym for "locate" all the time ("Can I get the soy sauce?" "Sure, lemme find it in the bag" -- doesn't mean it was misplaced).

Given the times I've sent an attachment only to have someone ask "What about so-and-so?" "Did you get the attachment?" "OH! Ok...", I think "please find" is appropriate.

Stuffy
08-27-2014, 10:30 AM
I used to use it all the time, but I've been moving to "attached are..." followed by a list of the documents.

Chronos
08-27-2014, 10:33 AM
I usually use "Please see ______ (attached) for more details".

Inner Stickler
08-27-2014, 10:50 AM
Yeah, I use "I've attached" or "The following documents are attached" and then a bulleted list.

Please find attached (the version I usually see) or Attached please find is precious but who am I to talk? I sent an email the other day that used the phrase "attendant documentation".

Jophiel
08-27-2014, 11:21 AM
Please find attached (the version I usually see) or Attached please find is precious but who am I to talk?
Sure, but I make sure to counter its stifling formality by typing it in Comic Sans.

CairoCarol
08-27-2014, 11:25 AM
Reading the linked column, I disagree that it's wrong because the attachment wasn't "lost". People use "find" as a synonym for "locate" all the time ("Can I get the soy sauce?" "Sure, lemme find it in the bag" -- doesn't mean it was misplaced).

Given the times I've sent an attachment only to have someone ask "What about so-and-so?" "Did you get the attachment?" "OH! Ok...", I think "please find" is appropriate.

I find your argument persuasive.


As to whether it is okay to say "attached please find..." in an e-mail: I'm surprised people have time to worry about this. I send and receive dozens of e-mails, primarily to colleagues, every day.

As a courtesy to the co-workers who receive my emails, I strive for brevity and clarity. However, I simply don't have time to lavish attention on every turn of phrase in a minor informational e-mail that will be scanned once, then filed. Nor do I expect the people sending me e-mails to slave over their wording.

I save my efforts for writing that will actually see the light of day as a journal article, as an important letter to an external reader, and so forth.

simster
08-27-2014, 11:30 AM
yes - you can't tell if someones spam/security filters might strip an attachment, so I really want thtem to "please find" - i'm damn near begging for it to go thru at times.

tullsterx
08-27-2014, 11:33 AM
Yeah, I use "I've attached" or "The following documents are attached" and then a bulleted list.

Please find attached (the version I usually see) or Attached please find is precious but who am I to talk? I sent an email the other day that used the phrase "attendant documentation".

That's what I use, "I've attached. . ." or "A copy of the report is attached. . . "

"Attached please find. . . " just seems awkward to me. I guess if I was being formal I might use that, but I usually go for the warm and familiar.

Charlie Wayne
08-27-2014, 01:06 PM
Enclosed please find.

Aangelica
08-27-2014, 01:26 PM
I work at a law firm. Formality is expected by both our clients and the other attorneys and courts we deal with.

People tend to get all weirded out if they get *informal* correspondence from their lawyer, even if it's email (and the majority of our correspondence is email-only these days). We slap a little bit of extra formality onto correspondence just because it makes our clients feel better about things and doesn't hurt us any.

Wednesday Evening
08-27-2014, 01:51 PM
Am I the only one who uses "Please find attached" instead of "Attached please find"? Have I been doing it wrong all this time? ::quick googling:: OK, it seems like one of those things that can go either way. Phew.

And yes, I use it all the time.

Inner Stickler
08-27-2014, 02:22 PM
I don't use it but I see "Please find attached' and its gawky cousin PFA more often, as well.

RealityChuck
08-27-2014, 02:22 PM
I've never used the construction. It's overly formal and stuffy.

For an email, I usually write, "I've attached the document" or "The document is attached" or just "Here is the document you asked for." It worth mentioning (so the recipient knows you meant to send an attachment), but do it in a natural manner.

When I wrote letters, I never used "Enclosed please find," either. That just plain silly; it's obvious that the envelope contains more than just the letter.

Inner Stickler
08-27-2014, 02:24 PM
I recommend sticking with a version that includes some form of the word attached so that if your email client is set to warn you if you send an email with the word attached but no actual attachment, that functionality will still work.

Hilarity N. Suze
08-27-2014, 02:48 PM
I have NEVER used "attached please find" because I am very literal. I just say "included" or in the case of email, "attached." None of this please find stuff.

If someone uses it on something they're sending to me, it doesn't bother me. I guess if I thought about it I would find it kinda quaint.

Max the Immortal
08-27-2014, 04:44 PM
I don't think I ever made a habit of using the construction in question. I usually start the email with "Here's <the document you were expecting>" and then follow up with any pertinent information.

handsomeharry
08-27-2014, 04:44 PM
To me, to write 'Here is...' is the equivalent of 'Looky here at this puppy...'.

Still use 'Attached, please find'.

gigi
08-27-2014, 04:52 PM
I have NEVER used "attached please find" because I am very literal.

Me too. Why I think "Please find enclosed" any more literally true I don't know, but that's what I use! :smack:

ratatoskK
08-27-2014, 05:33 PM
When I see "Attached please find..." I know that the person is brain dead.

Cartooniverse
08-27-2014, 05:57 PM
I used that phrase just this morning.
If the attachment failed, I will find out.

AnaMen
08-27-2014, 05:57 PM
I am quite confident that my brain is alive and thriving, and I use it. A formal correspondence is supposed to be formal. How else can I convey my detached demeanor?

GrumpyBunny
08-27-2014, 06:23 PM
Yes, and I have no idea why. It's an email, the recipient can see it's attached. So why not just say, "hey Sue, here are the release notes for 6.3"?

Because we're mentally lazy.

And my 10th grade English teacher didn't put that on her "phrases to NEVER USE IN MY CLASSROOM" list. I still don't use those; she might find me!

you with the face
08-27-2014, 06:32 PM
I am quite confident that my brain is alive and thriving, and I use it. A formal correspondence is supposed to be formal. How else can I convey my detached demeanor?

Being formal doesn't mean being a slave to an outdated convention.

Every time I read a work email that reads "attached please find", my snap judgement is that either the sender is a stickler for rules because they think rules trump common sensical improvisation, or because they want to look extra smart and professional. The latter might not strike you as bad, but I rather see an email that is little too informal than one that contains unnecessary affectations.

There's nothing informal about an email that reads:

"Greetings, Mr./Ms./Dr. So&S. We have reviewed and evaluated your proposal, and believe it is ready for clearance. Our appraisal (see attachment) details our findings. Please contact us if you have questions."

Arrendajo
08-27-2014, 06:38 PM
I don't have any set usage to indicate an attachment accompanies an e-mail. I'll use a variety of different phrases according to how familiar the recipient is. I always make some mention somehow though that there is an attachment. Then the recipient writes back and says something like "what attachment?" and I remember to actually attach the document to my reply.

AnaMen
08-27-2014, 06:47 PM
Being formal doesn't mean being a slave to an outdated convention.

Every time I read a work email that reads "attached please find", my snap judgement is that either the sender is a stickler for rules because they think rules trump common sensical improvisation, or because they want to look extra smart and professional. The latter might not strike you as bad, but I rather see an email that is little too informal than one that contains unnecessary affectations.

There's nothing informal about an email that reads:

"Greetings, Mr./Ms./Dr. So&S. We have reviewed and evaluated your proposal, and believe it is ready for clearance. Our appraisal (see attachment) details our findings. Please contact us if you have questions."
I don't see it as "outdated," but as a charming idiom that perfectly conveys what I wish to communicate. I'd put it in the same class as your usage of the term "details."

I am anything but a rule-follower, and I purposely dumb down most of my emails to avoid confusion. Sounding "smart" is the least of my worries.

If you are uncharmed, so sad.

Oakminster
08-27-2014, 06:59 PM
I work at a law firm. Formality is expected by both our clients and the other attorneys and courts we deal with.

People tend to get all weirded out if they get *informal* correspondence from their lawyer, even if it's email (and the majority of our correspondence is email-only these days). We slap a little bit of extra formality onto correspondence just because it makes our clients feel better about things and doesn't hurt us any.

I do the same with courts, clients, and most lawyers. With a handful of lawyers, I'll sometimes go less formal for routine matters.

Eliahna
08-27-2014, 07:00 PM
Yes, and I have no idea why. It's an email, the recipient can see it's attached. So why not just say, "hey Sue, here are the release notes for 6.3"?

Because we're mentally lazy.

And my 10th grade English teacher didn't put that on her "phrases to NEVER USE IN MY CLASSROOM" list. I still don't use those; she might find me!

If you forget to attach the document or there's some sort of overzealous virus scanner mishap that removes the attachment, are you sure you've written enough to alert Sue that the release notes were supposed to be attached to that email?

Hey Sue,

Let me know if you find any errors in the 6.3 release notes.

Regards
GrumpyBunny

Sue spends 15 minutes checking through her emails thinking you must have already sent them to her.

"Attached, please find" is my preferred phrase. I like to make specific reference to the document being attached so that it is clear it should be in that email, and it just feels like polite phrasing.

you with the face
08-27-2014, 07:09 PM
I don't see it as "outdated," but as a charming idiom that perfectly conveys what I wish to communicate. I'd put it in the same class as your usage of the term "details."

The difference, though, is that I can conceive of plenty other words that say the same thing that "details" does, while still being sufficiently formal. Words like "explains", "describes", and "outlines", just to name a few. I don't imbue the word with so much significance and seriousness that I default to it like a script.

Your previous post made it sound like there can't possibly be another way to communicate the same thing as APF without betraying an "undetached demeanor". All I'm pointing out is that this an incorrect misconception that is consistent with a type of boilerplate communication style.

PunditLisa
08-27-2014, 07:17 PM
Yes, among other variations. It's not old fashioned to be precise and polite.

you with the face
08-27-2014, 07:17 PM
And now I will hurl myself off a cliff for the crime of "incorrect misconception".

AnaMen
08-27-2014, 07:40 PM
The difference, though, is that I can conceive of plenty other words that say the same thing that "details" does, while still being sufficiently formal. Words like "explains", "describes", and "outlines", just to name a few. I don't imbue the word with so much significance and seriousness that I default to it like a script.

Your previous post made it sound like there can't possibly be another way to communicate the same thing as APF without betraying an "undetached demeanor". All I'm pointing out is that this an incorrect misconception that is consistent with a type of boilerplate communication style.

Every communication does not have to ooze originality from each sentence. Boilerplate has its place, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with defaulting to a script when appropriate. These conventions were created for a reason. Yes, they change, but I don't think the ship has sailed on this one quite yet.

AnaMen
08-27-2014, 07:42 PM
And now I will hurl myself off a cliff for the crime of "incorrect misconception".

Had you just used the correct script, this could have been avoided.:p

GrumpyBunny
08-27-2014, 08:55 PM
If you forget to attach the document or there's some sort of overzealous virus scanner mishap that removes the attachment, are you sure you've written enough to alert Sue that the release notes were supposed to be attached to that email?

Hey Sue,

Let me know if you find any errors in the 6.3 release notes.

Regards
GrumpyBunny

Sue spends 15 minutes checking through her emails thinking you must have already sent them to her.

"Attached, please find" is my preferred phrase. I like to make specific reference to the document being attached so that it is clear it should be in that email, and it just feels like polite phrasing.

Well, Sue isn't really that bright....:rolleyes:

Joking aside -- that's probably why I still use "attached please find" or at least "attached is/are" or "here is/are". Something to indicate that the notes are with this particular email. (If the release notes are on a share drive, I'd provide a link.)

Also to the point of rogue virus scanners and forgetfulness -- If I forget to attach the document or it doesn't go through, I will receive an email from Sue and from everyone else on the distribution list. And all of the emails will cc everybody else, saying "You forgot the attachment!" :smack:

SeaDragonTattoo
08-27-2014, 09:51 PM
I recommend sticking with a version that includes some form of the word attached so that if your email client is set to warn you if you send an email with the word attached but no actual attachment, that functionality will still work.This is why I make a habit of using some phrasing that includes "attached" or "attachment," though not necessarily with "please find" in the phrase. My work email uses Gmail and I'm really good at composing an email and then forgetting to attach the dang document. If I mention it in the body of the email, Gmail will ask before letting it go if I mean to attach something. I almost always do.

CairoCarol
08-28-2014, 02:10 AM
When I wrote letters, I never used "Enclosed please find," either. That just plain silly; it's obvious that the envelope contains more than just the letter.

I disagree - it may be obvious at the time of receipt, but there should be some kind of a record so that when the document is filed later, there is a clear reference to what was originally with the letter. If there is no "enclosed please find" statement, there should be an annotation somewhere on the page that lists enclosures.

Senegoid
08-28-2014, 02:55 AM
And then, be sure to acknowledge that you received the whatever,
using the phrase "I am in receipt of . . . "

hogarth
08-28-2014, 06:20 AM
I usually use some variant of "(see attachment)" or "please see the attached file".

gigi
08-28-2014, 09:38 AM
Because of this thread I am switching to "Attached please find" (from "Enclosed..."). The email literally says "Attached" and then the file so that is what I will go with.

Missy2U
08-28-2014, 09:46 AM
I usually say "Attached please find."

Or "Here's what you wanted, jerkface." Depends on who I'm typing to.

John Mace
08-28-2014, 10:03 AM
I do all the time. Two purposes:

1. To make sure the person knows he's supposed to open the attachment.
2. To remind me to actually attach the file. :smack:

MrAtoz
08-28-2014, 12:23 PM
This discussion reminds me of a college class I took on Business English. In that course, the professor was trying to break people of the habit of using clumsy and cliched phrases like "Enclosed please find." And the textbooks that we used agreed with the need to do away with such phrases in favor of something more modern.

That would have been in 1988 or so. So objections to the phrase seem to be pretty old, but don't appear to have made much headway. :)

Myself, I agree with the need to use the word "attached." With our email system, the icon for the attachment is fairly small and doesn't necessarily leap out at the reader. So it is helpful to cue them to the presence of an attachment. Typically I will write something like "The monthly report is attached. Please pay special attention to...", etc.

In my mind, it's not so much the "attached," it's the "please find." Maybe it's the lingering effects of that old Business English course, but "please find" strikes me as sort of archaic, like something out of a Victorian etiquette handbook. I wouldn't write "please find," unless my letter also included wording like "I beg to acknowledge receipt of yours of the 4th inst.," and concluded with, "I have the honor to remain, My Dear Sir, your humble servant, MrAtoz."

PunditLisa
08-29-2014, 10:35 AM
At work, my single goal is to handle my work as efficiently and correctly as possible; I don't have the time or inclination to worry about someone's choice of words; I simply want to understand what message is being conveyed so that I can take the appropriate action. I'm honestly surprised that anyone would be bothered by the use of a common phrase.

I'm even more surprised that a Professor would encourage his students to try and come up with a more "modern" way of saying something that is both brief and clear. If he were to actually work in an office, where it's not unusual to handle 75-200 emails in one day, I daresay he'd abandon his effort to put style ahead of content.

etv78
08-29-2014, 11:15 AM
I would use "I have attached".

MrAtoz
08-29-2014, 12:36 PM
I'm even more surprised that a Professor would encourage his students to try and come up with a more "modern" way of saying something that is both brief and clear. If he were to actually work in an office, where it's not unusual to handle 75-200 emails in one day, I daresay he'd abandon his effort to put style ahead of content.

Well, as I say, it wasn't just his particular quirk. We also used professionally published books on proper business writing that advised people to get rid of that phrase. It's been more than 25 years now, so I can't cite them, but I assure you they existed.

If I type "enclosed please find" into Google right now (as I just did, in fact), most of the first-page results point to articles in various sources, business and legal, saying "Don't do this!" I think inertia will keep the phrase around for awhile to come, but opposition to it is not terribly hard to find either.

BigT
08-29-2014, 12:44 PM
I was never taught that construction in my formal letter writing class (a part of learning to type.) I've always just used something like Chronos uses. Or even "I've attached..."

I was taught to put something like "Attachment Enclosed" at the bottom. I think it still serves a purpose: maybe your forgot to attach the document. That's happened to me at least once, I think.

you with the face
08-29-2014, 12:52 PM
The rule of thumb for communication is that any word or phrase that is distracting (because it reads awkwardly or sounds outdated) should be avoided.

Is "attached please find" distracting? A little bit, for me. If English was my second language, I could see myself having a hard time parsing this too, not just because "find" is being used in an unusual way, but because the construction itself is uncommon in speech.

This is my guess as to why experts express displeasure with this practice.

TheSeaOtter
08-29-2014, 02:22 PM
I concur that "attached, please find" sounds archaic. I use it whenever possible, for exactly that reason. I find that mixing formal and casual elements in my writing can make for a more entertaining email-reading experience. My coworkers have generally given positive feedback for the resulting missives.

PunditLisa
08-30-2014, 11:05 AM
Well, as I say, it wasn't just his particular quirk. We also used professionally published books on proper business writing that advised people to get rid of that phrase. It's been more than 25 years now, so I can't cite them, but I assure you they existed.

I don't doubt that they did. But seeing how the phrase that these writers were admonishing their readers to abandon is still in common use 25 years later, that's hardly a ringing endorsement for their "professional" advice. It also shows the disconnect between people who write about something vs. people who actually do it.

If I type "enclosed please find" into Google right now (as I just did, in fact), most of the first-page results point to articles in various sources, business and legal, saying "Don't do this!"...

Yes, but the people who use this phrase on a daily basis don't Google it to see if it is still acceptable. Why would they?

...I think inertia will keep the phrase around for awhile to come, but opposition to it is not terribly hard to find either.

You think?

P.S. I could also find opposition, from professional business writers to Dopers, to the "business casual" dress code that most professional companies have switched to. It makes me wonder what motivates people to keep spinning their wheels in the sand over something so silly.

Salem
08-30-2014, 11:46 AM
I don't find anything wrong with the phrase, although I typically don't use it. I'm more likely to specify "I have attached...."

You want a phrase to get up-in-arms about?

"Might you" as in "Might you want to fix that typo?" "Might you want to use the first photo I sent rather than the second?" Or even better "Might we want to rephrase that?"

AAAAGH. We might, We might not. We might want to punch your freakin' twee head in every time you use this ridiculous approach. Just come out and say what you're thinking rather than hiding behind this archaic phrasing to falsely imply some kind of subservience or politeness.

Arabella Flynn
09-04-2014, 10:06 AM
I use it all the time. I send out ebooks to reviewers, so a lot of my emails end with "Attached please find copies in epub, mobi, and PDF..."

It seems to work better than just pinning the document on there and going 'here's the book'. The use of the verb 'attached' seems important; it signals that there is a separate file tagging along, rather than a link or something pasted in the body of the email that's been eaten by some server along the way.

The specific use of a stock phrase that contrasts to the informal tone of the rest of the message also seems to press some Pavlovian button that makes them look for the paper clip icon automatically. I get very few 'where is the file?' bounces when I use the stock phrase; if I say 'here's the book' I always get a couple of clueless 'where did you put it?' replies.

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