5 Business Email cliches I'm sick of
- let's touch base
What's the metaphor here? You might think baseball, but let's face it: in baseball two people who touch the same base at the same time are generally on opposing teams. If you were going to use an baseball metaphor, it'd be "go out to the mound." But this raises the uncomfortable question of which party is manager and which is the pitcher. (hint: if you're talking to someone who you can fire, you're not the pitcher)
Maybe it's from cricket.
- And we'll go from there
This means nothing. It's essentially saying, "I don't want to think any farther ahead than Tuesday in this email, but I want you to think I have a plan hidden up my sleeve." Nixon probably used this construction in Telexes to the Joint chiefs of staff between 1969 and 1973.
- I just wanted to...
Weak construction that has no business being in the past tense. Do you no longer want to? Why just? This construction is appropriate if you have to tell Blofeld you let James Bond escape. When you're writing to Ted from accounts receivable, it's toadying.
- If you could... that would be great
This little gem, made famous from Office Space, goes one step beyond "I just wanted to" and uses the subjunctive. Which reduces your order or request to a Disney heroine's wistful introductory musical number. If I could find Prince Charming, maybe I could escape the cruel clutches of my stepmother. If you could attach the excel document from the March budgeting meeting, you wouldn't be a moron. The rest of the universe would look the same.
- Going Forward
First, let me say that I don't object to this because of the spatial metaphor. I just don't like the fact that the spatial metaphor assumes we're all going in the same direction. Sort of like the word "Enterprise." It's a goddamn business, not a spaceship.
"From now on" works fine, saves a syllable.