Email Slang

Alan looks at a short email between two Americans and dissects the informal language that they use.

Informal Expressions and Their Meanings

shoot you an email = email you (quickly, casually, no big deal)

grabbing lunch = having lunch (not a big commitment)

reach out = connect, contact, communicate (informal)

on your radar = planned, in your plans, in your awareness

swing by = come, visit, stop (for a brief, informal visit)

no pressure = I don’t want to obligate you if this isn’t desirable.

a fit = convenient to your needs or plans

circle back with you = re-contact you


Paraphrasing with a Little Shortening

Last week, I emailed you about having lunch tomorrow.  I know you are busy, but I thought I would check to see if lunch was still  planned.  I am still available tomorrow if lunch isn’t possible. Tom and I will be downtown at a Morgan Stanley meeting today, and if you are free, I could come after lunch to see your new office.  No pressure either way if it isn't good for you, but I thought I would re-contact you about this.  (86 words, 14% reduction)

Alan Headbloom

Alan advises Americans how to be global citizens and expats how to fit in to Michigan culture without annoying their native coworkers and clients. He also tweets and blogs at the intersection of language and culture. Over decades, he's traveled, studied, or lived on six continents, putting strange foods into his mouth and emitting strange sounds from it. His use of English, German, Spanish, Portuguese, French, Swedish, Hausa, and Japanese all improve with alcohol use. He gives invited public presentations on culture and unsolicited private advice on English grammar and usage; the latter isn't always appreciated. Visit his website for information on consulting, coaching, or speaking engagements.