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Choose the right words. What is wrong with ‘kind’ and ‘kindly’ in professional writing?

Why are international organizations full of kind staff writing kind emails requesting kind actions?  Here are some examples from my course participants’ recent emails:

  1. Please kindly find attached the minutes of our meeting for your kind reference.
  2. Many thanks for the kind reminder, Carol.
  3. I am including the focal point for interpreters for her kind information.
  4. Please kindly see my profile updated in this application.

In the Oxford Dictionary, the adjective kind is defined as gentle, friendly and generous.

Far down the list, we have formal uses of the word, which are the attempts above. But nowadays, this use is outdated.

Suggested redrafts

If you go to ChatGPT or Copilot, the WHO approved AI tool, you can ask for alternatives to the above. Here are the suggestions from Copilot:

  1. Please find attached the minutes of our meeting for your reference.
  2. Many thanks for the gentle reminder, Carol.
  3. I am including the focal point for interpreters for her consideration.
  4. Please review my profile updated in this application.

Alternatives to kind and kindly

I asked Copilot “Give me alternatives for ‘kind’ and ‘kindly’ when making requests:”

Certainly! When aiming to express a polite appeal in your professional emails or conversations, consider using these alternatives to “kind” and “kindly”*:

  1. I would appreciate: This alternative is slightly less formal than “kindly request” but maintains a professional and polite tone. It implies a sense of gratitude in advance, which can warm the recipient towards your request. For example:
  2. “I would appreciate it if you could share the final metrics report by this Friday to include in our quarterly review.” Or “I would appreciate you sharing ….”
  3. May I ask you: This synonym leans towards a more direct approach while remaining polite. It is excellent for when you have a direct question or request and want to show respect to the recipient’s autonomy to respond. For example:
  4. “May I ask you to review the proposal before our meeting?”
  5. Could you please: A straightforward and courteous way to make a request. It maintains professionalism while being concise. For example:
  6. “Could you please provide feedback on the draft presentation?”
  7. Would you mind: A polite way to ask for something, especially when you’re making a small request. For example:
  8. “Would you mind forwarding the updated agenda for our conference call?”
  9. I would be grateful: Expresses gratitude and appreciation. For example:
  10. “I would be grateful if you could share the updated sales forecast.”

*This list has been curated to include the useful ones for our purposes.

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