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Email may have taken over from verbal communication, but when it comes to sending electronic messages Yahoo! has exposed a distinct lack of etiquette.

Filled with brilliant tools to help people get the most out of their inbox, Yahoo! Mail is on a mission to clear the lines of email communication, so quizzed the nation to reveal the top five email pet hates. The research revealed that the rules of English language simply don’t apply electronically.

Text speak has been voted the official no. 1 email bug bear by over one in five email users. The top 5 pet peeves are:

1. Use of text speak such as LOL and BTW (22%)

2. Mass distribution emails to 5 or more recipients (16%)

3. Use of ‘shouting’ CAPITAL letters (15%)

4. No entry in subject line (12%)

5. Read receipts (10%)

With 10.9 million[1] Yahoo! Mail users spending more than one billion minutes a month on email, its clear email is an essential part of our lives and nothing to LOL about.

Dave McDowell, Director EU Communications Products at Yahoo! comments: “How many times have you sent an email with one of these pet peeves? We want you to be a better email citizen, so we are helping you craft brilliant emails with our new guide.

“No longer will an email from your Yahoo! account escape your grasp with text speak or shouting, when you log into Yahoo! Mail we are now providing you with a new email-etiquette guide, ensuring that users get the most out of their mail and rest assured there will be no LOLs to be seen!”

Yahoo! has pulled together the rules of email-gagement, by teaming up with leading etiquette expert Jean Broke-Smith, to reveal exactly how email should and shouldn’t be used. So whether you are sending emails to your M8s or colleagues you can follow the Yahoo! Guide to Email Etiquette at

Jean Broke-Smith comments: “Email is largely a toneless form of communication so great for communicating facts but, without visual or verbal cues, it can be bad at conveying emotions. Because of this, many messages are misconstrued and what may sound rude on email if communicated verbally could sound completely different. It is important that we abide by a few simple etiquette rules to ensure that we are getting the most out of email.”


The Yahoo! Email Etiquette Guide in association with Jean Broke-Smith

Do….create the right impression and banish the BTWs. People react to email within seconds of receiving it. As the Yahoo! research shows, text speak can be very annoying and shows a lack of correct spelling ability and laziness. It won’t impress!

Don’t… offend. Using capitals is the email equivalent of SHOUTING and is perceived as being extremely rude, so make sure your caps lock is switched off.

Do…. include a subject line. You’ve got three seconds to grab attention when an email appears and by not including a subject in the email, the chances of it being read are greatly reduced. Use the subject line for the purpose it was made and tell people what the email is about.

Don’t… use read receipts. Read receipts demonstrate a distinct lack of trust, so avoid where possible. Follow up with a phone call if you want to ensure your message has reached the right person.

Do… remember the recipient. The failsafe method for emailing is to imagine you are writing a succinct letter. Address the recipient in the correct manner and title. You can be light hearted and humorous as in any written communication, it is a just a matter of judgment. But if you don’t know the recipient, don’t be over familiar and sign off with the right degree of formality.

Don’t…. use CC and BCC unnecessarily. The no. 2 email bug bear is mass distribution of emails, so exercise constraint when it comes to copying people in. If the email is important to other people, simply forward to them at the end, rather than them being caught up in a never-ending email trail. Likewise use the BCC button wisely, again forward emails separately rather than ‘hiding’ other recipients.

Do… take your time. Because of the instant nature of emails it is tempting to deal with them immediately, but rushing an email can lead to errors. Deal with them promptly but don’t panic and reply in haste and always check what you have written before you hit send.

Don’t… over use ‘importance’. Before you even consider using a red exclamation mark, ask yourself is this really important? Only use when it is vital that the email is read, otherwise you are drawing unnecessary attention to yourself and it is a quick way of irritating recipients.

Do…save the kisses. Over familiarity towards your boss or work colleagues is bad etiquette, keep the love and kisses for very good friends.

Don’t… email when angry. If you receive a ‘harsh’ email, read it through, then close it and walk away. Consider your response and if necessary ask someone else to read your reply before you send it, don’t fight fire with fire.

Do… choose a sensible email address. Previous Yahoo! research[2] has shown that you are less likely to land a job if you use a frivolous email address such as, Think about what your email address says about you as it’s an insight into your personality.

Don’t… hide behind email. It is often easier to write something in words than it is to say it out loud, but don’t say something on email that you wouldn’t say in person. Emails have longevity and it can come back to haunt you!

Press enquiries: Estelle Boon/Amie Keeley/Julie Doyle

Tel: 020 7632 2400



Research conducted on Yahoo! Mail Blog, March - April 2009, sample size 1315

About Yahoo!

Yahoo! Inc. is a leading global Internet brand and one of the most busiest Internet destinations worldwide. Yahoo! is focused on powering its communities of users, advertisers, publishers, and developers by creating indispensable experiences built on trust. Yahoo! is headquartered in Sunnyvale, California.

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