Please find attached my discontent

One of the vomit-piles of modern life is formal email correspondence. Swapping stock phrases with strangers at the unfun costume party called “job”: No Thanks! Was amused then to discover that the ubiquitous Please Find Attached‘s stodgy uncle Please Find Enclosed has long been a punching bag of usage guides.

Bryan Garner writes of enclosed please find, please find enclosed, enclosed herewith, and enclosed herein: “These phrases—common in commercial and legal correspondence—are archaic deadwood for here are, enclosed is, I’ve enclosed, or the like. Interestingly, business-writing texts have consistently condemned the phrases since the late 19th century” and provides a few samples.

“Please find enclosed: A more ridiculous use of words, it seems to me, there could not be.” R.G. White (1880)

Inclosed herewith please find. Inclosed and herewith mean the same thing. How foolish to tell your reader twice exactly where the check is, and then to suggest that he look around to see if he can find it anywhere. Say ‘We are enclosing our check for $25.50.'” Bartholomew & Hurlbut (1924)

Please find enclosed. This worn-out formula is not in good use in letters, either business or personal.” M. Weseen (1928)

“When you read a letter that sounds as if it were a compendium of pat expressions from some old letter book of the goose-quill period, do you feel that you are communicating with the writer’s mind? On the contrary, if you have a discerning mind, you know that you are merely getting a reflex from one who lacks taste and good mental digestion…. When you compose letters, beware these bromides: …inclosed please find.” H. Cramp (1930)

“Business words and expressions borrowed from an earlier generation can make your writing sound artificial and pedantic. Every letter will read like a form letter, and you will sound bored or, even worse, boring. Thinking up substitute phrases is easy if you put your mind to it. Consider some of these revisions: … Enclosed please find [becomes] I am enclosing.” M. Piotrowski (1989)



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