5 Lesser-Known Email Etiquette Rules You Might Be Breaking

Closeup of using modern mobile phone with email icons around it.
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By Alison Green

In the two decades since email began saturating most American workplaces, most people have come to agree on some basic etiquette rules, such as don't reply-all when you don't need to and avoid using all caps unless you're screaming at someone.

But there are finer points of email etiquette that aren't as universally acknowledged but can make you a far more effective emailer. Here are five lesser-known email etiquette breaches that you might still make.

1. Waiting to respond to an email until you know the answer – even if it takes days. Here's what this often looks like: You receive an email asking you for a specific piece of information. You won't be able to get that information until next week, so you put the email aside until you have it. But you don't email the sender back to let them know that that's the situation, since you're figuring that you'll just respond when you have the answer they're looking for. This is problematic, because the sender is left wondering whether you even received the message, whether you've forgotten about it, and what's taking so long. In some cases, they'll become annoyed.