My manager at work has sent me two links for competitors in order to check their products. Unfortunately, these links are not working.

I want to send a reply to my manager to inform her of this problem. Which of the following two replies is correct?

  • Dear Ms. XXXX,

    The links don't work.

  • Dear Ms. XXX,

    The links are not working.

  • Just wanted to point out that I made the following additional corrections to your post: 1) Changed "him" to "her" to match your use of "Ms." and 2) Changed a period to a comma after "Dear Ms. XXXX"
    – godel9
    Commented Dec 30, 2013 at 15:07
  • 1
    This question appears to be off-topic because the OP has already given the preferred phrasing in his background context - Unfortunately, these links are not working. So there's really no question to address. Commented Dec 30, 2013 at 16:54

3 Answers 3


Either one is grammatically correct, but they differ in the level of formality. I work in a relatively formal work environment, and I would use the second one when writing to my manager, since it sounds a little more formal to me. In fact, I might say:

I'm terribly sorry, but the links don't appear to be working.

This language may be too formal in less formal settings.

  • 1
    The appropriate level of conciseness and formality is highly dependent on your relationship to the recipient and conventions in your particular group. "The links don't work" is straight and to the point, the minimum number of words. In a no-nonsense environment, this would be preferred. In other environments such conciseness could be considered rude, and you'd be expected to say something more like, "Thank you for sending me the set of links for project XXX. Unfortunately, these links do not appear to work. Is it possible for you to check ..." etc.
    – Jay
    Commented Dec 30, 2013 at 15:50
  • 1
    @Jay You're absolutely correct. My work environment is definitely on the more formal side, and I would view "the links don't work" not as rude but rather just abrupt. Other work environments may differ.
    – godel9
    Commented Dec 30, 2013 at 16:20

I'm going to ignore the salutation, because that wasn't what your question was about.

Both are correct, but have slightly different connotations that are related to time.

"The links don't work." - This implies that the links are never going to work until someone fixes whatever is wrong with them.

"The links are not working." - This implies that the links didn't work when you tested them. They may have worked before and they may work after.

Regarding the level of formality, for example, whether or not you should use contractions, you can be too formal in an email. That will depend on your particular workplace. In some places, being overly formal can be interpreted as your being sarcastic.

  • Can the verb "open" be used instead of "work" here? Like, "this link won't open".
    – Inego
    Commented May 14, 2021 at 13:25

E-mails are usually less formal in their salutations than written letters.

By the way, if your manager is a male, it should be "Mr." If she is a female, it should be "Ms."

Ms. XXX, (<- did you see the comma there?)
The links are not working.

You might make it a little bit less abrupt.

Ms. XXX,
Unfortunately, the links I received in your email yesterday are not working.

  • Where is the content?
    – user2376
    Commented Dec 30, 2013 at 14:50
  • @user2376 - I do not understand your question, I'm sorry to say. Commented Dec 30, 2013 at 15:08
  • Sorry, in my computer, I see a blank answer, with only share edit and flag links. Perhaps a bug in stackexchange???
    – user2376
    Commented Dec 31, 2013 at 6:38
  • @user2376 - I'm so sorry for the misunderstanding. There are no actual links in my answer. I am discussing a situation where someone wanted advice on how to write an email in which he states that his links aren't working. Commented Dec 31, 2013 at 7:07

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