If you were to approve the following email:

Dear Tom,

Kindly requesting for your approval on the enclosed content.


What would you write?

  1. Approve.

  2. Approved.

And why would you choose one over the other?

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  • 1
    In a one-word email, I don't think it really matters all that much. Either one of those could show up in my inbox, and I'd just be happy that my request was approved. – J.R. Jun 17 at 20:26

In my opinion, this should be:


The full sentence version would be:

This has now been approved.

Hence it is past tense.

  • 2
    Hello, Bee. Why can't the full sentence be 'I approve this'? – Edwin Ashworth Jun 17 at 17:49
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    As soon as you send the email, it's in the past. Therefore saying you approve this (although grammatically correct) doesn't feel right, since the person reading the email will read it after the fact. – Bee Jun 17 at 17:57
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    @EdwinAshworth Because it's more natural to read a bare verb as an imperative. – Anton Sherwood Jun 17 at 18:07
  • @Anton Sherwood I'm almost certain I've come across the usage, possibly the impression of an old rubber stamp, though I'd agree that the past participle seems more natural here. But on ELU, this question would probably be regarded as 'primarily opinion based' (ie we're really guessing: are we to assume that business jargon mirrors well-behaved English so closely?) This answer also lacks any supporting evidence for the claimed correct answer, which would be seen as another problem on ELU. Perhaps that's not the case here? – Edwin Ashworth Jun 17 at 18:18
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    I think that your extrapolation of a sentence from one word needs more explanation incorporated into your answer. I could respond to that e-mail with “I approve.” Or “I have approved.” Maybe you could find some real-world examples even though it’s difficult to find a reference? I have an email from the head of our group that responded to a similar request with “I approve.” so I don’t think it’s as straightforward as you feel it is. (I’m trying to help you improve your answer, not trying to make you feel criticized. You don’t have to change a thing if you’re happy with your answer) – ColleenV Jun 17 at 18:40

Approved is the right one If the request has been approved already while replying to the email

  • 3
    And what if the email itself is the approval? – J.R. Jun 17 at 20:32
  • We're looking for answers with more detail than this. Imagine that some other anonymous person writes the exact opposite -- how would anybody know who to believe? – David Richerby Jun 19 at 13:58
  • Welcome to English Language Learners, and thanks for your answer. This answer was flagged by the system because it's so short, so please allow me to give you some tips as a brand new user. The community here values answers that are well thought-out and provide detail that helps the learner improve their knowledge and use of the English Language. I don't think this answer meets those criteria. As it is it's in danger of being voted down. Please look around at other answers with a lot of votes to see what's expected. You're welcome to edit your answer if you can make it better. – dwilli Jun 23 at 1:22

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