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What would be a more formal way to say something like

The data has all been processed by now, so there's no need for further action

in an email?

I'm worried that "by now" might sound a little aggressive.

  • 1
    There is nothing informal about "by now". – Lambie Jul 16 at 13:42
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One easy way to do it is to simply strike the two words altogether:

The data has all been processed, so there's no need for further action

Another trick would be to do some rearranging and rewording:

Now that the data has all been processed, there's no need for further action

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    Both these are good! Additionally: The data has already been processed, so there's no need for further action. Google defines "already" as before or by now or the time in question. – Bee Jul 16 at 13:11
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There is nothing informal about "by now" (nor are emails noted for a high degree of formality).

Your point about your example sounding somewhat aggressive has nothing to do with formality, but about perception and good manners. I can see that in certain contexts many would feel the example to be dismissive or denigrating, but I doubt that merely replacing "by now" would alter the perceived tone.

Thank you for your offer, but the data have already been processed.

  • Or, more closely mirroring the OP's sentence: There's no need for further action; the data have already been processed. – J.R. Jul 16 at 13:25
  • @ JR You are absolutely correct in terms of meaning. But I suspect that the OP is contemplating a situation where someone's offer to do something has come too late to be useful. If that or a similar supposition is true, problem with the original example is social rather than linguistic. Good manners require responding appreciatively to proffered help, and the formulaic way to do so in English is with "thank you." – Jeff Morrow Jul 16 at 13:54
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I see no reason of using by now here. From what I know we use by now for reckoning

For example:

•They must have arrived by now.

•You should've been in bed by now.

I'd rather use already in this context

The data has been processed already, so there's no need for further action

  • 1
    True, although one way we could use by now in the OP's context would be to use "should", e.g.: The data should have been processed by now. – J.R. Jul 16 at 13:51

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