1

I'm working on a late Thank you email to my co-workers in response to the Get well soon card I got in the mail.

Hi team, I got the backed up mail today from the mailbox and saw a very cool looking Get well soon card you all have signed. Thank you for your well wishes and sentiments! I very much appreciate the kind gesture!

Is back up here used correctly? I looked it up and didn't see it used in this type of context, but this is the only phrasal verb that comes to mind to describe a pile of mail in the mailbox that was sent awhile back.

Is there an idiomatic way to describe this?

2
  • 1
    ...Thank you for your well wishes... - well is definitely wrong here as it's an adverb. You must use an adjective instead. For instance, kind. I very much appreciate the kind gesture! - word order is wrong here. It could be I appreciate this kind gesture very much! – Anatolii Jan 25 '20 at 20:49
  • 1
    @Anatolii, Thank you for the grammar tips! – Bahram Jan 26 '20 at 18:41
2

Glad you’re feeling better!

It’s not the most natural construction but is one whose general meaning is understandable. For native American English speakers, at least, the phrase backed up meaning stopped or overflowing (as opposed to computer files being copied elsewhere) is commonly used to describe a toilet being clogged. If your recent illness may have involved any sort of bowel upset, different phrasing is definitely in order.

Your mail piled up because you probably felt too ill to even check the mail, that is, to walk to the box and see whether you had any deliveries. You might express that as

After finally feeling up to checking the mail for the first time in four days, I enjoyed reading the get-well card that everyone signed. Thank you for taking time for your thoughtful gesture.

If you tend to be more private or understated, then

Now that I’m able to catch up on my mail …

or just

Catching up with the mail …

Note that the English word mail is a mass noun or uncountable noun. This means mails is incorrect. Whether it’s a single letter, parcel, or many pieces of mail, grammatical usage refers to it as a single whole, e.g., “The driver delivered the mail.” The same is true for email, which derives from electronic mail, that may contain notes, letters, memos, and so on. Error on this point (three emails) is widespread, and correcting it may induce non-responses such as “it’s just different” or “don’t be a prescriptivist.”

3
  • Thank you very much for your answer! – Bahram Jan 26 '20 at 18:39
  • By the way as a non-native, "Thank you for taking time for your thoughtful gesture," is not a construction I had heard before. I would've said, "Thank you for taking the time to make such a thoughtful gesture." I was wondering if you could confirm that your sentence is indeed grammatically correct. – Bahram Jan 26 '20 at 19:26
  • @Bahram You’re welcome! Yours is a more formal way to express it. In my less formal version, “to make” is implied. For a response to a nice card, less formal is what I’d suggest. People from other cultures sometimes complain that Americans can be too chummy or overly friendly. Connecting your coworkers to their sentiment with a possessive as in “your gesture” is more personal, in contrast to an article, either “the gesture” or “a gesture,” that may come across as distant or detached. – Greg Bacon Jan 26 '20 at 20:19
0

It makes sense to me, so I won't say it is wrong. It could cause some confusion as "backed-up mail" makes me think of a digital backup, perhaps of email.

You might also call it a backlog of mail. The most natural way to express it seems to me to be "mail that had built up".

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.