6

What are the polite ways to remind people of things that they have apparently forgot? Is it Ok/normal to say "please be reminded that ..."?

I know generally speaking, it's better to use "I" instead of "you", but even so, say to use something like "I'd like to remind you...", sounds too "accusing" to me.

What are the better alternatives for a friendlier reminder? Thanks

11

I've actually profitably made heavy use of the phrase "friendly reminder" in email and text. As in:

Friendly reminder: your appointment with me is at 4pm this afternoon.

or

Just a friendly reminder, your appointment with me is at 4pm this afternoon.

The other thing you can do, which I also do, is to skip the preamble about how they might have forgotten, and simply reiterate the information they might have forgotten -- or otherwise slip it into the conversation:

I look forward to seeing you at our 4pm appointment later today.

A related trick is to include a reminder, clarification or request about something else entirely which happens to include the stealth reminder for what you're really concerned about:

I wanted to let you know, the ceiling projector is out of order in the room in which we're meeting today at 4pm. I thought I should mention in case you were planning on using it.

Hey, would you happen to have some spare dry erase markers you could bring to our 4pm meeting today? The conference room was out when I was there earlier.

Another trick, one which I don't use personally, but have seen others use, is to pretend one might have forgotten, oneself, and ask the party you suspect of forgetting for confirmation:

I'm sorry to bother you, but I think I may have written our appointment time down wrong. When did we agree to meet?

Yet another approach I use with my sometimes flaky boss, regarding our 1-on-1 meetings, is to ask, as if no commitment had been made, whether something is true (typically via SMS which is the only way to get him when he's in other meetings):

Are we meeting at 4pm today?

The nice thing about this approach is it lets him save face if he forgot and made other plans: he can just write back "No, not this week" or "No, I have to debargle the overthrusters" or "No, let's meet next week". He doesn't have to admit he forgot. Also, it doesn't make me look like I'm nagging him, the way sending reminders might.

  • 2
    +1 I can recognize this answer is based on years of experience in corporate environments. – CoolHandLouis May 25 '14 at 16:28
  • Bingo! This is surely the answer as I was asking for polite ways to remind people of things that they have apparently forgot. Don't think there will be any better answers even if I wait for another week. +1 – xpt May 26 '14 at 3:18
  • I was only half way throw the answer when I knew that this IS it, and accepted it. Reading it through carefully again, I realized that this is not only the answer I'm seeking but also full of the wisdom that's way beyond anyone could possibly ask for. THANKS!!! – xpt May 26 '14 at 3:30
  • What do you do if you use the when did we agree to meet phrase, and the person you ask forgot? Do you have to admit it was all a trick? – grooveplex Aug 1 '16 at 9:34
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    @a25bedc5-3d09-41b8-82fb-ea6c353d75ae you can do whatever you like. If you had originally booked an appointment for 4pm but they forgot, you can just say, "How about 4pm?" Or, you know, if you want to meet at noon, here's your chance to renegotiate, "How a bout noon?" Or if this is a meeting you want to get out of, "Oh, my mistake. I don't need to meet if you don't need to meet." – Codeswitcher Aug 2 '16 at 16:59
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Actually "Please be reminded" is used to reiterate a reminder. For instance, if you had mentioned in a previous memo that there would be a company picnic and that there are to be no pets, you can reiterate this closer to the date of the picnic in another memo and state: "Please be reminded that no pets are to be brought to the picnic."

Also, there is nothing abrasive about using "I" to remind someone of something, as long as the tone is friendly. In fact, "please be reminded" is actually quite stiff in my opinion. You can say things like:

[in order of formality]:

I'd like to remind you, the meeting was changed to 9am.

As a reminder...

Let me remind you...

Let's not forget...

In case you've forgotten...

Bear in mind...

Don't forget...

Remember...

  • 3
    I don't think that list is in any particular order of formality but it's a good list of alternatives. – David Richerby May 24 '14 at 19:14
  • "Please be reminded" is just wrong and, lexically, makes no sense. You are already reminding them, so asking them to be reminded is pointless. They have no choice. It's like shaking someone who is asleep and then, after they're awake, saying "Please be awakened" – Kevin Apr 25 '17 at 17:24
  • I don't agree. I feel it's a matter of register, not unlike, for instance, "enclosed please find…" obviously the recipient is going to find whatever it is, but it's just another more formal way of saying "here is…" – CocoPop Apr 25 '17 at 17:28
-4

Firstly, you should write "gentle reminder" or "kind reminder" in the subject line of the e-mail/correspondence. For the content, you may continue with some polite phrases such as: I wish to let you know ... I understand you have a lot of work, but I want to remind you... When you get a chance, please... (this is for the bosses only, otherwise it has no power of sanction) May I please remind you that.. These phrases may sound too official but it is for sure that no one will get offended by these statements.
Lastly, to be on the safe side (at least this time), it would be good to ask for confirmation so that you do not need to send tens of reminders!

  • 1
    Welcome to ELL! Could you be please be more elaborate? You can start by saying why these would be good options, provide references that back up your statement, etc. – M.A.R. Jul 31 '15 at 13:11
  • "Kind" reminder? Er... that looks strange to me in all contexts after kindergarten. – Nathan Tuggy Jul 31 '15 at 16:33
  • May I please remind you that.... is not idiomatic. – Alan Carmack Jun 29 '16 at 2:46

protected by J.R. Aug 1 '16 at 15:21

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