I am a PhD student in US but my mother language is not English. I'm in the following situation and I wish to learn how I may respond it politely.

The situation is simple. I have an appointment with my professor today but for some reason my professor forgot about it. He just never shows up in his office. Now I am about to send him an email to ask for rescheduling our appointment some time later this week. However, I just don't know how I should start my email... I feel it would be very rude if I start with something like: "Sorry professor but you didn't show up so I have to send this email to reschedule our appointment with you."

But still, I wish to let him know that I made it to this appointment on time and this is not my fault....

Thank you for your advice!

Maybe it is not a good idea that try to point out this is his fault... But still, I got stack on how should I start my email. This is what I have so far:

Dear Professor:

Good evening.

I was wondering that could we reschedule our appointment some time later this week? For example Friday maybe?

Thank you!

But I still feel I should say something between "Good evening" and "I was wondering..." Any suggestions? Or should I just leave it as what I have so far?

Thank you guys!

  • 2
    I'm not saying that this question is off topic here, but you can still try posting this on Acadamia.SE, which is "for academics and those enrolled in higher education." – Pyraminx Feb 10 '15 at 21:24
  • Because cross-posting of identical questions is discouraged, if you elect to post a question on Academia, it should differ from this one (let this one focus on the English, let that one focus on different approaches to the problem). Or, if you'd prefer, this can be migrated. – J.R. Feb 10 '15 at 21:36
  • 4
    Advice of the type requested is not within this site's scope. – Tᴚoɯɐuo Feb 10 '15 at 22:38

You could say something like:

Dear Professor,

Good evening.

In my calendar, we had an appointment this afternoon at 2 pm in your office but it seems we may have missed each other.

I was wondering if we could reschedule our appointment for some time later this week. For example Friday maybe? (ALT: Friday is good for me if you have time.)

Thank you!

This states the fact that your calendar marked the appointment and allows for the possibility that there was an error on your part (or his) without being accusatory. It allows that either of you have made a mistake and, if he claims that the appointment was at 3, you can graciously nod and smile and take the blame.

  • +1 Think you can lose the "at 2pm in your office" and just say "today" though maybe! – Araucaria - Not here any more. Feb 11 '15 at 0:11
  • 1
    @Araucaria I included it because I feel it clarifies the time you thought the meeting was scheduled for. It is possible the professor was there but at 1 or 3 and could even be thinking it was the OP who flaked (not saying that's what actually happened). – Catija Feb 11 '15 at 0:25
  • Ahh, I see. Do you think it might be better to let the Prof wriggle out? - rather than pining him down? He might do the same to you (obviously not you; but perhaps to Wisher!) : ) – Araucaria - Not here any more. Feb 11 '15 at 0:32
  • @Araucaria you are probably right. I wasn't thinking of it that way. And the important thing is to get the meeting rescheduled. – Catija Feb 11 '15 at 0:46


"Sorry I missed you on {day}. Let me know, if possible, another convenient time to meet with you. Thanks."

If the professor has an admin who controls his scheduling, I'd say:

"Sorry I missed you on {day}. I'll coordinate with your admin for another time, if that's OK. Thanks."

and then ask the admin for another appointment.


That may or may not be a good idea, depending on how much of an a** the professor is (and some of them really are, so you've got to be careful). And just why, may I ask, is it important to you to remind him that it's his fault?

That said, if you really must remind him that the missed appointment was his fault, something like "I'm sorry you couldn't make it to our meeting", or something like that will do. It's called being passive-aggressive.

  • Maybe you should do some editing. I'm not sure to what degree is coarse language acceptable in here. And, I wasn't the one downvoting. I'm actually waiting to see the community's response. – It's Over Feb 10 '15 at 21:31
  • Okey-dokey. Edited. – WhatRoughBeast Feb 10 '15 at 21:32
  • Stupid auto-correction... I want to say I am "NOT" the one down-voting it as well... – JumpJump Feb 10 '15 at 21:40
  • I up-vote it so it should even it... I really appreciate your help! – JumpJump Feb 10 '15 at 21:41
  • I also update my post. Please have a look! – JumpJump Feb 10 '15 at 21:46

Now if you really want to be polite, you just send him an email, telling him that YOU forgot the apointment, and ask him to reschedule.

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