I'm looking for a word to replace "pouring" because it doesn't sound professional. Any suggestions?

Phones were constantly ringing, e-mails were pouring in, and since we were located above a branch people would often come to us in person whenever they had a problem.


"Phones were constantly ringing, an endless number of e-mails was coming in, and since we were located above a branch people would often come to us in person whenever they had a problem."

To avoid "pouring" or any other metaphorical word. Hope that helps.

  • 1
    I get confused with this, but would it be "were" instead of "was" since e-mails is plural? – Celeritas Feb 28 '14 at 9:08
  • @Celeritas - I would use were. "A number of complaints were received...", "a number of passengers were taken ill..." a number usually refers to anywhere from some to numerous. – anongoodnurse Feb 28 '14 at 9:13
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    I guess that's up to your preference as "a number" is singular. You can do both, I think. – bekate Feb 28 '14 at 9:36

First, the principle of effective writing is to shorten your sentences whenever possible - especially when you have problems with writing proper English sentences.

Phones would be constantly ringing, in the midst of persistent deluge of e-mails.
Since we were located above a branch, people would often come to us in person whenever they had a problem.

I had to change the mood to subjunctive from the past tense:

Phones were constantly ringing ...

The past tense is for describing a particular point in time in the past:

Yesterday, the phones were constantly ringing.

You could still use the plain past tense to describe the whole block of the, say, two years while you were employed there. However, it is more precise to have a phrase that could be freely glided around any point in time during that block of two years. Rather than the whole block of the two years, including the hours when everyone would be asleep.

To simulate a situation that is infinite or unbound to a particular time, in the past, you would abstract it into a subjunctive modular phrase:

Phones would be constantly ringing.

So that,

During my employment at the branch, phones would be constantly ringing.

Especially when you had already abstracted this phrase into its subjunctive unbound module:

people would often come to us in person


Sounds like adventure fiction rather than a resume.

We handled a considerable amount of traffic daily, both by email and telephone. In addition there was some face-to-face contact with customers that had to be handled as well".

You could also estimate the number of issues covered daily on average.

  • Care to elaborate? I agree cover letters should be professional sounding but in an attempt to stand out from the crowd I think a few exiting sentences is a good thing. – Celeritas Feb 28 '14 at 21:52
  • Personally, I think it is out of place in a cover letter or resume. You are trying to impress them about your abilities as a professional. If these sentences were to do this, they probably need to be quantified precisely rather than with dramatic but indeterminate terms like 'constantly', 'pouring', 'deluge'. This would more likely give an impression of a person that overreacts to problems rather than a problem solver. Mentioning that you are flexible and able to juggle tasks is a good thing to say, but you can say it calmly. – Oldcat Feb 28 '14 at 22:02

Basically, a covering letter requires you to use Business English.

An idea would be to look at sites like reed


for what you were trying to convey-

Handled enquiries in person, over the phone and the internet

better still if you can illustrate it with statistics (120 enquiries) shows performance.

Looking at this again, a good alternative might be 'managing a busy inbox'.

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