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I'm in a work environment, and when a superior emails me to 'let me know' of something (e.g., Dear Bob, I'll be absent of the Tuesday meeting because of x.) I don't know what response has a proper tone.

My thoughts are that: "Got it, thank you.", "Message received, thank you.", and "Ok, thanks!", sound like things a superior would be responding me (rather than the other way around).

I think that even thought phrases 'respectfulness' might vary with people's opinions, there is a standard. (A soldier doesn't go around telling his superiors "Ok" or "got it.")

Thus, my question is two-fold:

For practical reasons,

1) what response would be proper for a superior, but not so much that it sounds obsequious - or that you're a sycophant.

And for pedagogical reasons,

2) what is the area (and proper terminology) of linguistics which studies the language's 'properness'/'respectfulness'. (I assume this to be an area since 'properness' is ever evolving with society).

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    You might like to check out workplace.stackexchange.com. Regarding your final question, this could be classed as "etiquette".
    – nxx
    Mar 25, 2014 at 1:14
  • @nxx - Thanks! Didn't know that site existed.
    – Esteban
    Mar 25, 2014 at 1:41
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    For all those interested, I've asked this question in workplace.stackexchange.com; with the title "Response's 'respectfulness'/etiquette for an email that does not ask for a reply"
    – Esteban
    Mar 25, 2014 at 1:53

2 Answers 2

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Formal template:

Dear Bob,
Yours of the 21st is at hand, concerning your planned absence from work on Friday the 26th. Please accept the heartfelt wishes for a safe and happy day off from

Your most humble servant,
[signature]

Less formal template:

OK.
[no signature]

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This is quite possibly a question of personal preferences....... My personal preference for replying to these informative emails is to simply reply with:

Thanks for letting me know.

If circumstances warrant it, I might add a

I hope you get well soon / Enjoy your game of golf / I will forward you the minutes of the meeting.

I sign off with my standard email signature.

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