Some context: English is not my native language and I had a chat with my colleague from a remote location. She asked my team lead to add two users in some system and since the team lead was off the office that day, I had to help her. So the dialog went like this:

She: Thanks John Doe! Have they also been added to Fake System?

Me: Hi Sara Connor,
John is out of office today. I will have a look.
If they are not added, should I add them?

She: Yes, please. Thanks Alex!

Me: I had a look - they have not been added. Unfortunately, we don't have the rights to add new users. To do this there is a formal procedure:
Please send an email to some@fake.email with request and description of what needs to be done (usernames/permissions to create)

She: Thanks Alex! I'll email them.

She: Hi Alex - Sorry to bother you again, I'm getting an Outlook notification that the some@fake.email address is no longer valid. Is there a new address or process?

Me: Sorry, I have given you the wrong one. The correct is - someother@fake.email

She: Perfect. Thanks!

Me: Add our John Doe in the copy :)

And I got a comment from one of my colleagues:
I am not sure that you phrase is really polite
It is imperative "add..."(it is an order), and it is unclear meaning of "our"

It got me confused, because technically it looks like he's right, but I feel that what I wrote was perfectly OK. Or am I mistaken and this last phrase can really be considered rude/impolite and might have offended the recipient?

  • I'm no expert. But I have a strong opinion. Technically, you made a statement that demanded her to 'Add our John Doe'. But in today's day and age, I find it arrogant for people speaking a language natively to expect a non-native speaker to navigate such nuances. Two things going for you, one, you used a smiley face. Two, you don't speak English natively. As for what is "Right" or "Wrong", you did Nothing wrong. But this is your work and you must navigate other people's emotions as well. So despite the truth of who was right or wrong, If I were you, I'd offer a simple apology. – piRSquared Jan 12 '18 at 6:11
  • @piRSquared Thanks for your comment, it's really helpful. – Alex Jan 12 '18 at 8:17

Yes, the sentence does sound a little imperative. But there is a fix. You can add the word 'Please' to the sentence and it turns from command to request.

For example :

"Add John Doe in the copy."

"Please, add John Doe in the copy."

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