5

Is it grammatical to use the expression "Attached you may find ..." in an email? For example:

Dear Sir or Madam,

Attached you may find the documents you requested.

...

If this is proper, should there be a comma just after "Attached"?

Attached, you may find the documents you requested.

5

Using the word may makes it sound like ...or you may not.

I would say:

Attached please find the documents you requested.

  • 6
    The use of may here is not confusing; it is a formal way to suggest what the purpose of the documents is. Check here, definition n.6. The use of a comma isn't mandatory, either. – Irene Mar 30 '12 at 12:17
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    @Irene, understood. However, I receive so many e-mails in which the sender forgot to include the attachment that the OP's sentence made "or may not" immediately jump to mind. I still prefer my suggestion. – JLG Mar 30 '12 at 12:22
  • @Irene: I think the linked definition is misleading, if not actually incorrect. In the example, the sense of "purpose" arises from the word "so", not the word "may" (which as JLG says, can only imply "possibility"). In OP's context, may is a formal choice implying some degree of deferential hesitancy, along the lines of may it please you to find, or you will be able to find. I agree with JLG that it's dated, potentially confusing, and decidedly anomalous in a modern context like an email. – FumbleFingers Mar 30 '12 at 13:12
  • When I first read the sentence I took "may" as simply being a polite softener, so it doesn't sound like you're demanding that the person read the document. Like, "You may want to read this" is a suggestion, while "Read this" is an order. But on second reading I can see that it could be taken as "the document might or might not be here, please look and see if you can find it". It probably is better to use an alternative softener, like "please find", etc. – Jay Mar 30 '12 at 13:52
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    It's a bit odd that we use this somewhat formal idiom for attachments when so much of email is informal. Why don't we just say the documents you requested are attached? – Wayne Johnston Apr 1 '12 at 0:24
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I have used

Attached please find the documents you requested.

I don't tend to use commas where they're not required, though. It's pretty much a matter of style, as is the usage of you may instead of please.

  • What about this: attached you can find – Meysam Mar 30 '12 at 16:32
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Yes, this is common and acceptable. I do not put a comma after "attached" in such a sentence. I don't think there's any grammatical reason to put a comma.

I often write something more like, "I have prepared the report you requested, attached." This is technically grammatically wrong. I guess it's really an abbreviated version of "I have prepared the report you requested and have attached it to this email" or some such. But it's done quite often and is widely accepted.

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Your requirement, as attachment.

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