I was writing an email today, and I was supposed to write a phrase like this "did it for all of 'em", even though I eventually changed it to them as them as that looked a little informal to me, I am not rally sure if this is what the case is?

and just for information, mail was not for any boss/manager, it was just for a colleague but she is in US and I am not so I didn't know whether it is okay or not?

  • 1
    It sounds quite informal, so I wouldn't use 'em unless your e-mails from her were equally informal. Commented Dec 14, 2012 at 20:53
  • 4
    Too informal for business.
    – Mitch
    Commented Dec 14, 2012 at 21:18
  • Off topic: writing advice/critique.
    – MetaEd
    Commented Dec 15, 2012 at 2:40
  • if your correspondent knows that you are a non-English speaker they'll let it slide, because they'll assume you are trying to try out some colloquialisms.
    – user31341
    Commented Dec 15, 2012 at 2:55
  • In Business emails.. it depends on the individual who observes this usage. Most may let it go....but some may not approve. I would suggest not using "them" at all times... Commented Dec 15, 2012 at 15:30

1 Answer 1


The only place the contraction 'em has a use in writing is in fiction, where the goal is to portray a character's way of speaking. (Example: "The crowd cheered, 'Hit 'em again, harder!'") It's never used in written communication, no matter how informal.

  • I’ve seen it in email — which is presumably a written not an oral medium. It’s just that it is sometimes seeking to emulate one.
    – tchrist
    Commented Dec 15, 2012 at 14:46
  • gmcgath -That was a fine way of putting it... " 'em" is a big no-no in written communication. maybe ok while texting. anything is accepted in that lingo nowadays.. :) Commented Dec 15, 2012 at 15:26

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