As we all know, tone is hard to convey properly via email. However, whenever I am inclined to use an ! to convey a positive tone, I get the sense that it actually reads as childish or immature. I also never seem to notice men using !’s in emails, either…. I’d love to hear yours and others thoughts on this!

我們都知道,通過郵件是很難傳達語氣的。然而,每當我試圖利用一個驚嘆號來傳達積極的語氣時,我卻發現這讀起來讓我顯得很幼稚。我也從未見過有男人在郵件里使用驚嘆號……我很希望聽到你們和其他人對此的想法!

A lot has been written about overuse of exclamations in emails — with some people even suggesting that one exclamation mark per email is a good rule to follow. There’s even an app to help you check the tone of your email! My best general advice is that abbreviations, multiple punctuation marks (!!!), and overly casual phrases (“amazeballs!”) have no place in professional emails. Beyond that, I think a lot of this depends on why you want to use a positive tone. For example:

很多讀者都寫到了在郵件里過度使用驚嘆號的問題——有些人甚至覺得每條郵件里都加一個驚嘆號是個很好的習慣。甚至還有人開發了能幫你檢驗你郵件中的語氣的app!但我最好的一般性建議是,縮寫語、多個重複的標點符號(!!!)以及過於隨便的詞句(“酷斃了!”)都不應該出現在商務郵件里。除此之外,我就你為什麽要使用積極的語氣做了些思考:

• If you’re telling a subordinate he or she did a good job: They don’t care if you use exclamation marks; they’re just happy to get the praise. I think something like, “Outstanding!” is professional and encouraging without seeming juvenile.

如果你想要告訴一位下屬他/她幹得不錯:他們根本不在乎你有沒有用驚嘆號;他們總是很高興得到表揚的。我覺得就像“真不錯!”這樣的語句就很職業而且很能激勵人,還不會顯得太幼稚。

• If you’re trying to sugarcoat a bad situation for a superior: Exclamation marks aren’t going to help you here — in fact, they’ll probably hurt you. You don’t want to be overly grave (“I am so sorry this happened!!!”), or overly breezy (“…but on the plus side no one lost a limb!!!”)… it’s a tough tone to strike in email. Which, honestly, is why I recommend picking up the phone or dropping by your boss’s office. Not only do you not have to worry about tone, but you can better gauge your boss’s reaction, and — bonus! — there’s no paper trail that might get forwarded, misconstrued, filed away, etc.

如果你想在你的主管面前粉飾一個糟糕的情況:驚嘆號對你不會有幫助的——事實上,它們可能還會有壞處。你一定不想顯得太過鄭重(“對發生這樣的事我感到非常抱歉!!!”)或是太過輕松隨意(“……不過值得慶幸的是沒人受到了什麽損失!!!”)……這種語氣在郵件里會顯得特別強硬。實話實說,這是為什麽我建議你打電話或者直接到老板辦公室去說。那樣你不但不用擔心你的語氣,還能更好地觀察你老板的反應,另外,這樣也不會留下會被轉發、誤解、存檔的書面記錄。

I guess that’s my best tip — if you’re worried about the tone being misunderstood, it’s best to have the conversation orally . Otherwise, trust yourself and the English language — word choice goes a long way towards, you know, communicating. For example, writing “Great news, team: we are done with the doc review.” doesn’t need any exclamation marks to get the point across.

我想這是我最好的建議——如果你擔心你的語氣會被誤解,最好就做口頭交流。或者,就相信你自己和英語這門語言——你知道,選詞對於交流來說關系重大。比如說,如果你寫“同誌們,大好消息:我們的文檔審查做好了。”這句話不需要任何的驚嘆號,也能夠正確傳達意思。