“Thank you in advance” is a pretty common sign-off, but it’s also one that can be loaded with mixed signals.
Is thanking someone in advance being pushy or presumptuous? Isn’t it nice to thank someone when you’ve asked them a favor? Will it make them more or less likely to comply?
These are some of the most common questions surrounding this phrase, and though the answers usually depend a lot on context, we’ve done our best to answer them so you can pen that next request and get what you want without being seen as rude.
Is It “Thank You in Advance” or “Thank You in Advanced”?
The correct phrase is “thank you in advance.” In this sense, “in advance” is an adverb. “Advanced” is an adjective, and therefore wouldn’t work with this phrase.
Is It Rude to Say “Thank You in Advance”?
“Thank you in advance” is a phrase whose tone depends much on the context. For example, let’s say that a coworker has just emailed you to ask if you could pick up her shift on Saturday, since it’s her birthday. She concludes her email with “thanks in advance.”
Depending on her tone and the context of the rest of her email, you might interpret her “thanks in advance” as being presumptuous. After all, she’s thanking you for something you haven’t yet agreed to.
However, if Kathleen is very apologetic and expresses gratitude for your eventual help, you might be more inclined to agree, and you might also interpret her “thanks in advance” as more of a “thanks for your consideration” rather than “I expect you to do this.”
If you want to avoid any potential misunderstandings, you can try a few alternatives to either express your gratitude in advance, or to make a (polite) call to action.
Alternatives to “Thank You in Advance”
A simple “thanks” can go a long way, since it expresses gratitude and appreciation, but with a less expectant tone than what “in advance” conveys. It’s also very casual, which helps remove any pressure.
2. I would really appreciate your help with…
Telling someone that you would appreciate your help, so you’re no longer thanking them in advance, which could potentially make them feel obliged to do the task since you’ve already thanked them.
3. Thanks for your time and consideration.
If you don’t want to thank someone “in advance” (in other words, for something they haven’t done yet), you can thank them for their time and/or consideration (which they’ve already given you just by reading or listening to your request).
4. Thanks for your time. I’m looking forward to hearing from you.
This one serves the same function as #3, but it’s a touch more assertive. Instead of implying that you expect others to do something, you’re politely telling them that you expect at least a response (which is pretty fair).
5. Use a direct call to action.
If you want to just cut to the chase, you can conclude with a direct call to action before signing off.
It will be clear that you expect the other person to do something, but any risk of being perceived as passive aggressive or presumptuous will be eliminated, since you’re bring direct about your request.
For example, you might conclude with: “Please call Becky in accounting regarding those outstanding expenses,” or “Please let me know if you’ll be able to bake your famous cookies for tomorrow’s staff party.”
Sometimes, the simple and direct approach is the best one. (Just make sure you say “please”!)
More of the Best Email Sign-Offs
For more effective ways to close an email (plus a few to avoid), check out our list of the best and worst email sign-offs.
You can also make sure you always start off on the right foot by studying some of the best email greetings.
What are your thoughts on ‘thank you in advance’? Let us know in the comments below!