Everything you say or write in an email can, may and will be held against you at some point, maybe not in the court of Law but you will be held accountable for your choice of words. Before you hit send, read over what you have just typed and make sure you are perfectly satisfied with what you are about to send.

The big problem though is that your emails might be rude and you may not know it. Sometimes it may convey the right message but the receiver could read a different meaning into it. A reply to your emails can possibly help you know if your message was interpreted exactly as you wanted.

Wall Street Journal article on enigmatic email tells the story of a consultant who sent a detailed project plan to her client by email and received only a one-word response: “Noted.”

She feared he was angry or disappointed, when in fact, he was thrilled to be able to clear the issue from his inbox with so little effort.

Email replies like “Great!” or “Sounds good”—or no answer at all can result in confusion and frustration. You have probably experienced this sometime in the past or may get a response like that in the near future.

Overall, your choice of words add up to the tone of your communications. And when you consistently choose negative words and phrases, your emails will sound terse, condescending, or angry.

These words you’ll want to avoid in your email correspondence (they have a strong negative connotation). 

Like cannot, damage, do not, error, fail, impossible, little value, loss, mistake, not, problem, refuse, stop, unable to, unfortunately, escalation, urgent, never and inability, stupid, dumb, huge mistake, big mistake, trouble, big trouble, serious trouble, highly sensitive, very sensitive and highly confidential.

This is not definite list but the point is that your words should not convey a message it was not intended.

Strive to be positive!

An easy way to fall into the negativity trap is to start listing out things people shouldn’t do. Instead of telling others what not to do, try telling them what they should do instead.

In a popular email etiquette article on LinkedIn, Adam Grant writes:

Don’t ask strangers to

Provide feedback on something you’ve created

If you’re seeking input on a product, service, technology, document, or idea, it’s an awful lot to ask a stranger to engage with your work and comment on it. Whereas feedback requires a lot of effort, advice can be much less time-consuming. Try asking for guidance on a specific question or dilemma that you’re facing, and you’ll be more likely to get a response.”

Experts agree that your e-mail behavior has the potential to sabotage your reputation both personally and professionally.

Don’t “e-mail angry.” E-mailing with bad news, firing a client or vendor, expressing anger, reprimanding someone, disparaging other people in e-mails (particularly if you’re saying something less than kind about your boss) are all major no-no’s.

Because e-mail can seem so informal, many people fall into this trap. Always remember that e-mail correspondence lasts forever. —Lindsey Pollak, career and workplace expert, e-mail etiquette consultant, and author of Getting From College to Career.

Most people now receive way too many emails. And It’s possible that you just don’t realize when you’re being rude. You may be responding to email when you’re tired at the end of the day, half awake in the middle of the night, or still rubbing the sleep out of your eyes when you wake up.

Whatever be the case, the emails you write should always be ones that you take the time to study before you push that fatal send key. Obviously, some are fine to write quickly and on the fly.  “Meet you at 4” requires little deliberation (though make sure you didn’t write “5” instead).

The moral of the story is simple: Never write an email that you would be ashamed to see printed out on paper.  Keep your emails civil, respectful, and carefully composed, and your online communications will serve you well.