You want to let your boss, a colleague, or a client know that they missed your call, but you don’t want to come across as aggressive or rude. Is the phrase I called you but you didn’t answer a suitable way to go about this?
If you’re not sure what to say when someone doesn’t answer the phone, this article is here to help! Below, we’ll discuss the appropriateness of the phrase I called you but you didn’t answer. Moreover, we’ll provide 10 alternative phrases that you can use when you want to sound more polite.
Is It Correct to Say “I Called You But You Didn’t Answer”?
It is technically correct to say I called you but you didn’t answer in English. However, this phrase is not the best one to use in your professional correspondence.
After all, the tone of this phrase is rather accusatory since you didn’t answer, implies the other person is to blame. Thus, you may want to avoid it so as not to sound impolite.
To see why you should avoid this phrase in the workplace, we’ve provided two email examples making use of it below:
Dear Mr. Swan,
I called you yesterday, but you didn’t answer.
Therefore, I will take this opportunity to let you know that your offer has been accepted by Ms. Grant.
Dear Miss Geller,
I intended to tell you this yesterday, but you didn’t answer when I called you last night.
Your tax information has been successfully updated.
As you can see, even though both emails contain good news, they come across as a tad aggressive. It sounds as if the sender is annoyed that the receiver didn’t answer their phone, which isn’t very fair. After all, we’re all very busy!
Therefore, it’s a good idea to use a more professional and polite phrase in your work correspondence to maintain a good rapport with others. Luckily, we’ve compiled a list of some great alternative phrases for you to use instead.
10 Alternative Ways to Say “I Called You But You Didn’t Answer”
You’ll find 10 of the most polite ways of saying I called you but you didn’t answer in the list below:
- I couldn’t reach you over the phone
- I believe you were out of the office when I called
- I tried calling but couldn’t get through
- My attempts to call you have been unsuccessful
- I couldn’t get a hold of you
- You must have been out when I called
- I tried calling you without success
- I tried your cell earlier but got sent to voicemail
- I left you a voicemail
- Per my voicemail
1. I Couldn’t Reach You Over the Phone
I couldn’t reach you over the phone is a more polite way to say I called you but you didn’t answer.
This is a great phrase to use in an email to your boss for two reasons. Firstly, if you are relaying important information, this phrase lets your employer know that you tried to contact them immediately.
Secondly, saying I couldn’t reach you over the phone doesn’t impose blame on them for not answering. Simply, a phone call didn’t work, so you are trying a different method. This makes you appear competent.
Finally, let’s see a sample email making use of this phrase:
Dear Ms. Wang,
As I couldn’t reach you over the phone, I have provided a memorandum with an update on the Tse file below.
2. I Believe You Were Out of the Office When I Called
A good formal phrase to use when your employer doesn’t answer the phone is I believe you were out of the office when I called.
Once again, this phrase imposes no blame on the other person for not answering the phone. It simply explains why they missed your call.
Dear Mr. Neeman,
I believe you were out of the office when I called this morning, so I have provided the address for this evening’s client meeting below.
3. I Tried Calling but Couldn’t Get Through
If one of your colleagues has missed your important call, you can send them an email stating I tried calling but couldn’t get through.
This phrase doesn’t state that they failed to answer your call. In fact, it implies that anything could have prevented the call from getting through, including network issues or an unprecedented act of God.
Therefore, it’s a safe way to let a coworker know that they missed your call without being offensive.
See the email example below:
I tried calling earlier but couldn’t get through to you.
I wanted to ask whether you were all set for the presentation this evening.
Let me know.
4. My Attempts to Call You Have Been Unsuccessful
If you’re unsure how to tell someone you’ve called them in a work scenario, my attempts to call you have been unsuccessful is a great formal phrase to use. This is especially the case when speaking to a client.
Firstly, this phrase lets the client know that you have made an effort to contact them. Therefore, any failure to get your message across was out of your hands.
Secondly, it doesn’t mention whether they have failed to answer your calls. Thus, it is very neutral and unimposing.
To see what we mean, consider the following email sample:
Dear Miss Coil,
I have the results of your test, but my attempts to call you have been unsuccessful.
Please contact me using the number below at your earliest convenience.
Dr. Colleen Rice
5. I Couldn’t Get Ahold of You
I couldn’t get ahold of you is a more informal expression. Nonetheless, you can use it in an email to a colleague if you have a close relationship.
After all, if you work in a smaller office or simply have a friendly culture at your job, it may be better to get to the point with a straightforward phrase like this one. Moreover, it is still polite and doesn’t blame your peer for not answering.
Let’s see an email example that includes this phrase:
I tried to update you on Mr. Brown’s estate over the phone yesterday, but I couldn’t get ahold of you.
Could you call me when you get the chance?
6. You Must Have Been Out When I Called
You must have been out when I called is a better option than I called you but you didn’t answer. However, you should use this phrase with caution since it can come across as passive-aggressive.
On the one hand, this phrase makes an excuse for the other person’s failure to answer and essentially gives them the benefit of the doubt. On the other hand, if the tone of the rest of the email is not clearly polite and well-meaning, this phrase may read as snarky.
So, let’s see an example of how to use this alternative politely:
You must have been out when I called yesterday, but it’s not a worry!
I just wanted to wish you a splendid festive season and tell you it’s been a pleasure to work with you this year.
7. I Tried Calling You Without Success
I tried to call without success is phrased in such a way that it sounds like it was a failure on your part that your call was not answered.
Therefore, you can use this phrase when you want to let a client know that you tried to call them without blaming them for their failure to answer.
Check out this email sample:
Dear Ms. Garcia,
I tried calling you without success this morning, but your bank transfer has officially gone through. Thus, the funds should reflect in your UK account this afternoon.
All the best,
8. I Tried Your Cell Earlier but Got Sent to Voicemail
If you have a casual dynamic with your coworkers, there may be no need for formal phrasing in your email exchanges.
Therefore, you can tell a coworker I tried your cell earlier but got sent to voicemail to let them know that they missed a call from you on their mobile device. This phrase is informal, but it still manages to sound professional enough to use in a work context.
I tried your cell earlier but got sent to voicemail.
Could you give me a ring when you’ve got a moment?
9. I Left You a Voicemail
If a client has missed a call from you, it never hurts to pop them an email to let them know that you left them a voicemail.
This ensures that they know to listen to your message. Moreover, it does away with the need to repeat yourself over text. Convenient for everyone!
Let’s see this phrase in an email sample:
Dear Miss Griffiths,
I left you a voicemail regarding your inquiry.
If you have any further questions, please don’t hesitate to call me back or reply to this email.
10. Per My Voicemail
Perhaps you just want to be sure that your client gets your message. If that’s the case, you can go ahead and repeat your voice message in an email using per my voicemail.
This phrase is suitably formal to use in an email to a customer. Additionally, it might be necessary to use per my voicemail if the information you are imparting is very important and worth reiterating in the text.
Have a look at the following example:
Dear Mr. Ryan,
Per my voicemail, your contract comes to an end on the 15th of July.
To extend your contract, please contact me or my assistant using the number below.