You want to ask a question or make a request without sounding brusque in your email. But is the phrase I was wondering suitable to include in professional correspondence?
We’ll discuss the correctness of this phrase below.
In addition, we’ll show you how to say I was wondering professionally using 10 distinct alternatives.
Is It Correct to Say “I Was Wondering”?
The phrase I was wondering is perfectly correct and you can generally use it to sound more tentative when you are making a request in an email.
This phrase is not suitable for a formal email, as it is better to be direct in those circumstances. However, it is appropriate if you are reaching out to your colleagues at work.
In fact, it comes across as fairly polite and can certainly be used in professional settings.
Below, we’ve drafted two email samples illustrating how you can use this phrase at work:
I was wondering if you had time to meet this afternoon to discuss the Osborne case.
Let me know when would suit you.
All the best,
I was wondering whether I should report this matter.
Do you have any advice?
Next, let’s discuss how best to punctuate a sentence that includes the phrase I was wondering:
Punctuation: Should you include a question mark?
- Correct: I was wondering when you planned on arriving.
- Correct: I was wondering, is this a formal event?
Essentially, you can add a question mark to your sentence when the phrase I was wondering is being used to introduce a question, like in the second example above.
Generally, you would place a comma between the phrase and the auxiliary verb (is, could, might, was) at the start of your question.
So, we know that the phrase I was wondering is correct. However, it may not suit more formal emails going out to clients or members of other companies. In addition, it is fairly standardized.
Therefore, you can use our list of synonyms to zest up your phrasing or come across more formally in your work correspondence.
10 Alternative Ways to Say “I Was Wondering”
Below, you’ll find 10 other ways to say I was wondering in a professional setting:
- Out of curiosity
- Would it be possible?
- I’d like to know
- Would you mind?
- I’ve been meaning to ask
- Would you please?
- Would you be willing?
- Is there any possibility?
- Do you think
- I would appreciate
1. Out of Curiosity
Frequently, people use the phrase I was wondering so that their question comes across as less abrupt in an email. The phrase out of curiosity has a similar effect.
Essentially, this phrase acts as a buffer and makes the overall tone of your email more tentative and polite.
In addition, you can use this phrase to let the receiver know that your question isn’t pressing. It’s just something you’re curious about!
This phrase is neither particularly formal nor informal. Therefore, you can use it when speaking to a colleague, whatever the nature of your relationship.
Have a look at the following email example:
Out of curiosity, was Rowan present at the event last night?
2. Would It Be Possible?
You can use the phrase would it be possible when you are requesting something from your employer.
After all, when you are speaking to a superior, it’s good practice to be cautious and unassuming when making requests to show that you respect their time.
In short, when using this phrase, you will be asking whether they are able to assist you rather than asking them to assist you directly.
To see what we mean, check out the following example:
Would it be possible to forward your communications with Mr. Whitaker?
3. I’d Like to Know
Another way to say I was wondering in an email is I’d like to know.
This phrase is a tad more exacting than the others on our list. After all, it sets out plainly what information you want without adding a buffer.
Therefore, this phrase is suitable if you are a senior member of your team speaking to an employee.
Although you should keep your emails polite, it’s okay to be a bit more to the point when you are instructing a junior member of your workforce.
I’d like to know the names of each of the clients you interviewed this morning for my records.
4. Would You Mind?
The phrase would you mind also acts as a buffer when you are requesting certain actions or information from a client.
In a corporate or business environment, you tend to avoid inconveniencing clients whenever possible.
Therefore, it’s always good to ask whether they would mind assisting you rather than demanding that they provide the information you need (even though you usually request it for their benefit!)
See how we’ve used this phrase in a sample email:
Dear Mr. Coel,
Would you mind providing a recent pay slip so that I can confirm your tax information?
5. I’ve Been Meaning to Ask
Saying I’ve been meaning to ask implies that you have been wondering about something for some time.
Therefore, this is a good casual synonym for I was wondering that you can use in an email to a colleague you are close to.
Despite its conversational tone, this phrase is by no means unprofessional. However, you’ll want to use a more formal alternative if you’re speaking to your employer or a client.
Nevertheless, let’s see an email example with this phrase in tow:
I’ve been meaning to ask whether you had access to the online portal.
If so, could you provide the login details?
All the best,
6. Would You Please?
You can say would you please when instructing an employee to take some action.
The inclusion of “please” keeps this phrase suitably polite for a professional email. In addition, the phrase is a clear request rather than a demand.
In short, would you please is the best way to make a request to someone at work, regardless of your respective roles or positions.
Therefore, let’s see it in an example:
Would you please draft a letter to Miss Kasumba’s creditors to announce the company’s impending liquidation?
7. Would You Be Willing?
Another professional way to say I was wondering is would you be willing?
Once again, this phrase allows you to make a tentative request to the receiver.
Rather than asking for their assistance directly, you ask whether they would be open to providing said assistance.
You can use this phrase when speaking to a colleague you don’t know very well, perhaps because they work in a different department.
As this phrase is rather polite and considerate, it’s a good option when you want to create a good rapport with the other person.
Consider the email sample below:
Would you be willing to accompany me on an errand this afternoon?
I could use a spare pair of hands!
8. Is There Any Possibility?
You can use is there any possibility in two circumstances.
Firstly, you can use it to ask the other person’s opinion about a particular situation. Secondly, you can use it to tentatively make a request.
This phrase is polite but may come across as a bit too timid for an email to a client or superior.
However, you can use it when reaching out to a coworker you don’t know very well, as it’s a safe option if you want to maintain a good rapport with the receiver.
Is there any possibility of a merger in the near future?
9. Do You Think?
A different way to say I was wondering is do you think?
Although this phrase directs a question at the receiver, it is clear that the question you are asking is something you, yourself, have been pondering.
Therefore, you can use this phrase to hear the other person’s opinion or to check whether they agree with your assessment of a situation.
This phrase comes across as rather conversational. Therefore, you should only use it when speaking to a coworker with whom you have an established and friendly rapport.
See the email example below:
Do you think the recent elections will have an impact on the exchange rate?
If so, it might be worth keeping an eye on.
10. I Would Appreciate
You can say I would appreciate to preemptively show your gratitude when requesting something from another person at work.
This phrase comes across as polite and unassuming. Therefore, it’s a safe option when you are requesting help from a colleague you aren’t particularly close to.
Have a look at how we’ve used this alternative in our final email sample:
I would appreciate some help with the Sheen file if you have a moment this afternoon.