As you communicate more in English, you will likely need to send a document, such as an invoice or resumé, to someone you are corresponding with. In this case, you may wonder whether it is correct to say, “please find attached.”
It is correct to use “please find attached” when you wish to draw attention to a letter or email attachment. “Please find attached” is an imperative clause we use in a formal or semi-formal work environment. However, you should use more casual alternatives when communicating with friends.
This article will explore the meaning and use of “please find attached,” including when and how to use it. We’ll also consider alternatives and examine how we use imperative clauses such as “please find attached” as minor sentences.
What Does “Please Find Attached” Mean?
“Please find attached” is an expression that tells the reader about a piece of information included with the cover note. We use this phrase to alert the reader to another item for review.
“Please find attached” is an imperative clause containing three words. The first is “please.” When used at the beginning of a sentence like this, please is an adverb we use to express a request politely (source).
The second word is “find.” This is the verb within the clause; in this context, it means to discover or recognize something that is present. In other contexts, “find” can mean discovering something by chance, but the way we use it here is simply to point out the existence of something.
The final word is the adjective “attached.” This word also has several definitions, but, in this context, it means “joined to” or “connected to” something (source). The table below illustrates the three standard definitions of “attached.”
|Joined, fastened, or connected to something||Please find attached the form you need to complete.|
My uncle’s house is attached to his factory.
|Full of fondness or affection||Jane is very attached to her brother’s children.|
She is too attached to her mom to go away to college.
|Working alongside or appointed to an organization||Jack’s unit was attached to the 1st Batallion.|
Diocesan schools are all attached to the church.
How Do You Use “Please Find Attached”?
You can use “please find attached” in written correspondence as a polite way to tell someone about the document or item that you have affixed to the note they are reading. Nowadays, we use “please find attached” primarily in email communication, but we could also use it in a physical letter.
As an imperative clause, “please find attached” is addressed to the reader. There is, therefore, no subject because the person receiving the letter or email is assumed to be the subject.
You will always use “please find attached” at the beginning of a sentence and follow it with a definition of whatever item is attached.
- Please find attached a bill for your recent stay.
- Please find attached the slides you requested.
- Please find attached a team photograph for use on the website.
When Can You Use “Please Find Attached”?
You can use “please find attached” any time you need to politely point out to your reader that a document or other item is attached to your correspondence. You will always use the phrase in the present tense.
It’s common to see “please find attached” in business communication, especially emails, where a piece of information is attached to the mail. This attachment could be a document, an audio or video clip, a spreadsheet, or an image – anything you can save as a separate file and attach to an email.
You could send your resumé to a prospective employer or send a client an invoice for a service you have completed. In cases like these, it is appropriate to say “please find attached” and list whatever you are attaching.
In What Context Can You Use “Please Find Attached”?
We always use “please find attached” in written communication. This would usually be in an email or similar electronic platform but could also be in a letter, where the attachment is a separate item.
You would most often use “please find attached” in business communication to point out that some document or other file is attached to your correspondence.
Sometimes, a reader may not realize that you have attached something to an email, so you need to alert readers about attachments, especially an attachment in a long email chain.
You may follow up a meeting with a colleague with an email like this:
Thank you for the meeting today. It was good to understand how our businesses can work together. Please find attached the article I referred to. It may give you further insight into our industry.
You can see that the tone is polite and business formal. If you sent an article to a friend you’d been discussing over lunch, you’d more likely say, “Here’s the article I was talking about,” or something similar.
When Not to Use “Please Find Attached”
You should not use the phrase “please find attached” if there is no item attached to your mail or letter. Also, if you are casually sending something to a friend, you would not use the formal construction “please find attached.”
You should also not use “attached” if you are writing a physical letter unless the document (or attachment) you are referring to is physically attached to the letter. You could clip or staple it.
If you did not literally affix the extra information to the letter, you would more likely use “please find enclosed,” which would tell the reader that there is another piece of information enclosed in the same envelope or file.
You also only use “please find attached” in written communication. You would never say, “please find attached” unless you were reading out a piece of correspondence.
Using “Please Find Attached” in a Full Sentence
As we already mentioned, “please find attached” is always used at the beginning of a sentence and is followed by what the item is that is attached. Consider some of the examples below.
- Please find attached copies of my passport and birth certificate.
- Please find attached the spreadsheet you will need for your presentation.
- Please find attached the audio recording from the trial.
- Please find attached a signed affidavit.
- I’ve completed the questionnaire. Please find it attached.
An imperative sentence always starts with the command or, if you are using “please” to soften it, it usually starts with “please.” We would typically only use “please” at the end of a sentence if we were speaking. It’s much less common in writing; therefore, the clause “please find attached” will always have “please” at the front.
What Can You Use Instead of “Please Find Attached”?
Because we send so many emails, we often overuse “please find attached.” As a result, you may consider some alternatives, especially if you want less formality.
Let’s consider the sentence, “Please find attached the spreadsheet you requested.” Here are some of the most prevalent alternatives.
- Please see attached the spreadsheet you requested.
- The spreadsheet you requested is attached to this mail.
- I’ve appended the spreadsheet you requested.
- I’ve attached the spreadsheet you requested.
- Attached is the spreadsheet you requested.
- Here is the spreadsheet you requested.
- I’m sharing the spreadsheet you requested.
- Take a look at the attached spreadsheet.
Note the varying degrees of formality in the examples above; context determines which style is the most appropriate to use.
The first is formal, which is appropriate when sending a spreadsheet to your boss. The last one is casual, so you’d probably use that with a friend or a colleague with whom you have a casual relationship.
Additionally, it is possible to attach a file to a letter or email and not specifically say it is attached. You may refer to the contents in the body of the cover note to make it evident that the reader needs to refer to an attachment.
We use imperative clauses, such as “please find attached,” when we need to ask others to do something. These can be requests, advice, commands, or instructions (source). They don’t require a subject because we direct them to the listener or reader and imply the pronoun “you.”
Imperative clauses always use the base form of the verb, which is the verb’s simplest form. In the case of “please find attached,” we use “find,” which is the base form of the verb “to find.”
Let’s consider some common examples of imperative clauses:
- Enjoy the show.
- Say a prayer for me.
- Stop jumping!
- Don’t sit on that sofa.
Imperative clauses are straightforward and can appear overly forthright. Because of this, we often insert polite word(s) before them, such as “please,” “kindly,” or “if you don’t mind.” If we were being less polite, we could just say, “find attached,” but it may sound too bossy.
Official notices and written requests often use please with the imperative. This makes the request or order seem more polite (source). For example, you may see a notice in a church that reads, “Please be quiet,” or a restaurant sign saying, “Please note that checks are not accepted.”
The typical construction of an imperative clause includes the verb with no subject. Sometimes, an imperative clause can consist of just the verb, as in “Stop!” or “Help!”
Occasionally, however, we need to emphasize the subject in the imperative. In these cases, we add a pronoun such as “you,” “everyone,” or “nobody,” as shown below:
- Nobody move!
- You stand there.
- Somebody call 911!
If we want to make an imperative sentence negative, we place “don’t” or “do not” in front of the verb, as shown below. “Do not” sounds very formal, so we’d only use it in specific contexts; most often, we’d use the contraction “don’t.”
- Don’t stop!
- Do not look behind the door.
- Don’t tease me.
If we want to include ourselves in the instruction, then we use “let’s” in front of the verb:
- Let’s go outside.
- Let’s eat lunch now.
- Let’s not take the bus today.
An imperative order or warning often has an exclamation point at the end. These include examples like “Stop!” or “Sit!” (especially where we direct the latter at a dog). An instruction or request, especially one starting with a polite word like “please,” won’t have an exclamation.
Imperatives as Minor Sentences
A minor sentence is a grammatically incomplete sentence that communicates a complete thought. Imperatives are a type of minor sentence in that they are missing a subject yet can stand independently.
By default, we imply imperative subjects by context. In the case of “please find attached,” the subject “you” is implied as whoever reads the statement.
“Please find attached” can stand as a minor sentence because it is an imperative statement. However, one should only do so if the attachment’s purpose is obvious. Otherwise, use “please find attached” as an imperative clause within a major sentence, as discussed throughout this article.
In English, there are five moods, and the imperative is one of these. The other four are indicative, interrogative, conditional, and subjunctive (source).
Here is a brief definition and example of each English mood:
|Imperative||Expresses a command or makes a request|
Call your brother today.
|Indicative||Expresses a fact|
She walks down the road.
|Interrogative||Asks a question|
Are you going to the party?
|Conditional||Expresses a conditional statement|
If I won the lottery, I would buy you a car.
|Subjunctive||Expresses a wish or doubt|
I wish it were Friday today!
This article was written for strategiesforparents.com.
You will come across the imperative clause “please find attached” regularly in English, especially if you use email communication for business purposes. It’s a polite way to direct someone’s attention to the file you have attached. Sometimes, you may even see it in written communication with a document stapled to the primary document.
We often use imperative clauses in English to give instructions or orders. When we use “please” at the beginning of these, we soften the tone and make it seem more polite. Ensure you don’t accidentally forget to include the attachment the next time you use “please find attached.”