For your information / FYI [polite?]

singsing

Senior Member
Korean
Hello,

I'm just wondering if the use of "FYI or For your information" is considered informal or possibly impolite if you're talking to your boss /teachers/ professors..?

Or is it perfectly okay? (I'm asking about that specific phrase itself, not what will be said following that:)).

Thank you!
 
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  • roxcyn

    Senior Member
    USA
    American English [AmE]
    It depends on context and your tone. I've heard people use it politely, and I've heard other times where it was rude.

    To be safe, you could use another phrase, or keep your tone when you're talking to a superior :).

    RoxCyn
     
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    e2efour

    Senior Member
    UK English
    I think it would be easier to comment if you gave us some context and an actual sentence you want to say.

    I don't think we pronounce it as FYI, but no doubt someone will tell me otherwise!
     

    Copyright

    Senior Member
    American English
    Well, "FYI, this is the suckiest class I've ever, like, had" is possibly going to be perceived as impolite. :)

    Both of those are certainly informal -- FYI is too slangy to be used in your situation, and For your information is much too pushy and can often sound arrogant. Avoid them both.

    Edit: I see that e2four has rightly asked for context, but I would still suggest you never use them for a boss, teacher or professor. It doesn't really matter what you intend -- what matters is what is heard, and that's something you have no control over. (Considering your capitalization, I'm assuming you plan on starting a sentence with these.)
     

    singsing

    Senior Member
    Korean
    Thank you, roxcyn & e2efour. :)
    It would be used to inform your boss of something that is not directly related to the conversation at hand, but may be useful for your boss to know.
    Then, would it be fine to say "For your information" ?
     

    singsing

    Senior Member
    Korean
    Well, "FYI, this is the suckiest class I've ever, like, had" is possibly going to be perceived as impolite. :)

    Both of those are certainly informal -- FYI is too slangy to be used in your situation, and For your information is much too pushy and can often sound arrogant. Avoid them both.

    Edit: I see that e2four has rightly asked for context, but I would still suggest you never use them for a boss, teacher or professor. It doesn't really matter what you intend -- what matters is what is heard, and that's something you have no control over.
    Thank you! That's what I was concerned about.
    Then, is there anything that can replace "for your information" or "just so you know" in the situation that I described in my second post? :eek:
    And you're right about your assumption :)
     

    roxcyn

    Senior Member
    USA
    American English [AmE]
    Well, I've told me supervisor before, "FYI (you say the letter F, Y, I) we're out of paper. Could you give me more paper?" You can say "For your information", "Just to let you know" or a similar phrase will work :).

    RoxCyn
     

    Copyright

    Senior Member
    American English
    It would be used to inform your boss of something that is not directy related to the conversation at hand, but may be useful for your boss to know.
    Then, would it be fine to say "For your information" ?
    I would never open a sentence that way, unless I were just using "FYI" humorously with someone I knew well. You could, however, soften it by saying, "This is just for your information. (It's some material I found yesterday.)"

    Normally, when I say, "This is just for your information," I mean that I don't expect them to take any action and often I will make that clear: This is just for your information. There's no need to do anything.
     

    e2efour

    Senior Member
    UK English
    Thank you! That's what I was concerned about.
    Then, is there anything that can replace "for your information" or "just so you know" in the situation that I described in my second post? :eek:
    And you're right about your assumption :)
    You could say I just thought you'd like to know that ..... or You might be interested to know that.... This is much safer than using a phrase like For your information, which sounds rather impersonal as well as condescending.
     

    singsing

    Senior Member
    Korean
    Well, I've told me supervisor before, "FYI (you say the letter F, Y, I) we're out of paper. Could you give me more paper?" You can say "For your information", "Just to let you know" or a similar phrase will work :).

    RoxCyn
    Thank you very much! :)
     

    singsing

    Senior Member
    Korean
    I would never open a sentence that way, unless I were just using "FYI" humorously with someone I knew well. You could, however, soften it by saying, "This is just for your information. (It's some material I found yesterday.)"

    Normally, when I say, "This is just for your information," I mean that I don't expect them to take any action and often I will make that clear: This is just for your information. There's no need to do anything.
    I will use that. Thank you very much! :) I'm so glad I asked.
     

    singsing

    Senior Member
    Korean
    You could say I just thought you'd like to know that ..... or You might be interested to know that.... This is much safer than using a phrase like For your information, which sounds rather impersonal as well as condescending.
    Yes, I was worried about the condescending part as you said.
    Your suggestions are very helpful. I'll use them as well. Thank you so much! :)
     

    Copyright

    Senior Member
    American English
    Well, I've told me supervisor before, "FYI (you say the letter F, Y, I) we're out of paper. Could you give me more paper?"
    This is exactly when I wouldn't use it. FYI is simply informing someone and not caring about any action. So it makes sense to say, "FYI, we're out of paper" when it's that person's job to take care of the paper -- you're just transmitting information.

    But if you're the person wanting the paper, it's no longer informational -- you want action. It would sound more logical to me to say, "We're out of paper. Could you give me some more?"

    But I'm not on a soapbox about the difference. Say what you like to your boss. :)
     
    I think it depends on context, the nature of your relationship with your boss, and the formality of the situation. "FYI" is certainly informal, but "for your information" can have a place in formal communication as well. The full phrase, written out, sounds a bit cold and abrupt unless placed in a larger context where a more polite meaning is clear. That polite meaning can be something like "I don't expect you to do anything about this, but I thought you should know."

    For what it's worth, I use "FYI" in e-mails to my boss all the time. I use it to convey exactly that meaning: I'm telling him something that I think he should know or would be interested in learning but that he doesn't have to take action on.
     

    singsing

    Senior Member
    Korean
    I think it depends on context, the nature of your relationship with your boss, and the formality of the situation. "FYI" is certainly informal, but "for your information" can have a place in formal communication as well. The full phrase, written out, sounds a bit cold and abrupt unless placed in a larger context where a more polite meaning is clear. That polite meaning can be something like "I don't expect you to do anything about this, but I thought you should know."

    For what it's worth, I use "FYI" in e-mails to my boss all the time. I use it to convey exactly that meaning: I'm telling him something that I think he should know or would be interested in learning but that he doesn't have to take action on.
    It is very helpful to know. Thank you very much. :)
     

    roxcyn

    Senior Member
    USA
    American English [AmE]
    Yes, it can be condescending, and it's informal. Typically it's used for informational purposes only. You are giving information to the person. Perhaps my example wasn't the best, but here is a brief definition that I think will be helpful to you:

    "FYI is commonly used in e-mail, instant messaging or memo messages, typically in the message subject, to flag the message as an informational message, with the intent to communicate to the receiver that he/she may be interested in the topic, but is not required to perform any action." Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/FYI

    Here is another definition:
    http://www.businessdictionary.com/definition/for-your-information-FYI.html

    I hope it helps you better understand. :)

    Roxcyn
     

    Siavash2015

    Senior Member
    Iranian-Persian
    Hi,
    I have a question about the meaning of " for your information" but I decided to post it here.

    I read the posts but I couldn't understand what it means. What's the roll and meaning of it in a sentence?

    Someone jokes about his friend's job and by means of prize, encourages and dares her to play jokes on her boss
    But she replies:
    For your information, my boss is going to give me promotion and I'm not going to jeopardize it by doing that stupid thing.

    Many thanks in advance.
     

    suzi br

    Senior Member
    English / England
    In that case it just mean "I am telling you something".
    In the example sentence you quote the meaning is clear enough without it. This is often the case, which is why it often sounds condescending. It is hard to put it into writing,the difference, but say this sentence:

    "For your information, there is no train on Sunday."

    You can say this really politely, to someone who was planning a trip in an unfamiliar territory, who might need to change their plans because of this genuine information. Equally the same phrase could be said with all the emphasis on the word "your" and mean "you are a dick who thinks they know everything but you missed this vital snippet about the trains this Sunday."

    It is hard to know what is intended in writing, but in speech the difference is all in the tone of the speaker. This is why, especially in writing, we tend to be more tenative and hedge about to suggest politeness: see the answers at #8 and 9.
     

    Siavash2015

    Senior Member
    Iranian-Persian
    In that case it just mean "I am telling you something".
    In the example sentence you quote the meaning is clear enough without it. This is often the case, which is why it often sounds condescending. It is hard to put it into writing,the difference, but say this sentence:

    "For your information, there is no train on Sunday."

    You can say this really politely, to someone who was planning a trip in an unfamiliar territory, who might need to change their plans because of this genuine information. Equally the same phrase could be said with all the emphasis on the word "your" and mean "you are a dick who thinks they know everything but you missed this vital snippet about the trains this Sunday."

    It is hard to know what is intended in writing, but in speech the difference is all in the tone of the speaker. This is why, especially in writing, we tend to be more tenative and hedge about to suggest politeness: see the answers at #8 and 9.
    Hi suzi br,
    Thank you very much for your nice explanation !
    I should be careful about it's use.

    For your information, there is no train on Sunday."

    You can say this really politely, to someone who was planning a trip in an unfamiliar territory, who might need to change their plans because of this genuine information.
    So, you mean I can use it politely with a gentle tone and there's no problem?

    Equally the same phrase could be said with all the emphasis on the word "your" and mean "you are a dick who thinks they know everything but you missed this vital snippet about the trains this Sunday."
    You mean, if I emphasize on " your" the sense is condescending?
     

    suzi br

    Senior Member
    English / England
    Well maybe you can use it, but you do need to be cautious around it. Certainly, adding in a few more politeness markers will help.

    It is very hard to explain how people actually say it to sound sneery / condescending, but I suspect it is used more that way than in polite way, so the safest thing is to avoid it unless you are very sure that the person you talk to will find it OK. The other answers in this thread cover that quite well, really.
     

    Keith Bradford

    Senior Member
    English (Midlands UK)
    ...
    It is very hard to explain how people actually say it to sound sneery / condescending, but I suspect it is used more that way than in polite way, so the safest thing is to avoid it ...
    I agree entirely. "For your information" as an introduction to a sentence is, in my experience, only used by sarcastic teenagers in arguments which finish "So there!" :eek:

    However, as part of a longer sentence (e.g. Dear Sir, I am sending the enclosed documents for your information...) it's fine. Only abbreviate to FYI in a very short routine note or e-mail among colleagues.
     

    suzi br

    Senior Member
    English / England
    Yes, indeed, I noticed that when I was trying to think of examples I found myself adding "so there" in my head! :D
     
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