At Your Earliest Convenience | Meaning & Alternatives

At your earliest convenience is a phrase typically used at the end of formal correspondence to ask the recipient to do something as soon as they reasonably can.

This phrase is polite and helps establish a professional tone. However, it may be perceived as formulaic and somewhat vague.

Below, we describe how to use this phrase and provide three useful alternatives to help vary how you end an email.

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How to use “at your earliest convenience”

At your earliest convenience is a phrase meaning “as soon as you can” or “at a time that works for you.” It’s typically used at the end of a formal email to ask the recipient to do something (e.g., respond) when it’s convenient for them to do so.

The phrase is appropriate for professional contexts. However, it’s somewhat vague and may not be useful in contexts where a task needs to be completed by a specific date or time.

Example: “At your earliest convenience” in a sentence
Dear Mrs. Jones,

We have reviewed your application with interest and would like to arrange an interview for next Monday at noon.

Please let us know whether this time suits you at your earliest convenience.

Kind regards,
Rosa Burke

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3 alternatives to “at your earliest convenience”

A good closing line should accurately indicate the urgency of your request and match the tone of your email.

1. Whenever you have time

Whenever you have time is a less formal alternative to “at your earliest convenience.” It’s best used in informal or semi-formal contexts to politely suggest a lack of urgency. However, it’s still somewhat vague, so it’s not suitable when you need to describe a specific deadline.

    Example: “Whenever you have time” in a sentence
    Hi Keith,

    I hope you’re doing well. I’ve just finished updating the quarterly report.

    Please read it whenever you have time and let me know what you think.


    2. As soon as possible

    As soon as possible is typically used in informal or semi-formal contexts to indicate a sense of urgency. Depending on the context, it may be perceived as somewhat pushy or impolite. But it’s fine to use when you need to convey a clear sense of urgency.

      Example: “As soon as possible” in a sentence
      Hi Amira,

      We’re arranging a team outing for next week and I’m trying to finalize the list. Please let me know as soon as possible if you are able to attend.

      Many thanks,

      The abbreviated form ASAP is sometimes used instead of “as soon as possible.” However, this is considered highly informal and should be avoided in professional contexts.

        Example: “ASAP” in a sentence
        Hey Tom,

        I’ve got an extra ticket to the football game this weekend. Are you interested in going?

        Let me know ASAP!


        3. A specific date/time

        When possible, mention a specific deadline for the task (e.g., “before 5 p.m. on Wednesday”). This helps to make your writing clearer and ensures the recipient will understand exactly what is expected of them.

          Example: Giving a specific date
          Dear Sir or Madam,

          We have not yet received the full deposit for your reservation.

          Please pay the outstanding amount on or before June 5.

          Sophia Lee

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          Frequently asked questions

          What does “earliest convenience” mean?

          “Earliest convenience” is part of the phrase at your earliest convenience, meaning “as soon as you can.” 

          It’s typically used to end an email in a formal context by asking the recipient to do something when it’s convenient for them to do so.

          What does “ASAP” mean?

          ASAP is an abbreviation of the phrase “as soon as possible.” 

          It’s typically used to indicate a sense of urgency in highly informal contexts (e.g., “Let me know ASAP if you need me to drive you to the airport”).

          “ASAP” should be avoided in more formal correspondence. Instead, use an alternative like at your earliest convenience.

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          Ryan, E. (2023, July 04). At Your Earliest Convenience | Meaning & Alternatives. Scribbr. Retrieved May 21, 2024, from

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          Eoghan Ryan

          Eoghan has a lot of experience with theses and dissertations at bachelor's, MA, and PhD level. He has taught university English courses, helping students to improve their research and writing.