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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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Frequently asked questions
- What does “earliest convenience” mean?
- 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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