Guide: How to Express “This is not Acceptable” in an Email

Welcome to our comprehensive guide on expressing that something is not acceptable in an email. Whether you need to address a professional matter or a casual situation, we’ve got you covered. This guide will provide you with tips, examples, and different ways to express disapproval, both formally and informally. So, let’s dive right in!

Formal Ways to Say “This is not Acceptable” in an Email

When communicating formally, it is crucial to use appropriate language and maintain a professional tone. Here are a few ways to express that something is not acceptable:

1. Directly Express Disapproval

If you want to be assertive and direct, you can use phrases such as:

This is not acceptable.

I am afraid that this falls short of our expectations.

I must express my strong disapproval of this.

We cannot proceed with this as it is.

2. Provide Clear Feedback

Instead of using negative statements, you can offer feedback indicating the problem and provide solutions, so it becomes a constructive conversation. For instance:

We need to address the issue with X. I suggest we consider Y as an alternative.

Could you please review and resolve the problem identified in X? Let’s discuss possible solutions.

It appears there was a misunderstanding regarding X. Let’s find a solution together.

3. Use Diplomatic Language

In some instances, it is important to use diplomatic language to soften the impact of your disapproval:

I appreciate your effort, but unfortunately, this does not meet our standards.

While I understand your point of view, I have concerns about X.

Regrettably, we cannot move forward with this proposal in its current form.

Informal Ways to Say “This is not Acceptable” in an Email

Informal emails allow for a more relaxed tone, although it’s still important to maintain a level of professionalism. Here are some casual ways to express that something is not acceptable:

1. Express Disapproval in a Friendly Manner

When addressing friends or colleagues you have a familiar relationship with, you can use friendly phrases like:

Hey [Name], I’m sorry, but this just won’t work for us.

Hey there, I’m afraid we can’t go ahead with this. Let’s brainstorm some alternatives.

Hi [Name], I’m not sure this is what we had in mind. Any chance we can discuss this further?

2. Offer Suggestions for Improvement

When communicating informally, you can provide suggestions and engage in a collaborative discussion:

Could we try approaching it from a different angle? Maybe we can consider doing X instead.

Let’s take a step back and explore other options together. How about Y?

It seems we’re not on the same page. Let’s come up with a solution that works for both of us.

Tips and Examples

Tone and Politeness

Regardless of formality, always maintain a polite and respectful tone in your email. This helps foster better communication and collaborative problem-solving.

Be Specific and Provide Details

Avoid vague statements and clearly outline why something is not acceptable. Provide specific examples or reasons to support your argument.

Offer Alternatives

Suggesting alternative solutions demonstrates your willingness to find a more acceptable outcome. This encourages the recipient to engage in finding a resolution.

Avoid Blaming

Instead of blaming the recipient directly, focus on the issue at hand. Use “I” statements to express your perspective without accusing the other person.

Request Input and Discussion

Encourage open communication by welcoming the recipient’s input and inviting a discussion to find a mutually acceptable solution.


Here are a few examples incorporating the tips mentioned above:

  1. Formal Example: Hello [Name], I regret to inform you that the latest draft of the report does not meet the required standards. We need to address the lack of supporting data and formatting issues. Could you please review it again and suggest improvements? Let’s discuss further during our next meeting.
  2. Informal Example: Hi [Name], I hope you’re well. I wanted to chat about the event planning. I’m afraid the venue you suggested isn’t quite what we had in mind due to size limitations. Let’s explore other options together. Any other ideas you’d like to propose?

Remember, tailoring your email to the specific situation and recipient is crucial for effective communication. Use the examples and tips provided as a guide while adapting them to fit your unique circumstances.


Expressing that something is not acceptable in an email requires careful consideration of the tone, formality, and specific details to effectively communicate your disapproval. Whether it’s a formal or informal email, maintaining a polite and respectful approach is key. Use the suggestions, examples, and tips provided in this guide as a foundation to craft your own email, and remember, open communication and a collaborative mindset can lead to finding acceptable solutions.

Good luck with your emails, and happy communicating!

Written by Cora Peggy

Hi there! I'm Cora, a language enthusiast and communication aficionado. When I'm not penning down comprehensive language guides or providing tips on expressing feelings, you can catch me learning new languages or exploring the diverse world of communication. Unraveling cultural contexts in every expression truly excites me. Along with my deep love for words, I hold an affinity for correspondences around the world, a good book and long walks in nature. My quest is to constantly enhance cross-cultural conversation while savoring a nice cup of tea.

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