How "EOM" Makes Email Smarter and Saves You Time

Clarity and Efficiency

Woman using a computer in her bedroom
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Clarity and efficiency are valued traits and much in-demand. You can bring them to your email with the three letters EOM, which stands for End of Message.  

Origins of "EOM"

Wherever, whenever and how ever messages are exchanged, it is useful to know whether the complete message has been transmitted. So, end-of-message indicators have a long history.

A relatively recent use of “EOM” specifically was the original ASCII scheme for encoding characters digitally in computers.

 Derived from morse code, ASCII included “EOM” as a control character. The morse code pressing for “end-of-message” is “di-dah-di-dah-dit”.

How "EOM" Makes Email Smarter and Saves Time

Using EOM to write short messages had many benefits:

  • The recipient saves time: they do not have to open your message in full, and they may adopt the habit of writing "EOM" subject-only email's themselves.
  • You save time: you do not have to repeat your message in the email's body, come up with an alternative way to say the same thing, add essentially unnecessary words or even salutations and sign-offs.
    Chances are, you will also receive a shorter email as a reply, or just "EOM" messages.
  • You write better Subjects: instead of relying on so many words in the body to do the lifting, you get your point and message across succinctly; that helps everybody.
  • You stick to one topic per email: this makes sorting and finding messages easier, and there is little chance of an important point getting lost.
  • Your message will be read: most recipients will at least read an email's subject.

Write Short Messages in the Subject Only

To indicate to the recipient of an email that the Subject line contains the full message and they need not open the message's body:

  • Put "(EOM)" (End Of Message) at the end of the Subject line, and keep your subject line to under 40 characters.

    How Using "EOM" in the Subject Can Waste Time and Irritate People

    Short messages using just the subject line are not without problems of which you should be aware, though:

    • Recipients may get confused: not knowing the meaning of "EOM", they might check the email's body—only to find it either empty or, worse perhaps, filled with but your email signature (in which, of course, you could routinely indicate that the blank space above it was fully intentional).
    • Recipients and you may lose time in the short term: recipients thus confused may write to you about the "empty" message, requiring you to not only repeat the original message but explain "EOM" as well (which, of course, should pay off later).
    • Some email services and programs may not treat the Subject as expected; it might be difficult for recipients to see the full subject line (if it exceeds a few words), or the entire subject may be hidden at first, so recipients end up with essentially an empty message. These problems are, overall, negligible.

    Alternatives to "EOM"

    You can also use "(SIM)" (Subject Is Message) or any other convention you coin, but EOM is by far the most commonly understood indicator.