Jargon Busting No. 21 – CC and BCC


Whilst many people use email most people don’t know all of it’s functions and exactly what they mean.  Knowing how to properly use email can help you look like you know what you are doing.  One of the things I get asked about regularly is CC and BCC.

CC, is courtesy copy or carbon copy. When you send someone an email you can CC one or more other people in on the email. (The CC is usually found below the TO line when writing an email).  For those receiving the CC of an email, the email is for their information only. You are not expecting them to act on or reply to the email. This also means that if you are CC’ed on an email it is likely that the sender is not expecting a reply.

However having said all of this it is always better to ask if you aren’t sure what someone wants. You never look like an idiot double checking something but you can look like an idiot if you don’t.

BCC = Blind courtesy copy or carbon copy. When you BCC someone in on an email the person receiving the email will not know that other people has also received the email. This can be useful if you do not want the receiver of the email to know other people have also received this email. BCC is often used when the content of the email is sensitive.

When I first started working in an office, my manager at the time insisted that I BCC her on all my emails. Her arguement was that as I was new to the office environment she wanted to help me develop my professional writing style. I think the reality was she wanted to make sure I didn’t say anything stupid and if I did she could step in quickly to fix it. I’m pleased to say that I don’t think she ever needed to step in.

2 thoughts on “Jargon Busting No. 21 – CC and BCC

  1. BCC is also a vital tool for anyone who values privacy and/or is sending out an email to a huge list of people. When you put a person’s email address in the CC field, they not only get a courtesy copy of the email, but everyone else who gets that email has access to that person’s private email address. Are you sure they’re ok with you sharing their email address with complete strangers? Also, if you’re sending the email out to a lot of people, then the recipients may have to scroll through a long list of emails before they can read your message. If you use BCC instead of CC, then you’re respecting people’s privacy by not sharing their email address with anyone else, and you’re putting your message at the top of the email instead of below a massive email list. The end result is that everyone gets a copy of your message but not one is annoyed with you for sharing their email address or making them scroll through an email list!

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