10 Synonyms for “Unfortunately” in a Formal Email

Worried about saying “unfortunately” in a professional email? Or are you not sure how to write from another level of formality that contains some bad news.

Alright then, in this article I want to introduce you to a more natural way of saying “unfortunately” when required. There are several excellent options.

Is It Right to Say “Unfortunately”?

To say “unfortunately” is a professional way of putting it. It goes great in formal email when you need to pass bad news along to someone else.

There is nothing wrong with saying in a formal email, “ Unfortunately.” Sometimes negative language has value for email communication.

But don’t forget, “unfortunately” will indicate the bad news. One shouldn’t dress up something so that it sounds better just because you think the recipient will be happier seeing things this way.

Here the sample how to use “unfortunately”

Unfortunately, I am not able to lend my services for this work.

  • It’s an easy way to express negative things.
  • It is professional and direct to the point.
  • It’s quite negative.
  • It’s too common, so it is overused.

The word “ Unfortunately ” is a good way to begin an email when breaking bad news. But there are a few other synonyms you can use to break up the monot-on.

Continue reading this article to find out what one should say instead “ Unfortunately ” in an email. There are also examples you can look at.

An Alternative to “Unfortunately”

  • Regrettably
  • I must say
  • I’m afraid to say
  • It pains me to say
  • Sadly
  • We regret to inform you
  • Sorry to be the bearer of bad news
  • I’m sad to say
  • You should know
  • You need to hear it from me

1. Regrettably

Unfortunately is used a lot, but regrettably often stands in for it. It’s saying you have bad news to pass along and can do no better than this way of expressing the information

You don’t have to avoid negative words like “regrettably.” It is a very effective way of introducing a bad topic in an email.

For example, you can add it in when shutting projects down and writing emails to customers letting them know. It means you regret the decision, but there was nothing else to be done.

Here the sample email for review:

Dear Mr. James,

Regrettably, we are taking a different approach to complete this project.  We are sorry to tell you about this.

All the best,
Mr. Joe

2. I must say

If you want to know how to say “unfortunately” in a good way, you can use the words “I must say”.

It gets rid of all bad meanings from “unfortunately.” But, it still lets you tell someone not-so-good news when needed.

So, it works great when sending emails to coworkers. It’s a good method to close the distance when you need to share sad news and don’t want them to respond too negatively. The gentler your email, the better it will be understood.

We recommend you to see this Demo email:

Dear Amin,

I must say that this job has not worked out too good. I hope we can fix the issues together.

Winter Box

3. I’m Afraid

You can also say “I’m afraid” to share bad feelings with someone when giving them some sad news.

It’s a good substitute for “unfortunately” and is often used in many business emails.

You can use it when talking to customers. It’s a great way to show you are sorry for telling them about something bad. “I’m afraid” is a common phrase in helping customers. That’s why we suggest using it when you can do so.

See this sample as well:

Dear Hill,

I’m afraid that I don’t have better news for you. I’ve tried to find a good way to get in touch with you, but it won’t be fun.

All the best,

Jose Well

4. It pains me to say

Even though it seems a bit less proper, you can use “it pains me to say” in emails.

It tells that you have sad information to tell and don’t want to be the one who brings bad news.

Sometimes, you need to tell bad news. Maybe you’re close friends with someone, and they asked for your help to tell them some bad news. It makes the words a little less painful or hard to hear.

You can use it when sending emails to friends who want a job at your company. If your plan doesn’t work, your boss may want you to send an email and tell them about it. This way they won’t feel too disappointed by the unexpected news.

This Demo sample will also help you:

Dear Brave,

It pains me to say that we have already chosen a person to take over this job. I’m truly sorry for telling you this.

All the best,

James Fake

5. Sadly

In the business world, another way to say “unfortunately” is by using the word “sadly”.

It’s an easy word to use when you need to share bad news. You should use it to seem honest and friendly, even if you have to give sad news.

So, it works when sending emails to workers. They might want a better job or more money, but you may not be able to give it. Even though telling this news isn’t perfect, it is still needed. So, “sadly” is helpful to use in order to remove the pain from your words.

Check out the following demo email:

Dear Cream,

Sadly, I can’t give you the answer you want. Maybe you can come to the office on Monday so we talk about it.


Mr. Lemon

6. We Regret to Inform you

“We regret to inform you” is a great formal word used by many professional groups. Most people see this saying in business messages when letting someone know some bad news.

Usually, “We regret to inform you” works when sending emails to clients or customers. It shows that you are worried about their problem and want to say sorry with all your heart.

It’s often seen in customer service places to show that you don’t want to tell someone about bad news. Also, “we” means you are talking for a business instead of yourself.

Sometimes, it’s used when a person applying for something doesn’t get picked. It shows that you need to tell them something sad, and they probably won’t want it.

You will surely get better results with “we regret to inform you” in business situations rather than just using “unfortunate.” It feels realer for the person hearing it and shows they really are sorry about bad news.

Here two samples to see how to use it in an email:

Dear Wetson,

We regret to inform you that we had to choose someone else.

They were closer to what we wanted.

We hope you all the best,
Joe mark

Dear Mark,

We regret to inform you that could not solve your issue. 

Please take this discount coupon as an apology.

All the best,

7. Sorry to Be the Bearer of Bad News

We also suggest using an easier way to talk like “sorry to be the bearer of bad news.”

It works good for sending emails to job seekers who did not get picked for a position in your business.

Of course, because it’s quite like talking informally, this phrase works best in less formal business places. Before using a phrase like this in your emails, you must know the mood of your company.

It won’t work if your business cares more about being professional than anything else. But if you know it’s okay to use casual language, this is a good thing to say that makes things more fun.

Check this sample email:

Dear Adeel,

Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but your application did not work out. You can try again in some months. Don’t worry about it!

Kind regards,
Mr. Park Kill

8. I’m Sad to Say

Telling bad news in formal emails by sharing “sad” or “fearful” feelings is a good way to handle it.

We suggest using “I’m sorry to say” when telling someone about a hard or unpleasant topic.

For example, you can say “I’m sorry to say” when writing an email. This helps show that the information coming will not make your coworkers happy. But sometimes, we can’t prevent it.

Here demo email template for help:

Dear Harder,

I’m sorry to say that this is the only method we can finish our project. It’s sad that it does not work for you.

Kind regards,
Paul Radish

9. You Should Know

You might use “you should know” to tell someone something with confidence. It can be used for both good and bad news too.

In this situation, we will concentrate on the bad meanings.

“You should know,” lets you tell the person some bad news. It shows that you don’t have other ways to share it, so just do it with a sure and professional saying.

Usually, the words are most effective when sending emails to workers. It lets you handle a situation, but it still can’t stop them feeling bad about it.

Also, this demo email will help you:

Dear Sooster,

“You should know,” that we’ve tried doing all we can to deal with this problem. However, nothing has worked.

Best wishes,
James Wetson

10. You Need to Hear It From Me

If you’re friends with a coworker, sometimes it may be necessary to tell them when something bad happens. So, beginning an email with “you need to hear it from me” is a good way to change the word ‘unfortunately’ in this sentence.

Saying “You need to hear it from me” shows you care. It’s like saying the news will hurt less if I tell them instead of someone else.

It’s like when friends want to tell their other friends sad news. We usually feel better when someone we love tells us, rather than a stranger.

Here sample email if you still confused:

Dear Alaser,

You need to hear it from me, but the meeting did not go well. I’m really sorry, but they stopped your project.

All the best,
Baber Azam

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Hello! My name is Zeeshan. I am a Blogger with 3 years of Experience. I love to create informational Blogs for sharing helpful Knowledge. I try to write helpful content for the people which provide value.

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