Learn English – Is “set me up” too informal?


I am ESL and am not really comfortable creating formal emails. Right now I am trying to formulate a thank you email to the operations manager for taking time to set me up with everything needed for a smooth transition.

Is "Thank you for taking time to set me up …" a good formal approach?

Best Answer

IMO arrange is too formal and impersonal of a word here. Might I suggest:

"Thank you for everything you have done to help me with this transition. I genuinely appreciate your efforts."

While "set up" is a valid phrasal verb, phrasal verbs were considered vulgar until at least the 80s, and I agree with your instinct that "set me up" is not appropriate, more so because "to set someone up" is not historically the same as "to set things up for someone", which is actually what you mean to say.

To a purist, "set me up" sounds, at best, like a slang usage for ordering a whisky at a bar or, at worst, like a addict talking to his dealer. If your curious, you should consider that "Someone set me up!" or its passive equivalent "I've been set up!" are both phrases typically associated with an accused criminal being taken into police custody (American television). I would guess that the slang usage of "Set me up" is only possible because no one would logically ask another person to frame him or her for a crime.

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