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ServiceScape Incorporated
ServiceScape Incorporated

How To Use "CC" as a Verb: Is It "CC'd" or "CC'ed"?

In an era where digital communication reigns supreme, familiarizing ourselves with the language and etiquette of this medium has become essential. A commonly used term, especially in professional correspondence, is "CC." Understanding the correct usage of such terms is crucial in communication, particularly in professional environments. Just like any other language, the language of emails also requires a degree of proficiency. Misinterpretation or misuse could lead to confusion or miscommunication, which might potentially affect relationships or outcomes.

This blog post will delve into the specifics of "CC," focusing particularly on its transition from a noun to a verb, and the correct verb form - "CC'd" or "CC'ed". We will explore its origins, the transformation in its usage, common misconceptions, and provide tips for its effective use. By the end of this post, you will have a comprehensive understanding of "CC" and how to use it as a verb correctly in your professional and personal communications.

Origins and meaning of "CC"

The term "CC" stands for "Carbon Copy," a phrase whose origins date back to the days of typewriters and handwritten correspondence. In those times, a carbon copy was literally a duplicate document, letter, or note created by placing a sheet of carbon paper between the original paper and a second sheet, upon which the pressure of writing or typing would transfer ink.

The concept of a carbon copy was born out of a necessity for keeping identical records of written and typed documents. When a letter was written or typed onto the original document, the pressure would push the ink on the carbon paper onto the blank sheet beneath, creating an exact copy of the document. This process allowed for the simultaneous creation of an original document and a "carbon copy," a precise replica. This copy was usually meant for record-keeping or for sharing the same information with multiple parties.

With the advent of electronic mail or email, the physical act of making a carbon copy became obsolete. However, the need to keep multiple parties informed persisted, and so the term "CC" was adopted in email jargon. When you CC someone on an email, you're sending them a copy of your correspondence for their information. The act doesn't necessarily require a response from them. It's more about keeping the relevant individuals or groups updated on a subject or matter.

While the mode of communication has vastly changed, the function of "CC" remains true to its original purpose - to ensure that pertinent information is adequately disseminated to all relevant parties.

Using "CC" as a noun

The term "CC" as a noun usually refers to a person who is to receive a copy of an email that is primarily intended for another recipient. Here are some example sentences:

  • "Please send a CC to the manager for all your project-related emails."
  • "I always keep my assistant in the CC when discussing client details."
  • "To ensure transparency, we have added you to the CC of this email thread."

In these examples, "CC" signifies a person who receives a copy of the message.

In the context of emails, "CC" serves to keep people informed. When you "CC" someone on an email, you send them a copy of your correspondence. The recipients in the "CC" line are not the main addressees of the email, but they are kept in the loop for informational purposes.

This is particularly useful in professional settings where multiple people need to stay informed about certain discussions or decisions, but their direct input or action may not be necessary. Therefore, the use of "CC" can help maintain open lines of communication and transparency within teams and across different departments. However, it's also important to use it judiciously to avoid cluttering people's inboxes with unnecessary information.

Transition of "CC" to a verb

Language is a living, evolving entity. It adapts and grows with societal and technological changes, and English, with its global reach, has been particularly susceptible to such transformations. The transition of "CC" from a noun to a verb is a perfect example of this evolution.

With the widespread use of email, not only has "CC" been brought into modern parlance, but it has also morphed into a verb in the process. The action of sending a "carbon copy" to someone has now been verbalized, and it's common to hear phrases like "I'll CC you on that email." This change reflects the dynamic nature of language and how it adapts to new communication practices.

There are many situations where using "CC" as a verb is suitable, particularly in professional settings. Here are a few examples:

  • When you want to keep a colleague informed about a particular project or client: "I'll CC you on the email to the design team so you can stay updated."
  • When you're delegating tasks within a team: "John, please CC the rest of the team on your progress report."
  • When transparency is required on certain issues or topics: "To ensure everyone is on the same page, I've CC'd all department heads on the updated company policies."

Using "CC" as a verb helps simplify and streamline communication, making it a valuable tool in today's fast-paced, interconnected work environments.

Correct verb forms: "CC'd" or "CC'ed"?

In the English language, when we want to create the past tense of a regular verb, we typically add "-ed" at the end. However, when it comes to abbreviations like "CC," the rule bends a bit. The correct past tense of "CC" as a verb is "CC'd," not "CC'ed."

The reason for this is quite simple. In this case, "CC" is already an abbreviation – it stands for "carbon copy." When it's turned into a verb, it's following the rule of creating a past tense for words ending with a consonant, which is to add "'d".

It may seem counterintuitive to some because we're accustomed to adding "ed" to denote the past tense for most verbs. However, English is a language with numerous exceptions, and this is one of those cases. As explained above, the "'d" is added because "CC" is an abbreviation, and this practice aligns with the broader linguistic approach to creating past tenses for certain types of words in English.

Here are a few examples showing the use of "CC'd" in sentences:

  • "I have already CC'd you on the email about the meeting schedule."
  • "Could you make sure that John is CC'd on all correspondence related to the project?"
  • "She wasn't aware of the changes because she wasn't CC'd on the last email."

Using "CC'd" as shown above helps to convey that the action of including someone as a secondary recipient of the email has already taken place.

Common mistakes and misconceptions

As we delve deeper into the usage of "CC'd," it's essential to be aware of the common errors and misunderstandings surrounding this term. While the term "CC'd" has been widely adopted in professional and personal communication, there are still several common mistakes people often make.

  • Incorrect Form: Many people incorrectly write the past tense as "CC'ed," when it should be "CC'd".
  • Misuse in Context: Misusing "CC'd" in context is another frequent error. "CC'd" refers to copying someone on an email, not necessitating their immediate action or response. Misunderstanding this distinction can lead to improper use of the term.
  • Overuse: A prevalent mistake in professional settings is the overuse of the CC function. Despite its utility in sharing information, excessive use can contribute to email clutter, causing essential communications to be overlooked.

Misconceptions about the usage of "CC'd" can also lead to confusion or ineffective communication. Let's clarify some of these common misunderstandings.

  • CC'd does not require action: One widespread misconception is that being CC'd on an email automatically implies an action is required. In reality, "CC'd" means you're being kept informed, with no obligation for direct action.
  • CC'd is not the same as "reply all": Another common mix-up is conflating "CC'd" with "replying all." Although both involve multiple recipients, "reply all" responds to everyone involved in the email thread, while "CC'd" only includes them as a secondary recipient.
  • CC'd is not informal or rude: Some people perceive the act of CC'ing someone as informal or impolite. However, when used appropriately, it's a useful tool for maintaining transparency and inclusive communication within professional settings. It's misuse or overuse that can potentially lead to issues.

Tips for proper usage

Now that we've examined the origins, meaning, and common mistakes of "CC" and "CC'd," let's delve into some useful tips to ensure that you're using these terms effectively.

  • Know Your Audience: Consider who needs to be informed about the email's content. If they're integral to the conversation or need to take action, they should be in the "To" field, not just "CC'd."
  • Avoid Overuse: While it can be beneficial to keep people informed, overusing the "CC" feature can overwhelm recipients and clutter inboxes. Be discerning about who needs to be "CC'd" on each email.
  • Use for Transparency: If there's a need for transparency or a record of conversation within a team, "CC" can be an effective tool. You can "CC" relevant individuals to ensure everyone is on the same page.
  • Communicate Expectations: If you do "CC" someone, make it clear in the body of the email why they are being "CC'd." This helps set expectations and provides context for their inclusion.

Along with knowing when to use "CC'd", it's equally important to understand the etiquette that surrounds this common email feature. Here are some suggestions to guide you:

  • Respect Privacy: Be mindful of the recipient's privacy. Avoid "CC'ing" a large group of people who may not know each other, especially if their email addresses will be visible to all. Use the BCC (Blind Carbon Copy) function in this case.
  • Stay Relevant: Ensure the content of the email is relevant to all parties being "CC'd." You don't want to clog someone's inbox with information that isn't useful to them.
  • Avoid "Reply All" Unless Necessary: When you're "CC'd" on an email, avoid hitting "Reply All" unless your response is essential for everyone to see.
  • Be Cautious with Sensitive Information: If the email contains sensitive information, think twice before you "CC" someone. Make sure that all recipients are appropriate for the message you're sending.

By adhering to these suggestions, you can ensure your use of "CC" and "CC'd" maintains professional and considerate email communication.


As our modes of communication continue to evolve, so too does our language. The transition of "CC" from a noun to a verb is a perfect illustration of this progression. However, with new usage comes the need for clarity and understanding. This blog post has aimed to shed light on the proper use of "CC" and its verb form "CC'd," highlighting common mistakes and misconceptions and providing guidelines for effective use.

Remember, using "CC" and "CC'd" correctly can greatly enhance the clarity and efficiency of your email communication. But as with all tools, the key lies in understanding its purpose and applying it judiciously. Being mindful of the context, respecting privacy, and maintaining relevancy can go a long way in ensuring that your email communication is both professional and effective. So the next time you hit "send," take a moment to reflect on these tips - your recipients will thank you.

Header image by Fizkes.

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