Do the needful

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"Do the needful" is an expression which means "do that which is needed", with the respectful implication that the other party is trusted to understand what needs doing without being given detailed instruction. The phrase is common in Indian English as well as in many African countries such as Kenya where it is commonly found in formal business correspondence. There has been recent[when?] interest in the phrase especially in the context of globalized Call Centers.

The expression is currently used mainly in Indian English,[1] although some parody references in English literature exist imitating South Asian English (India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka). The phrase is used extensively in the Indian banking industry, especially in client correspondence via electronic mail and telephone conversations. A typical example of its use in an electronic mail is as follows:

Sir/Ma'am (choose appropriately as per required)

Will do the needful.

Regards, [Insert name here] [Insert banking institution here]

In response to a typical email, from the client, such as:

Hi, pl transfer Rs 43 lakh to XXXX mutual fund. Rdgs [Insert name here]

There is much controversy regarding usage of the phrase, and linguistic experts[who?] suggest the phrase has been used incorrectly ever since Indian independence was achieved from the British.


  1. ^ Daniel DMello (13 June 2011). "How to fix grammatically insane phrases found in common Indian English". Retrieved 22 April 2014.