Although emails are often seen as less formal than printed business letters, in the business world you cannot afford to let your language appear to be informal. Email may be faster and more efficient, but your client or business partner will not easily forgive correspondence that is too casual. Not to fear! Read on to discover simple secrets that will add a high level of professionalism to your English emails.
Informal vs. Formal
• Written to friends and family
• Accuracy and grammar (spelling and punctuation) are not important
• You can make up your own rules
I miss you so much! Can’t wait to see you on Friday!! We haven’t hung out in so long! I miss my bestie! Maybe we can go to the movies or dinner or just chill and watch TV and catch up…idc, whichever you want.
• Written to a professor, colleague, boss, etc.
• Must always be professional
• Accurate grammar, punctuation, and spelling necessary
Dear Professor Johnson,
I was unable to attend class today due to a doctor’s appointment. When you have a moment, could please let me know what I missed and what homework I need to have completed for
The salutation of a formal email is similar to the salutation of a letter. It’s important to always open your email with a greeting, such as “Dear Lillian.” Depending on the formality of your relationship, you may want to use their family name as opposed to their given name, i.e. “Dear Mrs. Price.” “When applying for a job, you would address the person by, “Dear Hiring Manager.” If you do know the recipient’s name, you put “Dear Mr./Ms. Smith.” ” When writing to someone you do not know by name, you put “To Whom it May Concern”.
If the relationship is more casual, you can simply say, “Hi Kelly“
Thank the recipient
If you are replying to a client’s inquiry, you should begin with a line of thanks.
For example, if someone has a question about your company, you can say, “Thank you for contacting ABC Company.”
If someone has replied to one of your emails, be sure to say, “Thank you for your prompt reply.” or “Thanks for getting back to me.”
State your purpose
If, however, you are initiating the email communication, it may be impossible to include a line of thanks. Instead, begin by stating your purpose.
“I am writing to enquire about …” or “I am writing in reference to …”
It’s important to make your purpose clear early on in the email, and then move into the main text of your email. Remember to pay careful attention to grammar, spelling and punctuation, and to avoid run-on sentences by keeping your sentences short and clear.
Before you end your email, it’s polite to thank your reader one more time as well as add some courteous closing remarks. At the end of your last paragraph you should provide a “Thank you for your patience and cooperation.” or “Thank you for your consideration.” and then follow up with,
“If you have any questions or concerns, don’t hesitate to let me know.”
“I look forward to hearing from you.”
• Thank you for your assistance with…
• Thank you for your time and I look forward to hearing back from you.
• Please feel free to call or email me if you have any questions.
• I would appreciate it if this could be taken care of promptly.
End with a closing
The last step is to include an appropriate closing with your name. “Best regards,” “Sincerely,” and “Thank you,” are all professional. It’s a good idea to avoid closings such as “Best wishes,” or “Cheers,” as these are best used in casual, personal emails. Finally, before you hit the send button, review and spell check your email one more time to make sure it’s truly perfect!
Student Body President
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