Write Great Emails in English

by | Aug 26, 2015 | 3 comments

For better or worse, email is part of our daily lives. We write for work to negotiate, propose, request, inform. We write to stay in touch with friends and family, to send photos and notes. We write to get information or give information.

But finding the right words or phrases in another language can be difficult. It can take time. And sometimes – at work – you just don’t have a lot of time.

That’s exactly what I’m sharing today’s email. The best way to write a great email in English is to know the basics. This means know the basic rules of a professional email and know the common expressions English speakers use.

Today you will learn some of the key expressions you can use in the greeting, body, and closing sections of your email. Each section is essential in a professional email.

And, most importantly, you’ll save time and stress in your day knowing you’re using the correct expressions for email in English.

“The best way to write a great email in English is to know the basics. This means know the basic rules of a professional email and know the common expressions English speakers use.”

Email Greetings in English

These greetings below are common and appropriate for professional emails. Most of the time we use these greetings for emails in the workplace, with people we do not know very well, with people who provide services or when we are requesting information.

If writing to a friend or family member, you can, of course, be much more informal.

Hello [first name],

In the United States, it is very common to use first names, especially in emails. So feel free to write: Hello Annemarie // Hello Ahmed // Hello Jeff in your emails.

Good morning (or good afternoon) [first name],

This is a little more formal but also very friendly. Feel free to use this expression with someone you have already met (but I don’t recommend it for the first time you email someone).

Hi [first name],

This is the most informal and should be used with close colleagues or someone you know well.

To whom it may concern, // Dear [job title],

For example, Dear Hiring Manager,

This is very formal and can be used when you do not know who will receive your email. For example, perhaps you are writing to a company for the first time to request information. Or you are writing to make a complaint. However, it is always better for you to find the correct person to contact and use his/her name.

Useful Language for the Body of Your Email in English

Ok. You have your greeting – now what? Many people often feel nervous about how to start the email in a professional way. Here are some great expressions for some common situations.

State Your Purpose

We use these when we are writing to someone for the first time or when we haven’t written in a long time. It is important to help the other person remember who you are, if possible.

  • I am writing in response to the email you sent on [date]…
  • I am writing in response to your voicemail from [date]…
  • I am responding to your request/inquiry/complaint about…
  • I am writing in reference to your request/inquiry/complaint…
  • I am writing in reference to the information you provided.
  • I am writing in reference to your last newsletter/update/email.

Introducing Yourself to Someone in an Email

If you are writing to someone for the very first time, it is really important to tell them how you received their email address. This person will be more likely to read your email and respond to you.

  • My name is [name]. I received your contact information from [insert name of the person who gave you the email address]. I am writing to request/to inquire… (here you state your purpose – see additional options above).
  • My name is [name]. I noted your contact information on your company’s website. I am writing in reference to…

Thanking Someone

  • Thank you for the information you provided.
  • Thank you for responding to my request/inquiry/complaint so quickly.
  • Thank you for your prompt reply.
  • Thank you for contacting us.

Final Remarks

When you are ready to finish your email, it is always nice to finish with a polite, professional comment before your closing.

  • Thank you for your time and attention.
  • Thank you for your time.
  • If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact me.
  • I look forward to hearing from you.

Email Closings in English

Don’t forget to include a closing in your email. Not using a closing can sound rude and unprofessional. But if you’re not sure what to use, here is a list of the most common in English.

Formal
Common, professional closings include:

  • Best regards,
  • Warm regards,
  • Sincerely,

Informal
For more casual, informal closings (with people you know), you can use:

  • Best wishes,
  • All the best,
  • Take care,

If you use email in English often for your work, don’t forget to check out my other lessons on professional emails to help you avoid common mistakes and always sound professional: 7 Rules for Professional Emails in English and Avoid These Common Mistakes in Emails.

Happy emailing!

~ Annemarie

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