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The Most Useful Phrases for Effective Email Writing

Nowadays, an email is the most common form of writing you will probably be doing in English. Therefore, it's a good opportunity to learn some common phrases for writing emails.

Before looking at the phrases, one common mistake that I often see is using the word "mail". We use the word "mail" for physical letters but you need to use the word "email" or "e-mail" when it's electronic.

Addressing the Letter to Someone

When you start an email, you should address it to a person or people, and the most common word to use is "Dear". The word "Dear" does not represent a person or people so don't say "Dears", you should simply connect it to the person's name:

  • Dear Jason,

  • Dear Mr. Miller,

  • Dear Team,

  • Dear Staff,

In the examples above you can see that if we use Mr. or Ms., we connect it to the family name (Miller), not the first name (Jason). It would be incorrect to say "Mr. Jason". You can also notice that there is a comma after this addressing statement. After you address it to someone, you should leave a blank line and then start the email:

Dear Jason,

I would like to notify you about...

If you want to be more casual, you can use the word "hello" and to be even more casual you can just say "hi", so it becomes "Hello Jason" or "Hi Jason". Do not use the person's last name without using "Mr." or "Ms." (you can use "Mrs." for a woman if she's married):

  • Hello Miller (incorrect)

  • Hello Mr. Miller (correct)

  • Hello Jason (correct)

Starting the Email Warmly

If you want to be polite and warm at the beginning of the email, you can use one of the phrases below. It's more common to use this when you already know the person.

  • I hope you are doing well

  • I hope this email finds you well

  • I hope that you're having a good week/weekend

Responding to Another Person's Email

If your email is a reply to another person's email, you can use one of the phrases below depending on why they contacted you:

  • It's great to hear from you (if it's been a long time since you've been in contact)

  • Thank you for reaching out to me (if someone you know contacts you for information or help)

  • Thank you for your inquiry (if someone you don't know asks for information - more formal)

  • I appreciate you bringing this to my attention (if someone notifies you of a problem)

Explaining the Purpose for the Document

When you want to tell the reader the reason why you are writing this email to them, you can use the phrases below. Be careful about the form of the verb (ex. do/to do/doing) as this is necessary for it to be grammatically correct and sometimes the verb is in different form depending on which phrase you're using:

  • The purpose of my email is (to request) - sounds formal and professional

  • I'm writing (to inform you about...) - a little more relaxed

  • I'm writing this email because... - giving a past reason for the email

  • I would like (to notify you about...) - polite

  • I would like to take this opportunity (to congratulate you) - usually for a warm message

Introducing a Topic

If you want to tell the reader what this sentence or paragraph is about, you can use the following prepositions to introduce the topic instead of using "about":

  • With regard to (something),...

  • With respect to (something)...

  • Regarding (something)...

  • Concerning (something),...

Note that this is not a complete sentence because it is just a preposition and a noun (like saying "about tomorrow's meeting") so you need to continue this sentence and write the main clause.

  • Concerning tomorrow's meeting, we will need eight tables and fifty chairs.



Ending an Email with a Final Message

The most common final sentences are below, and choosing the sentence will depend on the context of the email that you are writing:

  • I look forward to your reply (when you want someone to respond to you)

  • Don't hesitate to ask me if you have any questions or concerns (when the reader might disagree with the content of the email or have questions about it)

  • Please get back to me as soon as you can (more casual to get a quick response)

  • Have a great day/evening/week/weekend (simple and nice)

Adding Your Name

When you want to add your name at the end of the email, there are a few phrases that you can use. The list below goes from the most formal (at the top) to the most relaxed/informal.

  • Yours faithfully / Yours sincerely

  • Faithfully / Sincerely

  • Best Regards

  • Regards

Interestingly, a study was done about which endings get the most positive response and it was discovered that simply saying "Thanks" at the end of the email gets the best response. It's a good idea to use this phrase when you have asked someone to do something in the email or if they are going to take some action based on what you have told them. When you put your name, leave a blank space between the phrase and your name:

Thanks,

Laura Smith

If it's someone that you already know and "thanks" doesn't seem to fit the context, you can also end by saying "have a good day/evening/week/weekend":

Have a good weekend,

Laura Smith


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Practice

Write a phrase to do the following things in an email:

  1. You want to address a letter to an important woman named "Sarah Johnson".

  2. You want to start your email warmly

  3. You want to respond to an email you received (in this email the person asked you for information)

  4. You want to say that the main purpose of your letter (the main reason is to request vacation from your job)

  5. You want to introduce a new topic (the topic is "the delivery fee")

  6. You want to end the message politely and say that you want a reply

  7. You want to add your name formally and politely

Possible Answers

  1. Dear Ms. Johnson, (or if you know she is married you can say "Dear Mrs. Johnson")

  2. I hope you are doing well / I hope this email finds you well / I hope you're having a good week

  3. Thank you for your inquiry / Thank you for reaching out to me (more informal)

  4. I'm writing this email to request vacation / The purpose of my email is to request vacation / I would like to request vacation

  5. With regard to the delivery fee... / With respect to the delivery fee... / Regarding the delivery fee... / Concerning the delivery fee...

  6. I look forward to your reply / Please get back to me as soon as you can (more informal)

  7. Yours faithfully / Yours sincerely / Thanks


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