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Starting Emails in English

Starting emails in English correctly in a way that is suited to the communication that you want to convey is really important. Especially if you want you message understood in the right way by the reader. Starting an email off in the wrong way can produce a whole heap pf problems. 


So let’s look at what you can do to make sure you start emails in English correctly.

Firstly most people think that the only relevant factors are whether an email is formal or informal. These are not the only factors. In fact the main four factors that come before that are the four main elements: Time, Place, Who and Purpose. 

Let’s find out more about each one in turn.

The four main elements of Starting Emails in English correctly

Starting emails in english

Starting Emails in English Informally

TIME: 

When are you writing your email? Is it in the morning, the afternoon or the evening? Should you start an email even with a Good morning? That is all dependent on the content you are going to write and to whom you are writing.

PLACE: 

Where are you writing from, are you at home or at work for example and the person that will be reading your email; Are they likely to be at home or at work. This is important as it will help you to determine on whether your English used in the email should be more formal or less formal.

WHO: 

Who are you writing to? Are they a friend, a colleague or a professional or business acquaintance?

How well do you know them and on what terms?

On what terms means – they type of relationship you have with them. 

 

For example, to a friend that you see a lot or regularly, you would use the following type of start:

Hi Claire,

 

Just thought I would ping you an email about yesterday.

 

But to a colleague that you see every day but you are not too familiar with or know very well, your language used would be different. For example:

 

Dear Mrs Jones,

 

 I was wondering if I could request an update about my holiday form please.

 

Kind regards

 Miss Little ( Sales dept.)

 

To a business colleague that you see everyday and you have a professionally positive relationship with you language would again alter:

 

Hi Dave,

 

Any chance you could send me over the reports asap please?

 

Cheers, Mark.

 

Purpose: 

The purpose of your communication is very important when you are thinking of starting your English email. In a sense the first line is the frame or the ‘opener’. 

An ‘opener’ is the name we give to communicative device to which it serves to function: to open the pathway of communiaction for the email (mentally speaking).

Normally in the opener, you state the intention or the purpose of your email and then you follow on from that.

Here are a few more examples:

 
 
Hi Mrs Crab,
 
Just pinging you an email to see how you are.
 
Just getting in touch as I heard about your news  – when’s a good time to catch up?
 
 
 
 
 
Janet,
 
Can you give me a call!
 
Semi formal
I just wanted to get back in touch with you regarding the conversation we were having the other day. 
 
 
 
 
 
Dear Mr Jones,
 
I am writing in relation to ….. your call that we received last week.
 
 
 
 
Dear Mr Long,
 
Thank you for submitting your proposal last week. We would like to accept it. Please state your availability for a meeting please.
 
Kind regards
Mrs Layman
 
 
Dear Mrs Rush,
 
I am writing to thank you for your application for the vacancy of sales assistant.
 
I would like to invite you for an interview. These are the times I have available:
 
Thursday 10am
Monday 3pm 
 
The interviews are to be held at our offices. Please reply stating your preference.
 
Yous Sincerely
 
Mr Fish
 
 

TOP TIP: 

Remember that emails are not written in the same way as a letter. They are short and are meant to politely get to the point. Emails often use their own modules of vocabulary which are unique to emails.

Short sentences are generally better in emails. Readers of emails do not expect to read long paragraphs of text as you might in some letters.

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