Business emails are generally less formal than business letters. Business emails written to colleagues are generally direct and ask for specific actions to be taken. It's important to keep your business emails short, as the easier it is to reply to an email the more likely it is that a business contact will reply quickly. Here are both formal and informal email examples, as well as important points to remember when writing business emails in English.
Example 1: Formal
I read on your web site that you offer Music CD copying for large quantities of CDs. I'd like to inquire about the procedures involved in these services. Are the files transferred online, or are the titles sent by CD to you by standard mail? How long does it usually take to produce approximately 500 copies? Are there any discounts on such a large quantity?
Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions. I look forward to your response.
Sales Manager, Young Talent Inc.
(709) 567 - 3498
Example 2: Informal
At 16.22 01/07/2002 +0000, you wrote:
> I hear you're working on the Smith account. If you need any information don't hesitate to get in > contact with me.
Listen, we've been working on the Smith account and I was wondering if you could give me a hand? I need some inside information on recent developments over there. Do you think you could pass on any information you might have?
Account Manager, Tri-State Accounting
(698) 345 - 7843
Important Points to Remember
- Email is much less formal than a written letter. Emails are usually short and concise.
- If you are writing to someone you don't know, a simple "Hello" is adequate. Using a salutation such as "Dear Mr Smith," is too formal.
- When writing to someone you know well, feel free to write as if you are speaking to the person.
- Use abbreviated verb forms (He's, We're, He'd, etc.)
- Include a telephone number to the signature of the email. This will give the recipient the chance to telephone if necessary.
- It is not necessary to include your email address as the recipient can just reply to the email.
- When replying eliminate all the information that is not necessary. Only leave the sections of text that are related to your reply. This will save your reader time when reading your email.