How To Write Emails In English

Writing emails in English can be a little tricky. 

You need to get the right level of formality. Are you writing to a friend, colleague or client?

Having read lots of emails from  my students over the years, here is some advice I think is very useful for people learning English:

  • Always write a clear and concise subject line ( not " Hello"). EG Re: Class On Monday

  • Use simple grammar, emails are less complex than formal writing. Try to think about what you want to say without translating word for word from your first language.

  • Use paragraphs, so that your emails are easy to follow.

  • Think about who is going to be reading the email. Emails to a friend can start with " Hey you", but not anyone else.

  • Don't use all capital letters. IT LOOKS LIKE YOU ARE SHOUTING!

  • Don't forget to mention any attachments you are including.

  • Don't rely on spell check! Of course, close colleagues probably won't mind a mostake (!) here and there, but in a professional email it might lead to a bad first impression.

Here are some phrases for work/professional emails. Choose the correct phrases, depending on how long you have known someone.


Dear Sir/Madam- formal address, used when you don't know the person.

Dear Marcus/ Claire - standard way to address, friends, colleagues and business clients when you know them

Hi Carly/Fraser - friendly and informal


Please find attached - formal


Thanks for your email. - standard way to start an email.

Hope you are well./ It was good to hear from you. - for when you haven't been in contact recently. neutral


I would be grateful if you could/ I was wondering if you could..?.- formal

Could you please..? - less formal

Agreeing to a request

I would be happy to...


I apologise for the delay in...../ I /We apologise for any inconvenience/ Please accept my apology.- formal

Sorry for the delay./Sorry for the inconvenience./ Sorry about that.-  less formal

Bad news

I regret that../ I regret to inform you./ I am afraid that- formal

Unfortunately,... / I'm sorry, but.....- less formal


I look forward to hearing from you./ Thanks for your help./ I hope to hear from you soon.- neutral

Kind regards/ Best regards - good for work emails

Any questions? Why don't you send me an email