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1 Basics: Informal style
Hi/Hello Mary, Mary, Thanks for your email. Re your email,.... Sorry I haven’t written for ages, but I’ve been really busy. Just a short note about … I’m writing about … Here’s the … you wanted. I got your name from … Please note that … Just a note to say … We can confirm that … Good news! Unfortunately … I’ve attached … Here is the … you wanted. Can you tell me a little more about … I’d like to know … Please send me … Please … Could you …? Can I have …? I’d appreciate your help on this I’ll … I’ll look into it. I’ll get back to you soon. Do you want me to …? Shall I …? Let me know if you’d like me to … Thanks again for … Let me know if you need anything else. Just give me a call if you have any questions. My number is … Looking forward to … (+ -ing) Best wishes to …
Name Previous contact Dear Mr/Mrs/Ms/Miss Jones, Dear Mary, Thank you for your email of ... Further to your last email ... I apologise for not getting in contact with you before now. I am writing in connection with … I am writing with regard to … In reply to your email, here are … Your name was given to me by … We would like to point out that … I am writing to let you know about … We are able to confirm that … I am delighted to tell you that … We regret to inform you that … Please find attached my report. I’m sending you …as a pdf file.
Reason for writing
Ask for information Could you give me some information about … I would be interested in … I’m interested in receiving/finding out … Requests I would be grateful if you could … I wonder if you could … Do you think I could have … ? Thank you in advance for your help in this matter. I will … I will investigate the matter. I will contact you again shortly. Would you like me …? If you wish, I would be happy to … Let me know whether you would like me to … Thank you for your help. Do not hesitate to contact us again if you require further information. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions. My direct line is ... I am looking forward to … (+ -ing) Give my regards to …
Speak to / See you soon
Close Yours faithfully, ( Dear Sir or Madam) Bye (for now), / All the best, Yours sincerely, ( Dear Mr/Mrs/Miss/Ms..) Cheers, With kind regards, ( Dear Mr/Mrs/Miss/Ms..)
few people are aware of appropriate conventions to use. and you can easily convey the wrong impression. is a relatively new form of communication. Good practice 1. Be very careful how you express yourself. Try to restrict yourself to one screen-full. so it may be easier to forget an email message. however. Email systems often do not have the conventional "pending" trays of the desktop. and it might even end up in someone else's hands. Reply promptly. and it can get very tiring for some users. Electronic mail. are not just pointless conventions. Make sure that the "subject" field of your email message is meaningful. or announcing your name and/or number when you answer the telephone. even if a brief acknowledgment is all you can manage. Most people wouldn't choose a computer screen to read text on in preference to a printed document. 6. As a consequence. ensure that the subject field (automatically filled in for you) still accurately reflects the content of your message. 7. Check your mail regularly.Email etiquette In the more established communication media (e.g. If you meant something in jest. but help promote a sound basis for communication between the relevant parties. Ignoring a mail message is discourteous and confusing to the sender. 3. Where someone receives many messages. 8. mail and telephone) certain widely-observed conventions have emerged. or "netiquette") recognise that it is very easy to despatch email messages very quickly. Try to keep email messages fairly brief. These conventions (often called "network etiquette". This helps recipients to use the "subject" field to manage the messages they have received. This leads to the following code of good practice for email. and the number of new users is increasing dramatically. use a "smiley" [ :-) ] to convey that. ie recognise that anyone along the chain of distribution could get to see what you have said. 5. Such courtesies as when to use "yours sincerely" in a letter. it can be very confusing and frustrating not to be able to judge the subject matter correctly from its subject field. Remember that people other than the person to whom it's addressed may see your message. 4. There is still sufficient unreliability about email transmissions to create doubt in the mind of the sender that you ever received it. When you use the "reply" option. and so little thought is often given as to how the message will be received. Try to restrict yourself to one subject per message even if this means that you have to send multiple messages if you have multiple subjects. 2. especially if you feel heated about the subject (for instance if you are shooting off a quick response to some issue). Email lacks the other cues and clues that convey the sense in which what you say is to be taken. 2 . nor secretaries to remind you. Always reply.
by using “reply to all”) to gossip or to vent their frustrations. correcting sloppy grammar and spelling. Smith or Regards. it's easy to save time and move onto the next message without having read the nugget of information buried in the last paragraph. Joe Black). Learn to think of e-mail documents as permanent. This leads not only to traffic jams in others' in-boxes. it is retrievable from the company's system. the recipient's computer. Mistake 3: Forgetting about the importance of etiquette It's always a good idea. Most of us have a short attention span when reading from a computer screen and if we think we know where the message is going. If your email isn't a request label it an FYI. and not using jargon and abbreviations that might mystify the reader. cut once. Mistake 7: Mismatching the sender's tone One of the toughest aspects of writing e-mail is developing a feeling of rapport . but can also result in hurt feelings. Mistake 4: CCing the world Some people send CCs to others (e.Common mistakes Mistake 1: Thinking e-mail is good for everything Don't let convenience blind you. e-mails can even be retrieved from your computer's hard drive. have a timeframe attached to them and include any necessary background information. Mistake 8: Lack of a clear request You know how frustrating it can be to read and reread an e-mail and not know what the sender really wants.especially if you don't know the person with whom you are corresponding. provocative subjects and areas of conflict are just a few of the messages that should be off-limits to email and dealt with via phone or face-to-face. sensitive issues. no matter how rushed you are. Writers with a formal. Dear Mr. no-nonsense style usually like a similar response. "Is it an FYI or do I need to do something?" Email senders take note. Always try to fit your email message on one screen. Mistake 9: Not re-reading before you hit 'send' As any contractor knows the rule is "measure twice. Mistake 2: Not writing e-mail from the reader's perspective Could your message be misinterpreted? Could an innocent tongue-in-cheek remark be misconstrued? Re-read all your e-mails and become sensitive to their "tone" and how readers might interpret them. only cc those parties that are directly related to the situation or email message. Make sure yours are clearly defined. respond in kind. Mistake 6: Assuming people have time to read your entire message To be most effective. 3 . specific requests are essential in email. For others who take a more chatty and expressive approach to their emails. to create a positive impression by using an opening and closing (for example. Mistake 5: Believing that an erased e-mail is gone forever Even if you delete an e-mail message from your in-box. or from the recipient's company's network. e-mail messages should contain all the most pertinent and important data in the first paragraph. confidential information." By reading your e-mail over before you send it you can catch and correct all sorts of mistakes before they get to the recipient and possibly create a bad impression or put you and/or your company in hot water. When writing e-mail. With technical know how. using a clear and descriptive subject line.g. whenever possible.
Ask them for comments by a certain date. spelling.Assignments Assignment 1: ATTACHMENTS Write three very short emails referring to attachments. A second email to the same people as in the above idea. Is everything clear. An email to your staff with some forms attached that they have to complete and return to you by a certain date. Some ideas are given below. • • • An email to colleagues about a report which you have attached as a Word document. Check each other’s grammar. Say why it is important. When you finish. punctuation and style. well-structured and easy to understand? 4 . but adapt and change them as you wish. saying that you forgot to attach the report. check with a partner. Ask them to confirm that they have received it.
likely outcome. a new flat. An email to a colleague giving some news about a meeting. • An email to a colleague giving some news about a project. Is everything clear. check with a partner. An email to a friend giving some personal news. punctuation and style. problems and possible solutions. but adapt and change them as you wish. well-structured and easy to understand? 5 . any budget or staffing issues. Ideas: progress of the project. • • When you finish. Some ideas are given below. Ideas: the date has been changed.Assignment 2: GIVING NEWS Write an email to a colleague or friend giving some recent news. Ideas: a new job. Check each other’s grammar. spelling. there is some important new information. the agenda has been changed. a mutual friend who you met.
please (5) take / have / accept our apologies. Can we (3) cancel / postpone / schedule the meeting until next week? I can make any time Wednesday or Thursday. I am (2) afraid / apologise / regret that we cannot (3) accept / except / have responsibility in this (4) topic / material / matter.Assignment 3: COMMON MISTAKES You are going to look at the text from three emails that contain words which can often be confused. However. I apologise for any (4) disadvantage / inconvenience / unfortunate this may cause. we can ship the same order to you again. I am afraid something urgent has come up and I will not be able to attend. Once again. In the meantime. EMAIL 3 I am writing to you (1) affecting / connecting / concerning the meeting that we (2) combined / appointed / arranged for this Friday. I can now confirm that the goods have been shipped and should (3) arrive / reach / deliver you within 10 working days. EMAIL 2 I was (1) sorry / unhappy / afraid to hear about the damage to the products that you received this morning. and I (5) look forward / wait / anticipate to (6) hear / hearing / know from you. We have taken special (4) care / attention / caution to make sure that the items are exactly as you requested. 6 . and the damage in this case must have been caused in transit. Underline the correct or most appropriate word. I (6) propose / suggest / tell that you contact the shipping company directly about possible compensation. All our products are (5) controlled / checked / looked very carefully before leaving the factory. I must (2) regret / apologise / sorry for the delay in processing this order. do not (6) stop / fail / hesitate to contact me again. If you give us a firm instruction to do so (7) until / by / within the next few days. EMAIL 1 I am writing with (1) connection / reference / regarding to our telephone conversation this morning about your order 7890FH. if it would help. If you have any further questions. the shipment should reach you (8) until / by / within the end of the month.
well-structured and easy to understand? 7 . offer help. punctuation and style. your computer isn’t working to copy the CD. • • • • • • What is your company’s business? What products/services do you offer? What is the particular product/service that you normally offer. Is everything clear. When you finish. • • • • • Who is your friend? What item do they want from you? Ideas: they want to borrow a book that you have. check with a partner.Assignment 4: FORMAL OR INFORMAL You are going to write two emails on a similar topic. give additional information. or simply say that you will tell them when the product/service is available again? Now write your email in a formal/neutral style. punctuation and style. spelling. Why are you not able to give them this item at the moment? Ideas: you have lent the book to someone else. The information can be real or imaginary. or simply say that you will tell them when you can give them the item? Now write your email in an informal style. EMAIL 1 Write to a customer to tell them that the product/service they want is not available at the moment. Check each other’s grammar. they want you to make a copy of a CD that you have. give additional information. Check each other’s grammar. Is everything clear. but is not available at the moment? Why? When is it going to be available again? Who is the customer that you are writing to? Why do they need your product/service? Are you going to promise any action. The information can be real or imaginary. When can you give them the item? Are you going to promise any action. Prepare the situation using the questions below. Prepare the situation using the questions below. When you finish. well-structured and easy to understand? EMAIL 2 Write to a friend to tell them that you haven’t got something they want from you. offer help. spelling. the first formal/neutral and the second informal. check with a partner.
suggest meeting next week Use these questions to prepare a situation based on your job (real or imaginary) o What do your own customers typically complain about? o From your point of view.Assignment 5: WRITE AN ‘APOLOGY’ EAMAIL Some ideas are given below. Ideas: what are the goods? why did the delay happen? will you give the customer this reason? when will you send the good? will you confirm shipping when it happens? will you take any other action? can the customer contact you for more information? An email to a friend whose birthday you forgot. Is everything clear. • • An email to a customer apologising for a delay in sending some goods. well-structured and easy to understand? 8 . punctuation and style. When you finish. spelling. but adapt and change them as you wish. Ideas: you were very busy at work. Check each other’s grammar. check with a partner. why does this happen? o Do you give a reason when you apologise? What do you say? o What action do you tell them you will take? • • Now write a typical ‘apology’ email based on this situation.
Prepare the situation using the questions below. The information can be real or imaginary. The information can be real or imaginary. Can you make your request for information more specific? Do you want to give any information to them? / promise action? / offer help? • • • Now write the email. When you finish. Who are you going to write to. a supplier. you need someone from IT to check a problem on your computer. ACTION. financial data to write a report. Is everything clear. • • • What is your company’s business? What products / services do you offer? What is your position in the company? What action do you need right now? Ideas: you need a customer to sign and return a contract you sent them by post. HELP You are going to write two emails: the first asking for information. EMAIL 1 Write an email to a business contact or colleague asking for information.Assignment 6: INFORMATION. Check each other’s grammar. hotel information for a business trip you are going to make. well-structured and easy to understand? 9 . well-structured and easy to understand? EMAIL 2 Write an email to a business contact or colleague asking for action. spelling. punctuation and style. your line manager. you need colleagues to comment on a report you sent them some time ago. do you want to give them any information? offer help? • • • Now write the email in an informal style. Can you make your request for action more specific? Apart from asking for action. • • • What is your company’s business? What products/services do you offer? What is your position in the company? What information do you want right now? Ideas: the status of an order that you are waiting for. Check each other’s grammar. spelling. check with a partner. punctuation and style. Who are you going to write to? Ideas: a colleague in another department / from another country. a customer. Is everything clear. market information about a new country where you are going to do business. check with a partner. the second asking for action. to get this information? Ideas: a colleague in another department / from another country. planning for a trade fair is running late and you need someone to book a stand and order brochures. When you finish. your line manager. Prepare the situation using the questions below. product information to give to a customer.
perhaps look at their company website on the Internet to see their full range of products / services. spelling. but adapt and change them as you wish. Is everything clear. Your own idea. ask for a visit from a sales representative. Ideas: you may want to use them next year as an alternative to your current auditors. well-structured and easy to understand? 10 . Some ideas are given below. high-volume photocopier). An email to a firm of accountants asking about their auditing service. Ideas: ask for a brochure and price list. An email to a supplier of office equipment (perhaps a new. • An email to a real-life company asking about products / services that you are interested in. or computer equipment (perhaps new monitors for your computers).Assignment 7: INQUIRIES AND ORDERS Write an inquiry about some products / services you are interested in. Check each other’s grammar. Ideas: think about an email you might have to write for your job. • • • When you finish. check with a partner. punctuation and style.
check with a partner. how you and the organisation will benefit.Assignment 8: INTERNAL MESSAGES Write an ‘internal message’ email. whether you want the company to pay all or just pay a part of the cost etc. any action you want staff to take etc. An email to all staff about a special event that is going to take place inside the organisation. Ideas: a product launch? somebody leaving after long service? basic information like dates and times. why you would like to go. basic information like the cost and dates. but adapt and change them as you wish. Some ideas are given below. why the visit is important. Ideas: what the course will teach you. punctuation and style. • An email to all staff about somebody who is coming to visit your organsation. spelling. Ideas: changes to the security procedures in the building? changes to Health and Safety procedure? changes to some aspect of working conditions like office hours or lunch breaks? changes to company policy about personal use of the Internet during working hours? changes to some aspect of company perks like a mobile phone. any action you want staff to take etc. An email to your line manager about a training course you would like to go on. what will happen at the event. Ideas: basic information like dates and times. Check each other’s grammar. An email to all staff announcing a change in policy or procedure. laptop or health club membership supplied by the company? • • • When you finish. well-structured and easy to understand? 11 . Is everything clear.
Is everything clear. • • • • • • • What is your company’s business? What products/services do you offer? What job or project needs a freelancer or small company? Ideas: an IT project. EMAIL 1: You work for a large company that needs to employ a freelancer or small company for a specific job. Some ideas are given below. recommendation from a colleague What exactly do you want this freelancer/small company to do? What do you need to know in terms of their charges. Ask questions about practical details that you need to know. Ideas: dates? times? size of the job/project? Respond to any other points in the email you received. but adapt and change them as you wish. well-structured and easy to understand? 12 .? Do you have any specific questions to ask them about this job/project? Ideas: some specialist knowledge that they have. Write a reply to the email you receive. check with a partner. Now you are the freelancer/small company that your partner needs to do the job. Is everything clear. Now write the email. Write to the freelancer/small company about the job. list of clients etc. The information can be real or imaginary. some training for your staff. well-structured and easy to understand? EMAIL 2: Exchange emails with a different partner. auditing your books.Assignment 9: NEGOTIATING A PROJECT You are going to write two emails: the first to a freelancer/ small company asking them to work with you on a particular job. Who are you going to write to? How did you get their contact information? Ideas: the Internet. a design service. spelling. in which you take the role of a freelancer/small company yourself. spelling. When you finish. Check each other’s grammar. Check each other’s grammar. punctuation and style. the second a reply to a partner about a different job. When you finish. punctuation and style. Now write the email. check with a partner. availability etc. Ideas: your publicity material. a legal service. rates. Say that you attach a file with some information about yourself. • • • • Thank them for their email. Prepare the situation using the questions below.
spelling. Is everything clear. and why you would like to do it Refer to your CV Final comments (availability for an interview) When you finish. Structure your email as follows: • • • • • Reason for writing Your background and experience The job itself. check with a partner.setonhill.uk http://jerz.html http://www. b.ac. but adapt and change them as you wish.edu/writing http://www.Assignment 10: APPLYING FOR A JOB Write an email applying for a job.quality-service. punctuation and style. well-structured and easy to understand? SOURCES http://www. a. Check each other’s grammar. Think of a real-life job you would be interested in.net all of which were consulted in February 2008 13 .com/training/write_email. Look in some newspapers/magazines or on the Internet for a job you might be interested in.businessenglishonline. Some ideas are given below.lse. It doesn’t matter if the position is not vacant at the moment.
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