7 Simple Examples of Business Email Writing in English

business email writing

Most of us in the business world use emails as the main, and in some cases the only, means of written communication. For many students studying Business English and practising their business email writing skills is an important part of their course.

While most of us are happy to write informal emails to friends that might have grammatical mistakes in them, the same is not true when writing to colleagues and clients with whom we want to make a good impression.

Or where we need to be a bit more careful or more diplomatic than usual.

If you are looking for formal and informal email phrases, you should check this list!

So, how can you ensure that your email writing skills are up to standard? Here are some general tips I’d like to share with you:

1. Subject Line

Always have a subject line that summarises briefly and clearly the contents of the message (example: Re: Summary of Our Meeting with ABC Suppliers).

Recommended for you:
Useful English Phrases For Running A Business Meeting
Other ways to say “Nice To Meet You”

2. Simplified Sentences

Don’t make your email look overcrowded by trying to use too many technical terms or long words. It is good to use complex and compound-complex sentences, but ensure that they are easy to understand.

The most common mistake that many of our students make is to translate directly from their own language. This can often lead to confusing sentences. A popular rule that you could adapt is to use the KISS Test – Keep It Short and Simple.

Recommended for you:
List of Sentence Connectors in English with Examples!
Other Ways to Say “Looking Forward”!

3. Think of who your reader is going to be

Is it a colleague, a client or your boss? Should the email be informal or formal? Most business emails these days have a neutral tone. Note the difference between Informal and Formal:

InformalThanks for emailing me on 15th February
FormalThank you for your email dated 15th February

InformalSorry, I can’t make it.
FormalI am afraid I will not be able to attend

InformalCan you…?
FormalI was wondering if you could….?

Some emails to colleagues can be informal if you have a long working relationship and know them well. This is the style that is closest to speech, so there are often everyday words and conversational expressions that can be used. For instance, ‘Don’t forget’, ‘Catch you later’, ‘Cheers’.

The reader may also accept or overlook minor grammatical errors in informal emails. However, if the email is going to a client or senior colleague, bad grammar and an over-friendly writing style will most probably not be acceptable.

Recommended for you:
5 Decision Making Business English Phrases
How to Write Email for Senior Management?

4. Be very careful of capital letters, punctuation, spelling and basic grammar

While these can be tolerated in informal emails, they are very important in business emails as they are an important part of the image you create. Give yourself time to edit what you’ve written before you push that Send button.

In today’s busy world, it’s very easy to send out many emails without checking them thoroughly: as an English learner, you should make a conscious effort to double check before sending.

Recommended for you:
Punctuation Marks – Quotation Marks – Question Mark
Best English Grammar and Spelling Checkers Online

5. Think about how direct or indirect you want to be

In some cultures, it is common practice to be very direct in email correspondence. However, this can cause a problem if you’re writing to someone in another country and in a language that is not your mother tongue. They might find your directness rude and possibly offensive.

Consider these:

DirectI need this in half an hour.
Indirect and politeWould it be possible to have this in half an hour?

DirectThere will be a delay
IndirectI’m afraid there may be a slight delay.

DirectIt’s a bad idea
IndirectTo be honest, I’m not sure if that would be a good idea.

By adjusting your tone, you are more likely to get a positive response from your reader.

Recommended for you:
What’s the difference between direct and indirect questions
How to be Less Direct and More Diplomatic

6. Be positive!

Look at these words: helpful, good question, agreed, together, useful, I will do my best, mutual, opportunity.

Now look at these: busy, crisis, failure, forget it, I can’t, it’s impossible, waste, hard.

The words you use show your attitude to life, so choose your words wisely.

Recommended for you:
112 Phrases for Saying Thank You in Any Situation
Other ways to say Good Luck!

7. Get feedback

Try and get some feedback on the emails that you write. This could be from your English Teacher or someone you know whose English is at a good level.

Study the English in any emails you receive. If it is a well-written email, look carefully at some of the language used. Start your own phrase book by collecting a bank of phrases from what you hear or read all around you; they may be useful in the future.

Recommended for you:
18 Powerful Websites to Improve Your Writing Skills in English
How can I write official letters regarding the salary advance, leave application etc.?

Author: Shanthi Cumaraswamy Streat

Shanthi StreatShanthi graduated in Politics and International Studies from the University of Southampton, UK in 1989.
After 20 years in the world of Finance in such varied fields as life assurance, stockbroking, fund management and wealth management, she decided to re-train as an English as a Foreign Language (EFL) Trainer.
She studied the CELTA at International House, London in 2009 and has since been a freelance English Language Trainer. She is also the co-owner of Language and The City.


Other schools teach you grammar rules
MyEnglishTeacher.eu helps you to become a confident English speaker

Written by: Anastasia Koltai

Founder of MyEnglishTeacher.eu. Ana is a fan of giving away free and useful materials both for English learners and teachers. In her free time she loves biking and playing with her dog.