English Language Blog

Business E-mailing in English Posted by on Jan 12, 2016 in English Language, English Vocabulary

Image by Dennis Skley on Flickr.com.

Image by Dennis Skley on Flickr.com is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

We live in an electronic world, in which we have to send a lot of electronic mail, or e-mail. So, let’s take a look at appropriate language for e-mailing in English for business purposes. Casual e-mails to friends do not need to be this formal, but putting your best foot forward* electronically in business situations is always a good idea! Here is some vocabulary to help.

When sending an email to someone whose name you don’t know you may want to start with:
Dear Sir,
Dear Madam,
To Whom It May Concern,

When sending an email to someone whose name you know you should use only their last name when addressing them:
Dear Mr. Jones,
Dear Ms. Williams,
Dear Mrs. Hawthorne,

When sending an email to a group of people you can write:
Dear all,

The body of your business-related email is likely to include formal, neutral, and professional writing. Also, be sure to always double check for typos before sending your e-mail!

Some typical phrases found in business emails include:

Thank you for contacting us…
I am writing to…
With reference to your e-mail….

Sharing good news:
We are delighted to confirm…
You will be happy to know…

Sharing bad news:
We regret to inform you…
I am afraid that we will not be able to…
I’m sorry, but…

Requesting information:
We would appreciate it if you could…
Could you…

Offering help:
We would be happy to help with…
Would you like me to…

Saying sorry:
I must apologize for…
We deeply regret…
We do apologize for any inconvenience…

Attaching files:
Please find attached the files I am referencing.
I am attaching the following files…

Closing remarks:
Do not hesitate to contact us if you require any further assistance.
If you have any additional questions, please feel free to contact me.
We look forward to meeting/seeing you soon.
I look forward to hearing from you.
Thank you for your help.

At the end of your business e-mail you can sign-off in a number of different ways. Some people simply write their name (use your full name) and many people have a built in “email signature” line with their name, title, and contact information. It is also a good idea to include one of these formal closings in a business email before you write your name.

Signature line/closing:
Yours sincerely,
Best regards,
Take care,

Here is an example of a short business e-mail that includes some of the vocabulary introduced above. You certainly won’t use all of this vocabulary in one e-mail, but hopefully you now have some new options to choose from when writing business e-mails in English.

Example e-mail:

Dear Ms. Smith,

Thank you for contacting us about the open Associate Manager position. You will be happy to know your background and previous work experience match the criteria we are looking for in this position.

We are in the process of scheduling interviews and would appreciate if you would let us know which of the following dates works best for you to interview at our Houston, TX office.

December 1
December 7
December 15

We would be happy to help you find appropriate accommodations for your stay once you let us know which date you plan to interview with us.

I am attaching an interview schedule to help you in planning your trip. The schedule is the same for each of the interview dates.

If you have any additional questions, please feel free to contact me.

Best regards,

Bob Davis
Human Resources

* putting your best foot forward = to try to make a good impression

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About the Author: Gabriele

Hi there! I am one of Transparent Language's ESL bloggers. I am a 32-year-old native English speaker who was born and raised in the United States. I am living in Washington, DC now, but I have lived all over the US and also spent many years living and working abroad. I started teaching English as a second language in 2005 after completing a Master's in Applied Linguists and a Certificate in English Language Teaching to Adults' (CELTA). Since that time I have taught ESL in the United States at the community college and university level. I have also gone on to pursue my doctorate in psychology and now I also teach courses in psychology. I like to stay connected to ESL learners around the world through Transparent Languages ESL Blog. Please ask questions and leave comments on the blog and I will be sure to answer them.