English Language Blog

Netiquette Posted by on Jan 16, 2014 in Culture


What is netiquette? Netiquette is the etiquette for using technology related to the Internet, which governs what is socially acceptable or not.  This word is a combination of the words net + etiquette = netiquette.

There are many aspects of netiquette we could talk about, such as, not sitting too long at a public computer when someone else is waiting to use it, acceptable rules for posting and sharing information and photos in the public sphere, and so on, but today I am going to focus on email netiquette.

Below I have listed some email netiquette rules I have gathered that apply in the English-speaking world (and beyond). If you would like to know more about netiquette after reading these, take a listen to this radio show about this topic. It is a great listening-comprehension exercise.

Email netiquette


Always write a subject line for your emails and try to make that subject line short and clear.
Example: The 2:00pm meeting

Always introduce yourself when you are emailing someone for the first time.
Example: Hello. My name is Gabriele and I work for Transparent Language. I am emailing to ask you a few questions.

Use appropriate language:

It is best to write an email similar to how you would write a letter. Do not write an email like how you would write a text.
Good example: Will you be available to meet at 2:00pm today?
Bad example: will u b able to meet at 2 today

Be careful about using emoticons :). Only use these with people you know well.

Don’t use ALL CAPITAL LETTERS. This is the written equivalent to shouting or screaming at someone.

Be brief:

If your message is short, people will be more likely to read it.

Be selective:

Be careful of what information you put in an email. Information on the Internet is very public, and can be seen by many people whether you like it or not.

Consider others:

Don’t forward email messages you receive from others (that contain personal information) without the permission of the sender.

Be careful when you reply to an email to make sure you are replying to who you want to. This is the difference between clicking ‘reply’ and ‘reply all’.

Do not send SPAM or unwanted advertising email. This is considered ‘junk mail’ by most people.

Do you have any other netiquette rules you can add to this list? If so please share them in the comments below.

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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.