Email writing tips – email etiquette

The rules of how to write emails and mail etiquette indicate what is appropriate and what is not when a person sends an email to a potential customer, business partner, colleague, manager or acquaintance. They help avoid mistakes and misunderstandings. Look through these email writing tips to know how to write professional emails.

Studies show that mistakes seriously affect people’s perception of others. During one experiment, people who read emails with grammatical mistakes thought that the author was less smart, conscientious, and reliable than those who read the same letter without errors.

Another study shows that when people applied for something, they got less favorable conditions when their requests contained spelling errors.

This is not surprising. When a person reads an email full of mistakes and typos, he thinks about one of the following:
  • The sender does not know the basic rules of grammar and spelling
  • The sender does not care enough about this email to check it before submiting it

None of this will be a good basis for relationships. In order to avoid these errors, email writing tips come to the rescue, which everyone (particularly the one who communicates with customers) should know and follow.


Punctuation is invisible when it is used correctly and is obvious when it is done incorrectly. Do not spoil the impression of yourself before the recipients – these rules need to be remembered, follow them unswervingly.

Final punctuation

Each line must end with a final punctuation sign, i.e. a point, a question or exclamation sign. If you forget to include this mark, it will look like the thought is not finished.

  • Wrong – I discussed this issue with the finance department, and they approved it
  • Correct – I discussed this issue with the finance department, and they approved it.

Interrogative and exclamation signs should be used sparingly. If there are too many questions in one letter, it may seem that this is an interrogation of the recipient.

And if you overdo the email with exclamation signs, you can show yourself as hyperactive and overexcited.

A semicolon

A semicolon can be used to connect two separate but similar proposals. This is not the same as the comma.

  • Wrong: She can let me know tomorrow, she will tell me what she thinks about the trip we talked about.
  • Correct – She can let me know tomorrow; she will tell me what she thinks about the trip we talked about.


Putting commas where they are not needed is one of the most common mistake. A comma is placed before a composition union (and, but, a, or, but), when it connects two equal simple sentences. A comma is also used to divide items in a list.

Punctuation of the greeting

There are several different methods to highlight a greeting (the first line of an email where the recipient is referred to by name).

  • If this is a formal letter, it’s better to use a point.
  • If this is a relatively ordinary letter, it is better to put a comma.
  • If this is a friendly letter, you can put an exclamation mark.


People who have not devoted their lives to learning grammar rules will somehow make mistakes. But no one will notice this, if also does not know the grammar rules. You just need to avoid the basic mistakes that are most visible, and everything will be alright. However, it is much better to write without mistakes at all.

As an editor, you can use various online tools, which find all grammatical and spelling errors online.

Emoji in e-mails

One can understand the desire to insert a smiling face to a sufficiently rigid proposal to soften it, or to end a joke with a smile. However, this should be avoided, unless the recipient has already included an emoji himself. Studies show that using emoticons in working e-mails has a bad effect on reputation – because of them, the sender seems less knowledgeable (and they do not help appear friendlier).

Email headers

The subject line has to be substantial and short. It should help the recipient to understand whether he wants to open this letter.

  • Wrong – If you just write “Hello” in the subject line, it is absolutely incomprehensible what you’re going to talk about in your letter.
  • Correct – Brief information for ordering a batch of pillows. This title shows the content of the letter.


It was mentioned about the punctuation, which is used in the greeting. Also, you need to choose a form of greeting, informal or formal, depending on the addressee and the relationship with him.

Best is the usual everyday greeting, which will establish a friendly, calm tone and express confidence.

Examples of everyday greetings:
  • Hi
  • Good morning (day or evening)
  • [Name]

If this is the first contact with a person, or he takes a higher position, it is worth choosing a more formal option.

Examples of formal greetings:
  • Dear [name]
  • Dear Mr./Mrs. [last name]
Here are examples of greetings that cannot be used:
  • Hey! – too informal and impatient
  • [Name] – non-agreeable
  • To all interested parties – too impersonal
  • Dear Madam or Sir – old-fashioned
  • Hello, friend – too frightening


The correct ending complements the content and tone of the letter. Since this line is the last one to be read by the recipient, it affects the final impression.

If the letter is written in a light tone, it can be ended with an informal, warm signature:
  • Thank you
  • Thanks again
  • All the best
  • Have a good [day of the week]
  • Have a good weekend
  • See you later
  • I’ll see you [tomorrow, Thursday, when you return]
  • I am looking forward to working with you
  • I am looking forward to our next conversation

If the tone of the letter is more restrained, the signature must be appropriate.

  • Thank you for your time
  • Thank you
  • Have a nice day [days off]
Here are the phrases that you should not use:
  • Sincerely – too old-fashioned
  • All the best – too unfriendly
  • From the bottom of the heart – too intimate

Recipient’s name

It is necessary to check three times, whether it is written correctly. You can open this person’s profile in social networks and compare. Do not abbreviate the person’s name unless he signs his e-mails in this way.

Capital letters

When sending SMS, on social networks or chat rooms, many people do not use capital letters. But when writing a business email, it is necessary. In other words, you need to use the capital letter in the first word in the sentence and in personal names.

The tone of the email

It’s incredibly difficult to set and maintain the correct tone in an email. Studies show that people significantly overestimate that their recipients correctly determine whether their tone was serious or sarcastic.

While in 80% of cases, they believed that the recipients would understand everything correctly, in reality the figure was approaching 56%.

Does this mean that half of emails will be understood wrong? No. But this means that you need to carefully select words and think about how the recipient can perceive them.

First, you need to avoid phrases and words with negative meanings. They can make a person appear more irritated, anxious or worried than he really is.

For example, avoid the following words:
  • Errors
  • Problems
  • Failure
  • Delay
  • Crisis
  • Trouble
  • Bad luck

Secondly, do not use sarcasm. There is a high probability that the recipient will not understand the joke, and the impression of the sender will be spoiled.

For example, “I would ask my colleagues to consider this tomorrow, but you know, nobody does the work received on Friday.”

Thirdly, it is necessary to exclude adjectives and adverbs with an estimated value. They make the letter overly emotional, although the goal is to look professional and calm.

Fourth, you can imitate the style of the interlocutor. Following his example will guarantee that the author does not accidentally offend him. If he writes short and direct messages, you need to respond the same. If he tries to strengthen contact by going over to individuals (for example, “I saw that you travelled around Asia, I hope you had a great time”), it’s worth doing the same.

Fifthly, if there is any doubt, it is better to call. Every time there is a potentially intense conversation, it is a good idea to call or Skype, or to meet the person in person.

Formatting and fonts

Do you want to hurt the eyes of the recipient? Then you can use fancy fonts, bright colors, and original formatting.

Yes, this will make the letter memorable, but at the same time it will show complete ignorance of communication norms.

You should always use a standard font. No other colors except black. Only the standard font size. Do not italicize or make more than one word in one email bold.


Pasting a full URL into a letter takes a valuable place and looks sloppy. Instead, you can create a hyperlink or include a shortened URL.


It is necessary to specify somewhere in the letter that there is an attachment so that the recipient would not miss it.

And you need to make sure to re-attach the files when someone is added to the mail chain, or he will not be able to see them.

Signing the letter

A bad signature can really have a bad effect on reputation. Even if you write the most eloquent and convincing letter in the world, with an unsuccessful signature it will look amateurish.

It is worth remembering: the less – the better, the signature should be relatively small, simple and limited. There is no place for a favorite inspirational quote, portrait or a complete list of contacts. Ideally, the signature should include the name, title, phone number and/or company website.

Letter fields

Here are the fields of the letter you should fill in when writing an email:
  • To – this field is simple – the email address of the person you want to contact.
  • Copy – if you want to add someone else, you need to add his address here. This option is needed when the letter contains relevant information, or you want to add another person to the conversation.
  • BCC – it copies the contact to an email address, but no one in addition to the recipient will see that he received this email. Thus, if you send a letter to James Brown, and a hidden copy to Peter Branson, James will not know that Jim also got it.

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