Updated: Mar 8, 2020
Do you need to write emails in English for your job? Here are some tips for business English learners.
1. Keep It Short and Simple.
Think of the word KISS. This stands for the Keep it Short and Simple. You don’t need to attempt to sound business-y. Emails are typically brief and direct.
Poor email form:
I am writing to you to inform you of the fact that Longbanks Incorporated is implementing a brand new ordering system for online orders. Henceforth, you will have the opportunity to use this new APC system to place your orders, thereby saving you a great deal of time in your ordering process.
Improved email form: Longbanks Incorporated now offers you the opportunity to place your orders online.
2. Use words you’d use while speaking instead of more formal words and phrases. Again, you don’t need to sound sophisticated.
Avoid: acknowledge receipt of as in -
We acknowledge receipt of your letter dated November 8, 2014.
Instead use: Thank you for your letter of Nov. 8.
Avoid: at the present time / at this moment in time as in -
At the present time we have no plans to release a new version of the software package.
Instead use: We currently have no plans to release a new version of the software package.
Avoid: due to the fact that as in -
Due to the fact that there was a delay in the last shipment…
Instead use: Because the last shipment was delalyed…
Avoid: during which time / over the course of this period as in -
Over the course of this period, our revenues increased by 40%.
Instead use: Our revenues increased by 40% over this period.
Avoid: henceforth as in -
Henceforth, all expense reports must be submitted within 30 days of travel.
Instead use: From now on, all expense reports must be submitted within 30 days of travel.
Avoid: in the event that as in -
In the event that you cannot attend the meeting…
Instead use: If you cannot attend the meeting…
3. Put clear meaning into the subject line.
The average business person receives about 50 emails per day. Make sure your emails stand out and get read. You need a clear, compelling subject line to do that. Compare the following subject lines:
Unhelpful subject line: Reply needed!
Better subject line: PLEASE REPLY: November expense report now due
Unhelplful: Sales info
Better: Sales figures for third quarter
Better: Marketing meeting today at 2PM
Better: Report on Russian oil industry now available
Unhelpful: Your order
Better: Your order with Linetek has shipped.
4. Always include your contact information at the end of your email.
Your recipient will appreciate quick access to your company name, address, phone and fax number.
Just four little tips to think about. I hope they help you with future emails.