Whether you’re writing to friends, colleagues, or to a potential business partner, your main goal is to get your message across, in other words, to ensure the recipient understands you.
If you use improper or incorrect language and continuously make mistakes in your e-mail, not only might you fail to make yourself understood, you might also fail to make a good impression on the reader.
Here you’ll find examples of language that are commonly used in different types of emails, and hopefully, you’ll find the most appropriate one for your message.
Dear Sir/ Madam,
Dear Sir or Madam,
To whom it may concern: (especially AmE)
Dear Mr/ Ms. Smith,
Dear Dr. Brown,
(note: First names are NOT used. Using Miss or Mrs to address a woman is not appropriate, as you don’t know whether she’s married or not)
(note: salutations are followed by a (,) comma, exception: ’To whom it may concern:’)
REASON FOR WRITING / REPLYING
I am writing to apply for the position of…/ to confirm your address/ to ask for further information about …
I am writing with regard to the sale of …/ to the complaint you made on December 25th.
Thank you for your e-mail of December 1st regarding the sale of… / concerning the conference in New York
With reference to our telephone conversation on Monday, I would like to let you know that…
Semi-formal / Informal
Just a quick note to invite you to…/ to tell you that…
This is to invite you to join us for...
Thanks for your e-mail, it was wonderful/great to hear from you.
I wanted to let you know that / tell you about / ask you if…
MAKING A REQUEST / ASKING FOR INFORMATION
Could you please let me know if you can attend … / if you are available for a meeting on January 10th?
I would appreciate it if you could please send me a brochure/ if you could please reply within a week.
Could you possibly arrange a meeting with the Marketing Department?
I would also like to know if there is a parking space at your building.
Please let me know how much the tickets cost.
I was wondering if you could delay our meeting for one hour.
Would you mind coming the following week?
Do you think you could call Mary for me?
Can you call me/ get back to me asap? (as soon as possible)
OFFERING HELP / GIVING INFORMATION
We are happy to let you know that your essay has been approved.
I am glad to inform you that we will be holding our annual conference in Brussels on 20 September 2014.
We regret to inform you that the show has been canceled due to bad weather conditions.
We are willing to arrange another meeting with the CEO.
We would be glad to send you another statement if necessary.
Please do let me know if I can be of further assistance.
Should you need any further information/assistance, please do not hesitate to contact us.
I’m sorry, but I can’t make it tomorrow. (= I can’t come tomorrow.)
I’m happy to tell you that Mary and I are getting married next month.
Would you like me to come early and help you clear up the place?
How about I come and help you out?
Do you need a hand with the move?
I am writing to express my dissatisfaction with… / to complain about…
I regret to say that I was not completely satisfied with the room you provided us.
We regret to inform you that your payment is considerably overdue.
I would like to receive a full refund and compensation for the damages.
I am interested to hear how your company can compensate us for the distress we suffered.
I’m sorry to say that you’re late with the payments.
I hope you won’t mind me saying that the place you’d recommended to us wasn’t as nice as we’d expected.
We would like to apologize for any inconvenience caused.
Please accept our apologies for the delay.
Please let us know what we can do to compensate you for the damages caused.
We will make sure that this will not happen again in the future.
I am afraid I will not be able to attend the conference.
I’m sorry for the trouble I caused.
I apologize for the delay.
I promise it won’t happen again
I’m sorry, but I can’t make it to the meeting.
I am attaching my CV for your consideration.
I am sending you the brochure as an attachment.
Please see the statement attached.
Please find attached the file you requested.
I am afraid I cannot open the file you have sent me.
Could you send it again in … format?
I’m attaching/sending you the holiday photos.
Sorry, but I can’t open it. Can you send it again in … format?
I look forward to hearing from you.
I look forward to hearing when you are planning to visit New York
Hope to hear from you soon.
I’m looking forward to seeing you.
Yours faithfully, (when you start with Dear Sir/ Madam,)
Yours sincerely, (when you start with the name e.g. Dear Ms. Collins)