How to write a professional email in English

Gaining an academic education is just one element of the career growth mix, and professional conduct is another important area to consider. Your professional conduct encompasses how you talk to your colleagues, your appearance at work, and your email writing and other communication types. During your career you will likely have to communicate with colleagues or external contacts via email and the way you conduct yourself in your emails is important since this can be the first impression you make on someone. We will explore the important components of a formal email and offer example templates for you to work with in your own emails. Read on to gain some insight into how to write the highest standard of professional emails in English.

How do you write professional emails?

There are several reasons you may need to write an official email, including to summarise discussions in an important meeting, share information with a colleague or provide an update to someone you are working on a project for. The way in which you write your professional email will of course depend on the content and recipient, but in time you will become more comfortable and begin to do this naturally. If you are still in the early stages of your language learning journey or you haven’t yet covered how to write a professional email, here are some basic tips:

  1. Is email the best method of communication here?

Depending on the nature of your request and your relationship with the person you are asking, it might be more suitable to talk in person or speak on the telephone.

  1. Identify the email purpose

Most people find themselves short of time, so if you send a long, wordy email that struggles to get to the point – it might take longer to get a response or annoy the person you are contacting! Try and make your request as concise as possible.

  1. Consider your audience

If you are writing to your professor or your manager, then your tone of voice may be different than if you are sending a casual email to your colleague or classmate. Make sure your email tone of voice is respectful, polite and friendly regardless of who you are writing to.

  1. Split your points into separate lines

Including a huge chunk of text in an email body can be off-putting for the person who receives it as they will have to search through the email to find out what you are asking for.

  1. End with a closing signature

This is an easy part but makes a big difference. Try a simple ‘Kind regards’ or ‘Sincerely’ to ensure politeness. Once you’re more familiar with your recipient, feel free to sign off with a simple, ‘cheers’ or ‘best’.

  1. Ensure your email is accurate, concise and as clear as possible

If you want to get a succinct and clear answer, you must write an email that is succinct and clear. If you are making a request, you should include any vital information in the initial email, e.g. if you are writing to ask someone to speak at an upcoming webinar,

  1. Proofread your email

It’s easy to make silly mistakes when you are writing an email in a rush, even the best English-speakers make typos sometimes! To avoid appearing careless, always make sure to triple check your emails. It takes just a couple of minutes to check for spelling and grammar mistakes and it will make a huge difference to how you are perceived by those you are writing to.

Professional email writing examples

Below are some general professional email writing examples that you can use to get an idea of how to structure an email. Generally, the rule of thumb is:

  1. Choose a succinct subject line
  2. Choose an appropriate greeting for your recipient
  3. Introduce yourself if you don’t know the person
  4. Outline your request
  5. Provide any further information
  6. Choose an appropriate sign off and add your name

Example 1: Discount question

Subject line: Discounted tickets for students

Dear [Recipient’s name]

I hope you are well.

I am interested in attending the Annual Business Conference, I would like to ask if you provide student discounts for tickets?

I’m a student at The Language Gallery and I’m very excited about your event, but unfortunately, the ticket price is too high for me. I would appreciate if you could offer me an educational discount.

I look forward to hearing from you!

[Your name]

Example 2: Holiday request

Subject line: Holiday request for 10-15 July 2023

Dear Mr/Ms [Last name],

I hope you are well. I am writing to request annual leave from Monday 10th July till Friday 15th July.

I will make sure to complete all my current projects before the holiday. Please let me know if there are any issues with these dates.

Thank you in advance.

[Your name]
[Job title]

Example 3: Question for a teacher

Dear Mr/Ms [Last name],

I hope you are well.

I am having some trouble keeping up with the Introduction to English course and I would like to ask for some advice.

If you have the availability, I would really like to discuss my concerns with you in a meeting. Please let me know if this is something you would be able to help me with.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Kind regards,

[Your name]

Tips and tricks for writing a perfect professional email

  1. Ensure your subject line is meaningful, relevant, accurate and concise!
  2. Proofread, proofread, proofread – small mistakes can give a bad image.
  3. Keep the email concise and be very clear what you are emailing about.
  4. Make the email easy to read by using short paragraphs.
  5. Don’t use too many exclamation marks or emojis as it will look unprofessional.
  6. Use an appropriate signature – you can pre-set your signature on Outlook if this is helpful.
  7. Use bullet points if you are asking for more than one thing.
  8. Be charismatic! Depending on the subject, don’t be afraid to show your personality when writing a professional email.

If you find yourself wondering how to write a professional email, return to this post.

When it comes to writing an email in English, there’s lots of different parts that make up a good email! Keeping these points in mind can help ensure you come across as professional, polite and cordial when communicating with others. 

Why choose The Language Gallery?

The Language Gallery offers a variety of courses and university pathway programmes to suit a range of needs and experience levels. If you are looking to learn some basic English language skills, including conducting yourself in a professional manner when writing emails, have a look at our General English or Academic English course.

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