Effective writing skills.
How to write a formal email?
If you are someone who is used to writing informal (casual) emails to friends and family, relatives, you probably don’t know how to write a formal email. Do you need to know how to write formal emails?
This post will show how to do it.
Formal emails are sent to someone you don’t know or someone you know, but you highly regard.
Many people would confuse a letter and an email. Here are some major differences:
What is a formal email?
A formal email is a message that you send to someone you don’t know or someone who is in an authority position. For example a company CEO, school teacher, school director, supervisor….etc.
What is the difference between an informal and formal email?
A formal email is different from an informal one. Informal emails are sent to people you already know such as a friend, family member, or relative. When you send an informal email, you don’t have to worry about the language and the structure. On the contrary, formal emails are characterized by structure and language.
Compare these two structures to see the difference between a formal and an informal email.
- The session is scheduled for January, 5th at 10:00. All students must attend. Absences will not be tolerated.
- We gotta a session tomorrow at 10:00. See ya there.
Writing a formal email
Now, let’s take a closer look at some common elements of a formal email:
The subject line is what the receiver sees in their inbox. Your subject line must not mislead or contain missing information. The subject line in a formal email must be well detailed.
- Required meeting: January, 3th, 10:00
The salutation addresses the receiver of the email. It is an important element in formal emails and should not be skipped at all.
- Dear professor,
If you want to address your professor by name:
- Dear Professor Smith,
If you are addressing someone you don’t know at all, you can write:
- To whom it may concern
The opening of a formal email should introduce the sender. If you already contacted the addressee several times. There is no need to introduce yourself, but you will have to write a few lines hoping they are good.
- My name is Josef. I’m a student at Michigan college. I have just got my B.A.
- I hope this message finds you well.
The body of a formal email should explain why you should send the email. It is important to write concise and clear emails. Bear in mind that the receiver doesn’t know you very well. So, try to use as many details as possible.
The ending is very important. Since the closing statement is the last thing the addressee will read, make sure you leave a good impression. A good closing in a formal email should remind the receiver who you are. (It should include your name, contact information, and a signature).
The most common expression you can write in closing is “sincerely”. However, there are other expressions to use, for instance: best regards, fine regards, respects …etc.
- Josef Dakai
- B.A. holder from the University of Michigan
Keep the following tips with you:
- Subject line: Be specific and clear.
- Salutation: address the receiver by name if possible. Use honoring expressions such as: “dear”.
- Body: explain your message. Use correct grammar and spelling.
- Signature: your email should have a closing. Use your first and last name. If you are writing on behalf an association or an organization, write its name.