Writing Business E-mails in English, Part 4
Opening and Closing Statements in Business E-mails
In Part 4 of Writing Business E-mails in English, we will be looking at opening sentences and closing sentences. As I mentioned in the earlier posts, this will depend on the tone of your e-mail. Is it formal or informal? Do you know the person you are writing to? The answers to these questions will help you to know which sentences are the most appropriate to use.
You are writing to someone for the first time. You want to introduce yourself and your company. For this type of e-mail, you would always use a formal tone. You don’t need to state your name in the body of your e-mail. Your name will appear at the end of the e-mail in the signature line.
Incorrect: Hello, I am Patrick Smith from VRI Petroleum Company.
Correct: I am the sales manager for VRI Petroleum Company.
You are writing to request information:
Incorrect: What is your return policy?
Correct: I am writing to ask about your policy regarding returns.
You are writing to inquire about a job position:
Incorrect: Hello. I am interested in information about your company. Are there any jobs open?
Correct: I am interested in applying for a position in your company.
Remember in Part 3, I wrote about direct and indirect language. It’s not good to be too direct, even with someone that you know well. Let’s look at an example.
You are writing to someone that you already know. You are writing to request help with a project.
Incorrect: I want help with a project.
Correct: I am wondering if you could help me with a project.
You are writing to someone that you know to request more information.
Incorrect: I want to know the answers to these questions.
Correct: Could you send me the following information?
Let’s now look at formal and informal closing sentences. This would be the last sentence in your e-mail before the signature line. When you can, offer thanks for whatever it is that you are writing about. That is always a good way to close an e-mail. Even when you are writing about a problem, you can still offer “thanks” in the closing line such as:
- Thank you for your attention to this matter.
- Thank you for your prompt response to this issue.
- I appreciate your assistance with this matter.
- I look forward to hearing from you.
Let’s look at some formal and informal examples of closing statements.
You are inviting a co-worker to a meeting.
Formal: I appreciate your consideration of our request.
Informal: Hope to see you then.
You are requesting information from a client.
Formal: Thank you for helping us to complete our records.
You are requesting more information about a product.
Formal: I appreciate your kindness and support.
Informal: Thanks for your help.
You are writing an e-mail to someone to request an appointment.
Formal: I look forward to contacting you next week to set up an appointment.
Informal: I’ll be giving you a call next week to set something up.
In the next post, we will look at the body of the e-mail and “calls to action”. Be sure to give Worldwide English a call if you are a professional working in the Houston, Texas area.