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Email Phrases: Getting the Tone Right

Adapting your message

It can be difficult to know what email phrases to use in your business emails. This depends on whom your audience is, and if the business situation is formal or informal.  You don’t want your emails to make a business partner uncomfortable, so it is important to use the correct email phrases at the correct times.  Using an email phrase that is too formal can make you seem stiff or cold, while using one that is too informal can make you seem presumptuous or arrogant.  Here are some good phrases to use in certain situations for both formal and informal writing.

Email phrases for formal business situations

  • Talking about the last contact:  I am writing in reference to your last email about…
  • Giving the reason for writing:  I am writing concerning…
  • Giving good news:  I am pleased to inform you that…
  • Giving bad news:  I’m afraid that…
  • Asking for something:  Could you please…
  • Sending an attachment:  Please find attached…
  • Offering help at the end of an email:  If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask.
  • Talking about the next contact:  I look forward to seeing you next week.

Email phrases for informal business situations

  • Talking about the last contact:  Thanks for your email.
  • Giving the reason for writing:  I’m just emailing to…
  • Giving good news:  I am pleased to say that…
  • Giving bad news:  Sorry, but…
  • Asking for something:  Can you just…
  • Sending an attachment:  I’ve attached…
  • Offering help at the end of an email:  If you’ve got any questions, feel free to ask.
  • Talking about the next contact:  See you next week.

Using good email phrases at the right time can help you build business relationships more effectively. Let us know of any other suggestions you might have in the comments area below.


2 replies
  1. Jenny Vendiola
    Jenny Vendiola says:

    Hi Good day! I just want to leave my comment. I’m glad to read all you’re blog/ articles. They are all worth reading and informative. Its like I had a free E- training experience. I had learn a lot and can use those leanings practically. Thank you so much.

    Cheers for your company.

    Best Regards,


  2. Jennie Wright
    Jennie Wright says:

    These are brilliant because native speakers really use these phrases when writing emails.

    Here are my useful tips for getting the tone right:

    1. If you are in an email chain, look at how the other person has written their email and try to match their level of formality / tone. If they write “Hi Sebastian”, you should not reply with “Dear Bob”.

    2. If you do not know or are unsure which tone to use, formal is better than informal. It is better to sound cold than arrogant (see the tip above).

    3. Print this post and put these phrases next to your PC so you can refer to them when writing emails. This way, you will always be ready if you have to write an email under pressure.

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