There are different reasons for writing formal emails.
The basic format is the same, but of course the content will vary depending on the purpose of the email.
Format / Structure of a Business or Formal Email
1. Subject Line
- Topic of Email
- Concise statement of what the email is about
2. Salutation / Opening Greeting
- Dear Sir / Madam (if you do not know the person)
- Dear Prof Rohan / Dear Ms Salvatore (if you know the name of the recipient)
- Give your email context.
- State how you know the recipient of the email,
- I attended your talk on public speaking at the University.
- I purchased one of your products (Order No. PTP15667)*. Indicate Order Number in case of business or sale transaction
- I refer to your advertisement for the post of Industrial Designer in the job section of The Times (Ref: 17.05.2015, Section 3, page 12)
- I read a review of your product in the December 2016 issue of Industrial and Occupational Safety.
- You could refer to a previous meeting, conversation or prior contact (if relevant)
- We met at a conference last month.
- In reference to our earlier email correspondence dated 22.05.15.
- Ms Simmon introduced us at the sales meeting last Friday.
- I worked as an intern in your company last summer.
4. Body of Email
- Reason for writing the email
- Making a request such as issuing an invitation to an event, e.g. I would like to invite you to…
- Seeking information, e.g. I would be grateful if you could please send me information about…
- Posing a question, e.g. I would like to know…
- Giving Information, e.g. We are pleased to inform you… / I am glad to let you know
- Filing a complaint, e.g. I am writing to express my dissatisfaction with….
- Acknowledging / addressing a complaint, e.g. We are sorry to hear about your …
- Applying for a job (Cover letter), e.g. I would like to apply for the post of … / I am interested in the position of ….
- Mention of Attachment (if relevant)
- Please find attached a document giving full details of the programme.
- I am attaching the information sheet for your reference.
- I am sending the brochure as a pdf file for your information.
- Attached is a copy of my Curriculum Vitae for your reference.
- Additional Information
- If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to contact me.
- Please feel free to contact me if you require further information.
- Please contact me if I can be of further assistance
5. Complimentary Close
- Can include a sentence to initiate future contact, e.g.
- I look forward to hearing from you.
- I look forward to your reply.
- Thank you in advance.
- Thank you for your kind consideration.
6. Signing off
- Yours sincerely (if you opened with the name, e.g. Ms George)
- Yours faithfully (if you opened with Sir/Madam)
7. Sender’s Name (Your name!)
8. Position of Sender + Contact details
- Health and Safety Officer, Tel: 0988-65723
*Look at the example in Coursebook page 14 and see my other post for Samples of formal emails.
Homework – Mon 27.3.17
Write an email – Requesting Information
- Your name is Carole Lim.
- You are the Health and Safety Officer in a woodworking company (name of your company: WoodWerk) based in Lancaster, U.K.
- You read an article about a revolutionary earplug developed by Ms Sharan Jafri in the latest issue of the Engineering and Technology Journal (Feburary 2017)
Write an email to Ms Sharan Jafri to request:
- Technical details of this product
- Price and minimum order requirements.
- Start with the Subject Line.
- Write an email of about 70-90 words
More resources for / about writing emails: