Structure / Format for Writing Formal Emails

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)

3.   Introduction

  • 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 / Follow-up
    • If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to contact me.
    • If I can be of further assistance, please feel free to contact me.
    • Please feel free to contact me if you require further information.
    • Please contact me if I can be of further assistance
    • Should you require more information, please do not hesitate to contact me.

5.  Complimentary Close  

  • Include a sentence to initiate future contact, e.g.
    • I look forward to hearing from you.  
    • I look forward to your reply.
    • A reply would be most appreciated.
    • Thank you in advance.
    • Thank you for your kind consideration.
    • Thank you for your kind attention. 

6.  Signing off

  • Yours sincerely (if you opened with the name, e.g. Ms George)

7.  Sender’s Name 

  • Your name

8.  Position of Sender + Contact details

  •  Health and Safety Officer, Tel: 0988-65723 / Mobile: 0721-999999


*Look at the example in Coursebook page 14 and see my other post for Samples of formal emails.

Homework (2) – Monday 09.04.18 

Writing a Formal Email

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:

1) technical details of this product

2) price (request a pricing list) and minimum order requirements

Write a formal email of about 90-120 words.  Start with the Subject line.


Homework (1) 

Write an email to Plastics Incorporated asking for details of their internship programme for university undergraduates.  Address your email to Ms Rina Sim, Human Resource Executive (  Write 35-50 words.  Start with the Subject line.








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