One of the advantages of emails over normal ’snail-mail’ letters is that they are quick and direct. We send an email for a particular purpose and we expect a fast response or immediate action. For emails – whether formal or informal – to be most effective, it is a good idea to give them a clear, logical structure.
This is should be short and give some specific information about the contents of your message.
As in letter-writing, the salutation can be formal or informal, depending on how well you know the person you are writing to.
|Dear Mr, Mrs, Ms …||A formal form of address, also used when first contacting a person.|
|Dear John||Less formal. Either you have had contact with person before, or they have already addressed you by your first name.|
|Hi / Hello Mary (or just the name)||Informal, usually used with colleagues you often work with. In the USA and the UK also sometimes used at first contact.|
|(no salutation)||Very informal, usually used in messages which are part of a longer email exchange.|
This is used to explain why you are writing. (Remember: the opening sentence should always start with a capital letter.)
|I’m writing to …||More formal introduction to say why you are writing.|
|Just a quick note to …||Friendly, informal way to say why you are writing.|
This is where you tell the reader what kind of response, if any, you expect.
|Looking forward to your reply.||Friendly ending, can be used in formal or informal correspondence.|
|Hope to hear from you soon.||Informal ending to indicate a reply is necessary.|
Like the salutation, this can vary from formal to very informal.
|Yours sincerely||Very formal, rarely used in email correspondence.|
|Regards / Best wishes||Most commonly used close, can be used in formal and informal emails.|
|Bye / All the Best / Best||Friendly, informal close.|
|James / Mary||Name only (or initials) is also common when writing to close colleagues.|