by Jacqueline Schaalje
A number of people have written to me that they’ve been promoted to a job in which they need to correspond in English. Congratulations, first of all! Now they want to know how to write an email or letter. I also get many students who come to me for lessons on how to write better emails. The examples in this article may help you.
How to write great openings to your emails:
You have several options here.
1 You can refer to a meeting that you had before:
It was a pleasure meeting you at the conference in Stuttgart.
I enjoyed the lunch we had on Wednesday.
Thanks for the interesting meeting in which you expressed interest in our localisation software.
How have you been?
We met at the EXPO in Milan one week ago.
2 You can write in answer to an earlier correspondence:
Thank you for your letter/email.
I’m replying to your urgent text message.
Thanks for sending me your brochure.
In answer to your letter of 3 May, please know that I will be checking the details over the next days.
3 You can start directly with your reason for writing:
I’m writing to you, because we still haven’t received your bank details.
With this email I would like to inquire whether you’ve had time to look at my book proposal.
I regret to inform you that we won’t be able to meet the deadline for the new specs.
I’m pleased to announce that your design has won the audience award.
As a reminder, our sale ends on the 31st of this Month.
4 You’re writing because you got somebody’s address through another person:
My colleague, Heng Dalton, suggested I talk to you about our findings in the Egypt dig.
Dalia Leibovic from Virgin Records recommended I send you a personal invitation to my concert.
I’ve received recommendations about your services from Lily Franzen, who works at our Taipei office.
If you want to practise, try to complete the following beginnings of emails:
I’d like to remind you that …
I’m pleased to announce that …
I enjoyed meeting you at …
Thanks for expressing interest in …
I regret to inform you that …
It was a pleasure talking with you …
If you want to send me some sentences in order for me to check them, you’re most welcome to do that. My email is: firstname.lastname@example.org.
More on letter and email writing
For more about emails, check out this article about greetings. It explains when to write “Dear Madam,” or when “Dear Mr. Smith” is better, or when you can just use “Hi.”