Business English · email writing · writing tips

How to Write the Best Sentences Your Readers Will Love

By Jacqueline Schaalje

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Email Writing Examples

Have a look at these two examples of an email. What are the differences? Which one is better?

Version A: We greatly appreciate your recent registration to your ABC web service, and therefore I’m reaching out to you in a wish to further engage with you in order to see when you’d be available to explore what brought you to us and how we can be of further service to you.

Version B: I’m reaching out to you in connection with your recent registration to our ABC web service. I would love to spend a minute with you to see what brought you to us and how we can be of further service to you.

I hope you agree with me that email version B is better. Much better!

Why is email B better?

  1. The sentences in B are shorter. Email A is one long sentence.
  2. There are too many wordy connectors in email A: therefore and in order to. Connectors aren’t wrong in themselves, but too many in one sentence makes the sentence hard to understand.

Don’t get me wrong. I have nothing against long sentences, but too long is too long. How do you know it’s too long? When there is too much information in one sentence. When you want to start giving new information, this is when you need to start a new sentence.

Writing Business Emails

In short, the longer sentence in email A makes it less understandable and less clear. You want to avoid this especially in business emails. Business emails need to be clear and readable, because you don’t want to waste people’s time. Your aim is that people do the things that you ask them about in your email. If your email is hard to understand, that’s when your readers and business partners won’t get your point or will make mistakes.

Here’s another example:

Let’s try to think of a way to make this email’s sentences shorter.

Version A: This is to fill you in that despite our having finished the repairs of the roofs of your holiday homes 1-6, we will be unable to complete the rest of the homes 7-12 before the end of the current week due to expected rain beginning from 12 pm this afternoon. As soon as the weather clears we will resume work, and meanwhile we apologize for this delay and ask for your understanding.

Try this for yourself. Underneath is what I did. Your version could be different and it could still be good.

Version B: This is to inform you that we have made a lot of process on your roofs in recent days. The repairs to the roofs of holiday homes 1-6 have been completed. Unfortunately we won’t be able to do numbers 7-12 before the end of this week, as rain is expected from 12 pm this afternoon. Consequently, we shall have to wait until the weather clears again. We apologize for this delay and ask for your understanding.

Note: Perhaps you’ve noticed yourself: As you make sentences shorter, it doesn’t always mean that you make the email shorter. Sometimes you need to explain a little bit more to make things clearer. That’s okay, as the most important thing is to be understandable and make your message easy to read.

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Your Turn to Practise Your Writing

Now it’s your turn: Rewrite the following two emails.

The suggested answers are at the bottom of this page.

Email 1

Version A: We thank you for your notification from your client about unexpected fees for international deliveries and your attached shipping policy and we suggest to solve this issue by placing a link underneath your shopping cart which says: International deliveries, which will certainly avoid similar misunderstandings in the future.  Of course we can do this for you should you so like.

Email 2

Version A: We are very disappointed with our recent purchase of your 3D-scanner which was done through your local representative in our country, who also offered us two courses to familiarize our team with the use of the scanner and all the apps that are associated with it. We still feel that we struggle to fully benefit from the stunning performance this device is capable of and we urgently seek a solution from you to overcome this problem as we are keen to prolong our cooperation with you.

Want to practise more writing? Here is an article about shortening/reorganizing your sentences.

You can also download my writing guide on Amazon.

Suggested Answers to the Exercises:

Email 1

Version B: Thank you for forwarding your shipping policy notification for your website. We also read the complaint you received from your clients about extra fees for international deliveries. To avoid these issues in the future, we suggest that you place a link underneath your shopping cart which says: International deliveries. In that way you make sure customers know what they can expect from you and there won’t be any unpleasant surprises. If you’d like us to insert the link for you, we’d gladly be of help.

Email 2

Version B: We recently bought a 3D-scanner for our dental clinic through your local representative in our country. Although we’re delighted with the superior quality of your scanner, our team is still struggling with all the functions that the scanner and the diverse apps can do. This is despite the fact that we’ve taken two courses offered by your rep. We feel that those courses weren’t good enough to be able to use the scanner effectively. We’d appreciate it if you could suggest a solution to our problem, as we really want to keep working with you.

2 thoughts on “How to Write the Best Sentences Your Readers Will Love

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