Unit 4: Starting and finishing emails

Unit 4: Starting and finishing emails

How should you begin and finish an email message to someone you don't know? Find out here!

Starting and finishing emails

Here are some important points to consider when starting and finishing an email.

Formal or informal?

We write a formal email when we want to be polite, or when we do not know the reader very well. A lot of work emails are formal. We write informal emails when we want to be friendly, or when we know the reader well. A lot of social emails are informal. Here are some examples of formal and informal messages:

Formal Informal
An email to a customer 
A job application
An email to your manager
A complaint to a shop
An email from one company to another company

A birthday greeting to a colleague
An email to a colleague who is also a good friend
A social invitation to a friend at your workplace
An email with a link to a funny YouTube clip
A message to a friend on a social networking site

Before you start writing an email, decide if you want to write a formal email or an informal one.

Layout and punctuation

Starting an email: We normally write a comma after the opening phrase. We start a new line after the name of the person we’re writing to.

Finishing an email: We normally write a comma after the closing phrase. We start a new line to write our name at the end.

Formal Informal

Dear Mr Piper,
I am writing to thank you for all your help.
I look forward to seeing you next week.
With best wishes,
John Smith

Hi Tim,
Many thanks for your help.
See you next week.

Phrases for starting and finishing

Here are some phrases which we use for starting and finishing emails. We use these in formal and informal emails:

Starting phrases Dear Tim,
Good morning Tim,
Ending phrases Regards,
With best wishes,
With many thanks and best wishes,

You also need to know which phrases to use only in a formal email or an informal one:

  Formal Informal
Starting phrases

Dear Mr Piper,
Dear Sir or Madam,

Hi Tim,
Hi there Tim,
Morning/Afternoon/Evening Tim,
Hello again Tim,
Ending phrases Yours sincerely,
Yours faithfully,
Yours truly,
Bye for now,
See you soon,

Task 1

Task 2

Task 3

Task 4

Average: 3.8 (43 votes)

Submitted by prabhakaran729 on Thu, 11/06/2020 - 05:40

Hello, Hope your doing well. I would like to know how to start new email communication with new customers and he also unknown person. how to finished email and thanks to them

Submitted by omanov on Mon, 01/06/2020 - 09:19

we spend more time to learn and we have better results
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Submitted by OlaIELTS on Fri, 29/05/2020 - 22:55

It's really fabulous.

Submitted by _SENDavid_ on Sun, 17/05/2020 - 13:00

Dear LearningEnglish Team You wrote "We normally write a comma after the opening phrase" .... I learned it the other way round. So I write no comma after both, starting and ending phrase. Am I doing right though? Thanks David

Hello _SENDavid_,

That sounds fine. As it says above, we use commas after the opening phrase ("Dear Joe,") and after the closing phrase ("Best Regards,").



The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Jamalov Nodir on Fri, 08/05/2020 - 14:47

I got a good teaching for my result I had already done.

Submitted by yuldus83 on Sun, 03/05/2020 - 00:15

Dear team members, Let me express my gratitude to all members of your team for presenting such useful task, it really helps to develop language skills. Kindest regards, Yulduz

Submitted by surya on Sat, 04/04/2020 - 03:16

I am working in an international organization in Nepal. I am responsible for official mail frequently. It is very useful to me.

Submitted by Adam Smith on Wed, 09/10/2019 - 01:26

Dear Mr. Peter M, Many thanks for your great advice ! Best regards,

Submitted by Adam Smith on Sat, 05/10/2019 - 09:38

Our company is steel manufacturer, a formal writing is recommended. Supposed that Tim Cook is my manager, "Dear Mr. Tim" or "Dear Mr. Tim Cook" are accepted. How about "Dear Tim", is it consider as impolite ?