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Unit 9: Email etiquette

Don’t be rude! Be sure to follow these fundamental rules on what to write and what not to write in your emails.

Email etiquette

In Task 1, you will see the rules that are left blank in the article below.

Email dos and don'ts

A lot of people still have problems writing emails. I should know – I receive badly written emails every day! So I hope these suggestions will help.

Rule 1:

Always check you've got the right name in the 'To' box. And make sure your email only goes to the people who need to read it. Remember that if you reply to all, then everyone will get your email. Does the whole sales team really need to read your email to one person about something unimportant?

Rule 2:

This sounds obvious, but don't forget to attach them! A word of advice – attach the file you want to send before you start writing. That way, you can't forget to attach it!

Rule 3:

No. If you write 'CAN YOU LET ME KNOW THIS WEEK?' you are basically shouting at your reader. They will think you are very rude. So just don't do it.

Rule 4:

Short emails sometimes sound rude. People won't read very long emails. Keep emails short, but remember to be polite and friendly, too.

Rule 5:

This is important, especially if it's a work email. If you make mistakes in your email, people will think you also make mistakes in your work. So always check everything carefully. Ask a colleague to read and check it before you hit 'Send'.


Language level

Intermediate: B1


Can you tell me a simply rule, so my emails don't look like long letters?

I think writing letters should be as short and clear as possible

Hi Elizabeth Parisi

I'd recommend you first think about what you want to happen as a result of sending the email. For example, do you want the receiver to send you something? If so, then state, as concisely as possible, what you want. To be concise, give important details (e.g. if it's a new phone, say which model and what colour) but avoid including any other details that are not essential (e.g. how they send you the phone).

You might want to do an internet search for 'how to write concise emails' -- I'm sure you can find lots of other useful ideas. It's also a good idea to read lots of examples.

Good luck!

All the best


The LearnEnglish Team

useful task learning proper way of handling mail. Great work!

mostly I don't use email, but in the future when i write an email I'll do this rules, thanks :)

really i get benefit from all unite specially the last unite make me notice all my e-mail read and checking twice before sending ... I love my work ..

hello sir,

I am Issa. I am new the using of this web. i am asking to assist me how write an email with my supervisor when I want to request him on leave ( holiday)

Hello again Issa,

I would suggest you do an internet search for 'example email leave request' or something similar. I'm sure that you can find several good examples.

Depending on your boss, I would suggest making it neither informal nor very formal -- in most business situations, a polite, direct message using simple language is the best option.

If you have any specific question about a sentence you find in the example email, you can ask us here.

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

This is an useful website for me to learn and reinforce my English skills. After I went through 9 units, I found that I have acquired a lot of knowledge and more confident on writing email. Thank you very much.


I always use email. So that is useful for me and easy to understand more than earlier.