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 EvgeniyKulikov on Tue, 08/12/2020 - 10:13

The task was not difficult, everything turned out to be done

Submitted by margarita.draganchuk on Mon, 07/12/2020 - 17:45

Simple and interesting task, everything worked out

Submitted by Julia.a on Mon, 07/12/2020 - 02:07

Very simple task. Here I have consolidated my knowledge of the email template

Submitted by Pavel_Kharchenko on Thu, 03/12/2020 - 11:01

The tasks are quite simple, but you need to think about them.

Submitted by vika_belan on Fri, 27/11/2020 - 12:56

It was easy. Because we learned it at the Institute recently. I like that !

Submitted by Nikita Maslov on Fri, 27/11/2020 - 12:56

I would like to have more difficult tasks

Submitted by kokisaoudy on Thu, 25/06/2020 - 13:04

when we start a formal mail by introducing my self & my comp to market my product as : Dear Sir, iam karima sales coordinator in ....... is it right or not ?

Hello kokisaoudy

That is grammatically correct, though please note that spelling and punctuation are very important in English, particularly formal English. So what you wrote needs to be formatted like this: 'I am Karima, Sales Coordinator at XYZ Company'.

That is not particularly formal, though. I'm afraid I can't write your letter for you, but, for example, saying 'My name is Karima and I am a Sales Coordinator at ...' would be better here.

There aren't any emails like this one in our Writing skills section, but I'd recommend you have a look at some of the emails there to practise more.

All the best


The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by prabhakaran729 on Thu, 11/06/2020 - 05:47

Hello Team, Good Day to you, Hope your are doing well. I would like know, how to start the new email communication with new customers and he also unknown person, Subject: Just we would like to start as introduction of my company How to finished email and thanks
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Submitted by Peter M. on Fri, 12/06/2020 - 09:04

In reply to by prabhakaran729


Hello prabhakaran729,

There is no single way to do this. It really depends on the culture of the company and the tone you wish to aim at. Some companies prefer a very formal approach (Dear Sir/Madam, > Yours faithfully,), while others use a more relaxed style. We can't guess what style your company prefers and so we can't really give you any detailed help here.



The LearnEnglish Team