How to Write Effective Business Emails at Work

There’s a difference between writing emails to friends and writing emails to your boss at work.

It’s the quality of grammar and correct spelling, and tone that matters a lot in business email writing.

We tend to be laid-back while writing emails to friends and family because it’s a casual or semi-casual communication –  there’s nothing to lose if they find a few errors.

However, you can’t afford to do so when, for example, you’re applying for a job to your prospective employer.

Unfortunately, a lot of people don’t really write their business emails seriously enough even when they know it’s crucial to their job. Many don’t even know how to write a proper business email.

Here’s in this article, I’m going to share with you a few tips which will help you write proper business emails without committing any silly English errors.

First off, let’s look at an outline of a typical business email with different fragments.

  • Opening (informal greeting)
  • Referring to previous emails (format tone)
  • Stating the purpose of email (formal tone)
  • Making requests (formal tone)
  • Referring to attachments (formal tone)
  • Promising actions (formal tone)
  • Closing (informal greeting)

Opening of a Business Email

The opening of a business email usually carries an informal or casual tone. For example:

Hey Rand,

I hope you’re doing well! / How was your weekend? / How was your day off? / Hope you had a restful weekend! / How are you doing today?

Referring to Previous Emails

Before stating the purpose of your email, relate it to any of your previous correspondences. It usually carries a formal tone. For example:

  • With regards to your request for a quote…
  • In reference to our telephone conversation last week…
  • Further to our discussion at the meeting yesterday…

Stating the Purpose of Your Email

After referring to the previous correspondence, you need to state the purpose of your email. It usually carries a formal tone. For example:

  • I’d like you to have a look at the quote.
  • I’m writing to share my ideas on the project.

Making Requests in Business Emails

If you’re requesting the recipient of something, you need to use a formal tone and articulate your voice to make the best impact possible. For example:

  • I was wondering if you could allow me a day off!
  • Could you please let me know the status of the project?
  • It’d be great if you could keep me informed on the progress!

Referring to Attachments

This is one of the most crucial parts of business emails. Many tend to phrase their sentences incorrectly while referring to attachments.

I’ve written a very comprehensive post on how to refer to email attachments.

Here are some examples:

  • Please, see the attached report for your easy reference!
  • Kindly, review the attached proposal and let me know your thoughts!
  • Could you approve the attached quote!

Promising Actions

Depending on the context of your email, you can promise some action in order to set an impetus to your communication. You should usually use a formal tone here. For example:

  • I’ll get back to you after reviewing your proposal.
  • I’ll keep you posted on the progress of the project.
  • I’ll let you know the status of your interview by next week.

Closing a Business Email

You can close a business email with a casual or informal tone. This is a business courtesy. For example:

  • Have a great weekend!
  • Enjoy your day off!
  • All the best!
  • Keep up the great work!

Note: Remember to sign off your business emails in the following ways:

  • Thank You or Thanks
  • Cheers
  • Regards or Warm Regards
  • Take Care

Avoid the Following Mistakes in Business Emails

The way you write your business emails reflects a lot of your professionalism. There are a number of online resources (including Google Search) to help you hone your email writing skills.

There are no excuses for making mistakes.

Let’s take a look at some business email writing mistakes frequently committed at workplaces.

Including Exclusive Pronouns

Today, the workplace ambience is increasingly becoming more politically correct than ever. Using male pronouns while referring to female recipients is highly uncalled for.

To avoid this, use “him/her” or “his/hers”.

However, with the emergence of non-binary pronouns, you need to be more careful about referring to genders. Here’s an insightful article on BBC.

Being Confused about Similar Sounding Words

There are quite a few similar sounding words that easily confuse many. However, when you write business emails in a professional environment, you should brush up your elementary grammar to avoid any confusion. Keep a list of those common mix-ups and learn how to avoid them while writing emails.

Learn the Difference Between:

  • It’s and Its
  • Between/Among
  • Loose/Lose
  • Their/There
  • Than/Then
  • Accept/Except

Using CAPS

Using all upper case is considered a lack of etiquette in the online world, unless, of course, you want to yell at someone.

Similarly, don’t use multiple exclamation points/ questions marks/ dots.

The following examples sound odd in business emails.

  • How are you doing????
  • Please, let me know the status of the project!!!
  • I’ll wait for your reply…

Proofread Your Business Emails

Always proofread your emails before sending them. Install Grammarly’s browser extension – I’ve found this extremely useful. The good news is it’s totally free!

Here’s a screenshot of Grammarly browser extension in action.


Grammarly is arguably the most effective online grammar checker in the world right now. It’s free to sign up for Grammarly.

Hope you find these tips useful for writing business emails. Let me know your thoughts and ideas in the comments below.

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