Writing Professional Emails Part 2

Analyze the following real emails from students for formatting, content, and politeness:


Email #1: How could you improve the formatting and wording of this email?

to: Julia Doe <juliadoe@gmail.com>
date: Mon, Dec 10, 2010 at 4:00 PM
subject: today’s class


Dear Julie

Hi. This is Janos.
I probably won’t be able to attend today’s class and thursday’s class.
But if my absentity is not enough, I will take time today to go to class.
Could you inform me in case?

Sorry to take your time, but I think I’m running out of time to finish my report to my company…

Best Regards



Email #2: How could you improve these short emails?

from: ——
to: Julia Deak <jdeak@dolphin.upenn.edu>
date: Thu, Oct 9, 2008 at 9:00 AM
subject: Hi, this is Noah.

I am Noah. I’d like to hand in the essay of unit 2.

Attached is the file. Please receive it.

See you tomorrow^^


From: —-

To: m2@sas.upenn.edu

Date: February 26, 2011

Subject: statement of purpose

Hi Meredith,

I have been working for couple of week at my statement of purpose. Finally I completed. Could you check my statement purpose and my resume. I want to apply University of Wisconsin Law School but the deadline is March 1 so I really need them tomorrow. I am sorry I am late.




From: ——–

To: m2@sas.upenn.edu

Date: February 9, 2010

Subject: Shamma


Hi Meredith ,

I reviwe the passion essay  , can you accept it and check it  ?




Compare these emails. Find 3 problems with #3. Then say how #4  is more polite.

Email #3:

Dear Doe,

I am applying for a summer institute and I need a recommendation letter. The deadline is tomorrow. Could you please write one for me? I am attaching the form below.

Thank you!
My sincerely,



Email #4 (written 2 months before deadline):
Dear Julia,


How is your life in Seattle? I have not seen you for a long long time. I hope everything goes well with you.


This is my second year for TESOL program. As I have been working as a research assistant for Prof. Perfecto and Prof. Bien, I am more and more interested in doing research, therefore, I plan to apply for the Ph. D. program at GSE. However, many of the professors that have taught me cannot write a recommendation letter because they are the members of the committee. I was wondering could you write a recommendation letter for me? I do understand if you cannot since I know you are very busy. I hope you understand.


I will e-mail my SOP, transcript and resume to you if you can write a letter for me. Thank you very much. I look forward to your response. Have a good weekend!






Writing Professional Emails

Knowing email etiquette is a very important thing nowadays. Here you can see some basic rules and examples.


In an email, as in regular writing, sentences should be grouped into paragraphs. You can indent each one 5 spaces or just skip a line between paragraphs. Do not start each sentence on a new line!


Use the subject line in the header of the email to briefly describe what is in your email. Good examples of subjects are “ENG 103 assignment attached,” “a request from John Doe,” or “question about class (ENG 103)”.


Emoticons are generally best left out. Use your words, especially adjectives.


Emails are like letters: they should contain a greeting or salutation, an opening or introduction, a body in which you explain the purpose for writing, a conclusion, and a closing.



If your name appears in a non-Roman character set, you will want to state your full name in the email, but probably not in the subject line. You can introduce yourself in the first line of the first paragraph: “This is Minhee.” And be sure to sign your full name at the bottom in the form FirstName LastName: Minhee Kim. You can program your email to sign every message with an electronic signature that includes your full name and title or contact information if you’d like.


Professors should be addressed as EITHER:

Prof. Lastname     OR      Dr. Lastname     OR      Firstname  (sometimes)
Professors are referred to as NEITHER:

Prof. Firstname        NOR      Lastname        NOR    Firstname (usually)

To get a better understanding of writing email I will give you a couple of examples so you can analyze them. But that’s going to be in our next post. Stay tuned!