30 lessons in 30 years / Managing People / Selling Skills


Check your grammar on emails:

Some emails are written to friends and family, and as long as you are clear, following grammar rules is not important. But business emails, or emails to superiors can be treated much like formal letters and following the grammar rules makes you look good. The email is made up of the following parts:

The heading in an email

Atop every email is a little box with a heading, which includes a From, To, and Subject line. You don’t have to worry about the grammar of the To and From boxes. The subject line is the title of your email. Most people follow standard capitalization rules for the subject line. 

The email greeting

The message often begins with a greeting (in English-teacher terminology, a salutation). These are all acceptable greetings, complete with punctuation: 

Dear Ms. Wiles, or Dear Ms. Wiles: (The one with the comma is less formal.)

To Whom It May Concern: (This one always has a colon and is ultra-formal.)

Hi Rebecca. or Hi Ms. Wiles. (Use these forms for friends and acquaintances.)

Hi Rebecca! (This one is for friends only.)

Rebecca, (Informal messages need nothing more than the name.)

Ms. Wiles, (This greeting can be a bit stern, as if you couldn’t be bothered with the Dear.)

Hi, Everyone. or Hi, Everyone! (Use these when you write to a group of friends or colleagues.)

Some writers drop the greeting altogether. This is perfectly fine, unless you happen to be writing to traditionalists, who prefer the time-honored formats, or egotists, who love seeing their names in print.

The body of an email

The body contains what you want to communicate whether they are words, links to Web sites, images, whatever. If you’re a traditionalist, your emails probably mimic paper, mailed-in-envelopes letters.

Some email programs automatically delete spaces between paragraphs when they zap the message to wherever it’s going. Plus, different operating systems don’t always play nicely together. A quotation mark may show up as a strange symbol (@ or a box, perhaps), and margins may wander in and out. Sigh.

If you really care about how the document looks, you can attach the message as a text file. That last maneuver isn’t perfect because not every bit of formatting comes through properly. But most of your document will look the way you want it to. The only surefire method to preserve every bit of formatting is to send your message as a Portable Document Format (.pdf) file, which is a picture of your document.

An email’s closing

If you haven’t bothered with a greeting, don’t worry about a closing either, unless you want to sign your name at the end of the message. If you like a big send-off, try one of these: 

Best, (short for “best regards” and good for formal and informal emails)

Sincerely, (formal)

See you soon, (informal)

Hope to hear from you, (somewhere between formal and informal)

Regards, (formal and a little old-fashioned)

All of these closings contain commas. You can also close your message simply by typing your name (Rebecca or Ms. Wiles) or with your initials (RW for “Rebecca Wiles”), in which case no commas are needed.

We recommend instaling #Grammarly which we’ve installed throughout the office. You can use it too, feel free to use our code – click here