Email Etiquette

Emails have become an integral part of our lives; therefore, it is very important to know the art of email writing in order to avoid any misunderstandings. In this article, you can familiarize yourself with the basic rules of email etiquette, with good and bad examples, useful tips, and common mistakes.

An email can be divided into three main parts: the subject line, the letter itself, and the signature.


Always write a concise subject line for the email

As a student, you will write mostly to professors/faculty members. Many of them open their emails based on the subject line; therefore, it is important to write a descriptive subject line.

Note: If you are writing to your professor, always include in the subject line the course number (for example, MATH 274, Section 1, Writing and Communication course 300, Section 8).

After you make sure that your subject line is concise and understandable, you can move on to the letter itself.


Organize your letter in a clear and structured way

Here are some steps that would help you write a good letter:
You can ask your professor how they would like to be called; however, here are several examples of basic greetings: "Dear Professor", "Dear [Name Surname]", "Dear [Department’s Name] Team,", etc.

Note: If your professor has a PhD, it would be good to use "Dr. [Surname]" in your greeting. For example: "Dear Dr. Grace..."
Introduce yourself if needed
If you are writing an email to a person for the first time, you can briefly introduce yourself. You do not need to write your whole life story. Your name, surname, year of study, and major are enough.
Write precisely about the reason you are writing an email.
Write a request if it is needed
You can write about the outcome you would like to achieve after sending the email.
Do not forget to include the sign-off at the end of the email in order to be polite. Examples of the most common sign-offs: "Sincerely", "Best regards", "Kind regards", "Thank you in advance", "Thank you for your time," etc.
It is recommended to communicate in English if you are writing an email to people from our university (Academic Advisor, Professor, Offices, Student clubs, and others). Since our language of instruction is English, the emails must be in English as well.


The third part is the signature

It is not mandatory; however, if you would like to be perceived professionally, it is good to have it. At our university, we have standardized signatures, and you can make your own in the Gmail settings.

Before we look at some examples, let’s consider some tips:
  • Check your spelling, grammar, and punctuation before sending.
  • Do not write in an informal way. "Hey", "dude", "OMG", "Lol", and other slang must be avoided.
  • Think about your writing tone. Do not use sarcasm or jokes, and do not be rude.
  • Call out attachments. If you attached something to your email, it would be good to mention it in your letter.
  • Divide your email into paragraphs in order to make it more readable and understandable.
  • Use the default font and size.
  • Do not use Caps Lock if it is not needed.
  • Use phrases such as "Hope this email finds you well", "Hope you are doing well," and others in order to be more polite.


Now we will consider some examples. There will be 3 good ones and 3 bad ones.
Let’s start with the good one.
Example 1
The next example is an email to the professors. Look at the subject line: it includes the course number and section. Again, appropriate greeting, reason, calling out attachments, and the request.

Example 2
Another good example. You can see a polite phrase "Hope you are doing well".

Example 3
Here are some bad examples of emails:

Example 4
Example 5
Example 6