Writing E-mail


Use a clear, specific subject line

question for paper
Question about ENGL 105 Feeder 1.1 prompt

11/5 2 PM office hour meeting request

Use appropriate names

John Smith
Professor Smith
(unless otherwise indicated)

I am Juan.
This is Juan, from your ENGL 105 section.

State your purpose in the first lines

I have some questions about the reading and was wondering if I could ask you some questions.
I was wondering if I can make an appointment with you on Monday at 2 to discuss some questions I have about the reading material.

I’m really sorry about this e-mail, but lately I have sudden responsibilities and it’s been getting hard to manage everything.
May I ask for an extension on essay 1? I have several other deadlines on the same day and would like 2 extra days to develop it.

Use polite phrases

Send me the document ASAP.
Please e-mail me the document as soon as possible. Thanks very much.

Send me your reply.
If you can reply to confirm the details, that would be great.

Proofread for spelling/grammar errors

Is their a page limit?
Is there a page limit?

I can definately make the the time.
I can definitely make the time.


✗ poorly written e-mail

FROM: 费婷
SUBJ: Hello!

I am Tina Fei. I have some questions about the reading but can’t come to your office hour.
I will come to ur office at 2:00 tomorrow instead.



Untranslated name
Unclear subject line

Unclear how the e-mail sender knows the recipient
Decision made without consent

Internet slang

✓ well-written e-mail

FROM: Tina Fei
SUBJ: 4/2 meeting request

Prof. Smith,
I’m a student in your BIOL 101 – 001 class. I have some questions about last week’s reading material and would like to discuss them with you.

Unfortunately, I have another class during your office hours. Could I make an appointment to see you at another time? Are you available at 2:00 tomorrow?

I appreciate your help.

Tina Fei


Clear subject line

Appropriate opening
Introduction in context
Clear purpose

Polite phrasing
Specific question

Polite phrasing

Appropriate closing

Useful phrases

Polite openings

People you don’t know: title and family name

Prof. Smith
Ms. Smith
Dear Ms. Smith

Professors and other professionals: address them based on however they’ve signed

Jane Doe → Dear Ms. Doe
JD → Dear Ms. Doe
Jane → Dear Jane

Polite closings

Polite generic

Best regards


Yours truly


Have a great weekend

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