Lesson Transcript

Hi, everybody. My name is Alisha. In this lesson, we're going to talk about an introduction to email writing. I have email writing here, but this is email writing, especially for business or for other formal situations. We're going to talk about the format, the general format of an English email and we're going to talk about some patterns that you can use maybe to explain yourself or to introduce an idea and so on. We'll see a few examples. Let's get started.
Alright. First, I want to take a look at the general format, the basic parts of an email, an email at least in terms of American English business emails. Simply put -- we begin with a greeting, a simple greeting, the "Dear" part of your letter. A greeting, perhaps then an introductory phrase or something that introduces the purpose, the reason you are writing the email. Following that will be any background information or any details you need to provide to make the purpose of your email clear. Following that, a closing statement, something to kind of wrap up to show your reader your ending the message and then a sign-off, which is really the final point before your name in the email.
We're going to talk about these points. Let's look at some patterns you can use in these emails. Let's begin with the greeting part of your email. If you don't know the person receiving your email, you can use the expression, "To whom it may concern." This is kind of a classic line. Some people feel it's a little bit old-fashioned, but it's polite and most people are familiar with it. "To whom it may concern" just means the person related. This email is to the person related to this inquiry, to this question. It just means, in other words, "I don't know who to address this email to, but please give it to the proper person, the appropriate person." This is a polite way to say that, "To whom it may concern." We don't use this in speech. "To whom it may concern" is good for opening emails, for your greeting in emails.
If, however, you do know the person you are sending the email to, you can begin with "Dear," then add "Mr., Ms., or Mrs." The difference between "Ms." and "Mrs.," "Mrs." is used for married women, "Ms." is used for unmarried women. If you don't know, is she married, not married, use "Ms." "Ms." is the safer choice. You can also use a title like a "Professor" or "Doctor" if you know that the other person is a doctor, has a PhD, is a professor, assistant professor. If you know their title, you can use that in the greeting. "Dear Professor XYZ" or "Dear Dr. ABC," for example. You can also use department names here. "Dear," maybe "International Department Staff," for example. You can use the name of the department and staff. If it's a little bit more general, like you don't know exactly who to send it to but you do know the department, you can use "Department Staff" there, department name in this case.
Okay. Once you have written your greeting at the beginning of the email, then you can go into your introduction and your purpose. Why are you writing the email? These are a few patterns that you can use. First, "My name is." If this is the first time you have contacted the other party, the other person, you can use this to introduce yourself. In my case, "My name is Alisha and I am writing regarding," and then your topic. "Regarding" means about, so you're putting this about statement before your topic. "My name is Alisha and I'm writing regarding studying English," for example. Your topic should probably be a noun phrase. Whatever it is, whatever the topic of your email inquiry is, you can put it here.
A simpler one, maybe you already know the other person. You can say, "I'm writing regarding," your topic. "I'm writing regarding English studies at your school," for example. Another one, "I'm writing to reach out about." Here, I've used "about." You can use "regarding" here, too. "Regarding" just sounds a little bit more formal than "about." "Reach out" though, this implies you're maybe introducing something or you want someone to do something for you. "I'm writing to reach out about a new event I'm planning." Maybe you're trying to gather support for a new event, for example. "To reach out," you're introducing something, you may be asking for help for something. One more, "I'm writing to see." Here, I have "to see," meaning to check, to check with you, in other words.
"I'm writing to see if you would be interested in." "Would be interested in" means in the future, is there a chance you would be interested in something? "Interested in," again a topic. "I'm writing to see if you would be interested in coming to an event later this month. I'm writing to see if you would be interested in teaching a seminar in my school," for example. This is something, again, you want the other person's participation or you want them to do something for you, you can ask about their interest here. This is much better than saying, "Please do this." "Please do XYZ" sounds too direct. Ask if the other person is interested in. Would they be interested in something? Much better introduction.
Okay. These are a few simple examples when you're making a request or when you're writing about a general topic. How do you then explain some background and some details about this point? If you are writing regarding like a question, maybe you ordered something from the company, there was a problem, or maybe it was a service transaction, some kind of like business transaction, that's your topic. For example, "My name is Alisha and I'm writing regarding a textbook I ordered." If you want to write and explain a problem, you can use a couple of these patterns, these top two. For example, "I placed an order for a textbook on January 15th but it hasn't arrived." Here, the product I ordered, the date of my order and maybe an order number would be good, too. After this statement, you can explain the problem. For example, "The textbook I received was wet" or "The textbook was the wrong textbook." You can explain the problem after this expression. These are perhaps for orders or maybe a service situation.
Let's look at the second pair here. If you're looking for someone to do a job for you or if you want someone's participation in something, you can try using one of these patterns. Let's look at the first one. "We're looking for someone to," plus your task. "We're looking for someone to help us with data entry. We're looking for someone to teach English lessons on the Internet." "Would you be interested?" Again, we have the same, "Would you be interested?" as we saw up here, asking about their interest. If you say, "Please do this" or "Do this for us," it's too direct. Use "Would you be interested?" We usually say, "Would you be interested in participating? Would you be interested in teaching? Would you be interested in leading the lesson?" for example.
Ask would that other person like to do that thing or are they interested in learning more. Here is one way to invite someone for something, or to make a request of someone's time or a request of someone's skills. Here's one pattern. Another one, "We're planning an event and would like to extend an invitation." "To extend an invitation" is a formal expression which means we want to invite you. Here, this is our official invitation. "To extend an invitation" means to invite someone to something, but this is a formal expression we use. "To extend" means like to put something out. Like to make something longer. Imagine your arm coming out, "To extend an invitation," like here on our hand. "We are planning a seminar and would like to extend an invitation to you," perhaps as well. This is for an event invitation, or maybe there's something else you would like to invite this person to like, "We're planning a conference and would like to extend an invitation to you to give a speech at the conference," for example. There are many ways we can change this sentence, to invite someone to participate in something.
Alright. Let's move on then to some closing messages. After you've explained the background and the details and you've kind of asked the key question or explained the problem, then we can show the reader that the email is finished by including one of these expressions. These are just a few examples but they're quite general. First, "Thank you for your time." This is good for maybe a simple inquiry or if you're explaining a problem perhaps and you just want to express your appreciation. "Thank you for your time." That's a nice one.
Another one, "I look forward to hearing from you soon." "I look forward to hearing from you soon" shows you expect a reply from the other person. It's a little bit of a push in this case. "I look forward to hearing from you soon. I look forward to receiving a reply from you soon." You're expecting a reply in a timely fashion. You're expecting a reply in a reasonable amount of time. One more, "If there is any additional information I can provide, I would be happy to prepare it." This means if there's something else, additional information here, if there's any additional information that the other person needs, you, the writer of the email, are happy to prepare that information. In other words, "This is an invitation. If you need something, please let me know. I will prepare that."
These are a few nice sentences you can close your email with. Then the final part in email writing is the sign-off. There are many different sign-offs. Here are a few that I feel are common and easy to use and polite as well. "Sincerely" is good. "Sincerely" is quite basic. You can use that in most situations without trouble. It just sounds quite, I guess quite typical. It doesn't sound so warm, I suppose, but it's fine to use. Another one, I personally like to use "best." "Best" shows this is short, this is kind of an abbreviated expression of my best or I wish you the best, but kind of short and a little more professional, I feel best.
Another popular one is "Warm regards." In other words, my warm feelings or like I mean this in the best way possible, I mean my email to be warmly received. Another one I've seen is "Kindly." This one is in like a request or just perhaps an information related email, "Kindly." Meaning, I intend this email to be read with kindness. Please don't mean that like I'm angry or anything. "Kindly." Sometimes I see people use "Yours" or "Sincerely yours." Those are too intimate. They are personal. Using "Yours" implies that you have a personal relationship with the person reading the email, or it could be an intimate relationship. "Yours" is something I typically avoid in professional emails. Don't use "Love" in professional emails either, or like "My love" or anything like that. Don't use that in your emails either, but stick with one of these and you should be just fine in most cases. Please just be careful. Don't use "Yours." Don't use "Love" as well.
Alright. But that's just a quick introduction to email writing, especially professional and business related emails. I hope that that was helpful for you. Thanks very much for watching this lesson and I will see you again soon. Bye.