How To Write A Formal Email? (Email Format and Samples)

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How to write a formal email? This blog discusses the format of a formal email, along with common email samples.

  1. Email Format
    1. Subject line
    2. Salutation
    3. Body of the email
    4. Signature
  2. Formal Email Samples
    Email sample 1: A request
    Email sample 2: A question
    Email sample 3: A complaint
    Email sample 4: A response to a query/complaint
    Email sample 5: An announcement or statement

Casual emails can be written and delivered in any way, but formal emails follow a certain format. Keeping in mind a few important points about the format can make an email look a lot better and professional.

Email Format

Let us look at the important steps to follow when writing a formal email.

1. Subject line

Grab attention with the subject line. The first part of an email which your recipient sees is the subject of the email. If you do not put it well, you risk having your email not opened until later or at all. Here are some things to keep in mind:

  • Make the subject line specific, simple, and to the point. For example, instead of ‘The internship report you asked for’, write, ‘Internship Report, {date/week/month}’.
  • The subject line should be short. Ideally, your subject line should stand around six words.
  • Keep the most important and informative words in the beginning of the subject line.
  • Use markers like Fwd, Reply, Urgent, or Notice to further narrow down the subject. It informs your reader about the nature of your email.

Some of the examples of good subject lines in formal emails can be:

  • Marketing Data for July 2018
  • Marketing Budget, October 2018
  • List of New Freelancers
  • Job Application for the Post of XYZ
  • Leave Application
  • Query Regarding the Missing Information in the Document
  • Contract Agreement – XYZ Assignment

2. Salutation

Each email is directed towards someone. Start your formal email with addressing the recipient in a manner fitting the relationship you have with them.

For people you are unfamiliar with or do not know the names of, use ‘To Whom It May Concern‘ or ‘Dear sir/madam‘.

For senior officials, stick to their designation or follow it with their name, for example, ‘To the Manager‘, ‘Dear Dr. Ghosh‘, or ‘Dear Ms. Kapoor‘.

Among colleagues, it may be appropriate to simply precede the name with a ‘Hi‘.

Do not skip the salutation and always be respectful. Never use nicknames or just surnames or first names in a formal email.

3. Body of the email

The body text is the main part of your email. It is important to follow a certain pattern when writing the body of your email.

  • The opening paragraph should set the tone and reason for your email. Introduce yourself if you are a stranger to the person you are writing to, and jot down why you are writing to them.

For example, you can begin with ‘My name is Abc, and this email is with reference to Xyz.’ or ‘This is with reference to the marketing budget as discussed in the meeting.

  • Elaborate on your concern, question, or response as comprehensively as possible. Write in a way that is easy to understand, but at the same time, do not lose your point in providing unnecessary information. Say only what is required.

  • The closing of the email should also support the nature of your email. If you are asking a question, close with something like ‘Hope to have an answer from you soon‘, or ‘Looking forward to hearing from you soon‘, and if you are addressing a question, end with ‘Hope I have sufficiently answered your query/doubts.’

4. Signature

These are the last words of your email, capable of forming a lasting impression on your reader.

  • Sign off with a simple word or phrase, which conveys respect. Safe choices are ‘Best regards’, ‘Warmly’, ‘Sincerely’, ‘Kind regards’, or simply ‘Thanks’.
  • If you are writing to someone for the first time or someone who is not an immediate colleague or senior, use your full name.
  • Furnish your name with contact information. Your phone number and/or work address are enough.
  • If you are writing on behalf of or as an employee of an institution, make sure to mention it along with adequate contact details.
  • To make your signature even more effective, you may also choose or design an attractive (but not flashy) template.

Tip: Stay up to date and do not use outdated letter writing formats. There is no need to write a date when using electronic modes of communication. Keep all your text left-aligned, instead of imitating older formats used for letters written on paper.

Formal Email Samples

Formal emails are sent in a whole variety of situations. While they use the same rules, they may have to be modified according to their purpose.

Now that you are familiar with the format of a formal email, let us have a look at few email samples.

Email sample 1: A request

Subject: Extension on Report Deadline

Dear Mr./Ms. {Recipient’s sir name},

I am writing this to request you for an extension on the XYZ project report which is due on {date}. My mother has taken ill unexpectedly, and I must leave for home tonight. I’m afraid it will take me a week before I can return to the office and complete the report.

Kindly grant me an extension till {date} for the same. I promise to deliver the project report by then.

Sincerely,
{Your name}
{Phone number}

Tip: Always state your request as clearly as possible, and supply it with a legitimate reason to make your case stronger.

One of the common request letters is a leave application letter. Check out these leave application samples for office for some help with them.

Email sample 2: A question

Subject: Enquiry about Conference Centre Timings

Dear sir/madam,

I am writing to enquire about the timings for the conference centre at {place}. Our company is hosting a delegation from {place} and is interested in booking the centre for an important corporate event on {date}. I checked your website but could not find the information I require.

If you could kindly send across the timings when the conference centre is available, we can design an itinerary at the earliest and share the schedule with you to initiate the booking procedure.

Looking forward to an early response.

Thanks,
{Your name}
{Phone nmber}
{Designation, company}

Tip: Formal emails often use indirect questions instead of direct ones (for instance, This is an enquiry about the timings…, instead of, What are the timings for…?).

Email sample 3: A complaint

Subject: Complaint against Gender Discrimination in the Office

Dear Mr./Ms. {Recipient’s name}

This is to bring to your notice an instance of discrimination on the basis of gender in the office. I was due for a meeting with {name, department} this month, and was surprised to see that I was dropped from the plan at the last minute. In a conversation with {name of offending person} on {date} about it, I was told that the move was taken because they did not feel I would land the deal as a woman and that “it was best left to the men”.

I have worked tirelessly in {Name of Company} for the last {Time Period}. Given the reputation of {Name of Company} as a female-friendly and discrimination-free workplace, and I am appalled at being treated like this.

I have previously raised this issue privately with {name of offending person} but failed to receive an apology or a satisfactory response. I wish to pursue this further with this official complaint and come to a swift and fitting solution with the help of Human Resources and other members of Management.

Hoping to see this matter dealt with at the earliest,
{Your name}
{Phone number}

Tip: Formal complaints should be strongly worded, but without losing the tone of professionalism. While putting down your grievances, make sure your email does not end up looking dramatic or undignified. It is important to state the issues or events causing offence as clearly as possible, but also in brief.

Email sample 4: A response to a query/complaint

Subject: Response to complaint dated {date}

Dear {Name of Complainant},

I would like to apologize for the disappointment caused to you on behalf of the company. I assure you that your complaint has been forwarded to the concerned department and strict action is being taken to rectify the situation.

Your satisfaction with our services and your feedback as a client are of the utmost importance to us. I would be happy to answer any further queries while we look into this matter.

Thank you for your patience.

Best regards,
{Your name}
{Phone number}
{Designation}

Tip: Always keep your tone friendly and reassuring when dealing with complaints and grievances. At no point in your email, should you attack the sender with any counter-questions or lose the attitude of formality.

Email sample 5: An announcement or statement

Subject: New member in the team!

Dear all,

I am glad to introduce you to {name of person}, who will be assisting us as an intern for the next 6 months. He is a third-year Economics student at {name of institution}, and is excited about joining the team.

I hope to see you all welcome him into the office and provide him with your help and feedback wherever necessary.

Fond regards,
{Your name}

Tip: Convey happiness or excitement in formal emails only with words and appropriate amounts of punctuation, like the occasional exclamation point.

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