10 Useful Expressions for Formal Emails
In our previous article, we talked about the rules of semi-formal communication, which is very popular in the tech field. However, there are still times when you need to write formal emails. For example, when you need to set up a meeting with someone you have never met before.
Let’s take a look at an email thread of an HR manager sending an interview invitation to a candidate and see what we can learn from it.
It was a pleasure speaking with you — a good friendly phrase to start an email (if you have previously spoken to the person, for example, on the phone).
If you have never spoken to the person before, you can say: “I hope this email finds you well”, “I hope your week is going great”, “I hope you had a great weekend”, etc.
(Your interview) is scheduled for … — use the phrase “schedule (a meeting) for (a certain time)” when you talk about arrangements.
If you want to change the time and date of the arrangement, you can use the phrase “reschedule for”. For example: “Could we reschedule our meeting for Friday, 10 am?”
(We) do appreciate — (We) want you to do something
For example: I do appreciate timely updates — I want you to give me timely updates.
Business professional attire — “attire” is a formal synonym for “clothes”. Therefore, “business professional attire” means “business professional clothing”.
(We) look forward to meeting you — a polite and friendly phrase to end an email. Note that we have to use a gerund after “to” and not an infinitive.
NOT CORRECT: I look forward to meet you.
CORRECT: I look forward to meeting you.
Do not hesitate to (call us) if… — in other words, “please (call us)”. This is a great way to express a call to action, however, keep in mind that this phrase is formal. For semi-formal or informal emails, use “Feel free to …” instead.
For example: “Feel free to share your thoughts and ideas”.
1. Note that we use “Hi” or “Hello” as a greeting in formal emails instead of “Dear”.
2. Make sure your email is legible. Include an empty line after each paragraph.
3. Make it easy on the person receiving your email. Include relevant links and details that can be of help.
4. Note the use of “formal” words. For example: “require” instead of “need”.
Let’s take a look at another example.
Just a friendly reminder regarding… — feel free to use this phrase whenever you need to remind somebody about something.
We will be introducing you to… — pay attention to the grammar tense in this sentence. This tense is called Future Continuous (or Future Progressive). Why not just use Future Simple (we will introduce), you might ask?
Future Continuous is generally used for updates while Future Simple is used for promises.
Which means, Future Continous is often a more business-appropriate and formal choice when you are informing people about plans for the future.
So (you can learn) — use “so” or “so that” when you explain the reason or purpose of the action you are describing.
For example: Please, fill out this form so we can discuss the results in our upcoming meeting.
See you then — another friendly phrase to wrap up (=end) an email. “See you then” means that you have already scheduled a specific time and date for your next meeting.
If you’re interested in learning more about the difference between formal and semi-formal communication styles, check out our Effective Communication course.