Section 1The basics

Some useful phrases:

  • How are you?
  • How did the meeting go?
  • It went very well.
  • It was good to talk to you yesterday.
  • I enjoyed meeting you last week.


  • Thank you for your message.
  • I’ve attached a copy of my report.
  • Everything looks fine.
  • No changes needed.
  • Laurent – please make the arrangements.


  • Please call me.
  • Please do not hesitate to contact me.
  • I look forward to meeting you on Friday.
  • Look forward to hearing from you soon.
  • See you next week.
  • All the best.



 The writers know each other well

 Hi Kim

How are you?It was good to talk yesterday.
I’m finalizing the detailsof the Leadership Course and I want to be sure that everything is correct. Can you check the brochure again before it goes to the printer, especially pages 5-7? Please email me or call me on my mobile of any changes are needed.

Best regards



Everything looks fine. No changes needed. See you next week.

All the best


  • Hi Kim– The way you begin and end a message depends on how well you know the person you are writing to. A good guide is to use the same beginnings and endings (or a slightly more formal one) as the other person. In informal emails some people do not use the person’s name but start the message:

- Hi / Hello / Good morning/afternoon.

  • How are you?– When you know each other well, you often begin a message with a friendly greeting. Other openings:
  • Hope you are well.
  • It was good to see you last week.
  • I’m finalizing the details– Saying why you’re writing:
  • I’m writing to let you know …
  • Just a note to let you know …
  • This is to let you know that …

Note how contracted forms I’m (I am), You’re (You are) etc. are informal and often used in emails.

  • Best regards– The way to end a message is a matter of personal choice, but if you’re writing first, it is best to be more formal than too informal. Some other informal endings:
  • Regards
  • Best wishes
  • All the best
  • Cheers (very informal UK English)
  • Anders– You can begin an email by simply writing the person’s name at the top of a message.
  • No changes needed– Note that the verb are (No changes are needed) has been left out here to keep the message short and simple.


The writers know each other

 Dear Ms Novotna

It was good to meet you at the conference last week. I would like to invite you to visit us on Monday 25 May at 11:15 so that we can continue our discussions. I hope that you can come.

Yours sincerely
Piki Gonzales (Mrs)
Head of Personnel


Dear Mrs Gonzales

Thank you for the invitation. I look forward to meeting you again on 25 may at 11:15 a.m.

Yours sincerely
Tarja Novotna


  • Dear Ms Novotna- Yours sincerely – In emails which follow the style of more formal letters, if you open with a name:
  • Dear Ms
  • Dear Mrs
  • Dear Miss
  • Dear Mr

you close with

  • Yours sincerely.

However, in emails the rules are more relaxed – you can begin a message with Dearand end it with Best regards, Best wishesetc.

Msis used instead of Mrsor Missif you do not know if a woman is married or not. Some women prefer to be called Ms.

  • Piki Gonzales (Mrs)– A little old-fashioned, but when the reader may not know from your name whether you are male or female, you can help by giving your title, e.g. Piki Gonzales (ms)at the end of your message.
  • I look forward to meeting you– This is one of the most common phrases at the end of messages. Note the –ing form of the verb which follows look forward to:
  • I look forward to hearing from you.
  • I look forward to receiving the report.


The writers do not know each other

 Dear Sir/Madam

I would like to check our insurance cover. We will be shipping new equipment to our Birmingham office next month. Do we need to change our police or will it be covered?

Yours faithfully
Dr Slack (Senior Manager)


Dear Dr Slack

This is to confirm that your current policy covers you and that you do not need to take any further action. If you have any other questions, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Yours sincerely
N. Nuul (Administrator)


  • Dear Sir/Madam- Yours faithfully – Use Dear Sir/Madamin formal messages, if you do not know the person you are writing to. Dear Siris also used. This type of message usually ends with: Yours faithfully.
  • Senior Manager– As this is a first formal email, the writer includes his name and position. In well-established relationships, with frequent communication, this is not necessary.


British/American differences



  • Hi Kim


  • Yours faithfully


  • Finalising
  • Mobile(phone)
  • Insurance cover(not used in American English)
  • Queries(exist, but not often used in American English)
  • Hi Kim:

Note: American style uses a colon after the salutation for business correspondence (Dear Piki: / Dear Sir: or Madam: / To whom it may concern:).

  • This expression is not used in American English.
  • Sincerely / Yours trulywould be used instead.
  • Finalizing
  • Cell(ular) phone
  • Insurance policy(also used in British English)
  • Questions(also used in British English)



 A standard letter

 7 Nogin Road
KT3 49P

18 April 2007

Dear Mr Loelgen,

 It was good to meet you at the seminar in Paris. I am going to be in Amsterdam in June and I would like to arrange a meeting with you as you suggested.
We have many new productsthat I am sure will interest you.
Could you let me know if you are availableon June 5thor 6th?

I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Yours sincerely,
Isabel Hardy

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