/ How do you write an Official eMail?

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The Lemming - on 05 Sep 2013
At school I was taught how to write letters to official organisations. However since I left school, I have sent off far more emails than I ever did by putting pen to paper. The problem is, I don't know if I am doing it right.

Is there a formal way of composing an email to an organisation, or is it just a free-for-all with how they are composed?
Turdus torquatus on 05 Sep 2013
In reply to The Lemming:

I believe it must start with "So" and conclude "Just sayin".
Byronius Maximus - on 05 Sep 2013
In reply to Turdus torquatus:

I actually LOLed at that :-)
Philip on 05 Sep 2013
In reply to The Lemming:

If you capitalize the letters before the @ sign your email will be higher ranked in their inbox.

If you use # instead of @ in the e-mail it always looks more professional and will be marked urgent.
tlm - on 05 Sep 2013
In reply to The Lemming:

Here you go.

My top tip is not to use an e-mail address such as Lemmibondageloverwhiprodent@hotmail.com
dissonance - on 05 Sep 2013
In reply to tlm:

> My top tip is not to use an e-mail address such as Lemmibondageloverwhiprodent@hotmail.com

we auto delete your emails because of the content not the address. Although admittedly hotmail is fairly repulsive
The Lemming - on 05 Sep 2013
In reply to tlm:
> (In reply to The Lemming)
>
> Here you go.
>
> My top tip is not to use an e-mail address such as Lemmibondageloverwhiprodent@hotmail.com

I may actually use that as a spam address one day. :-)

But seriously, do you start with Dear sir or Dear Mr Smith?

And do you end with some formality or something less formal like Cheers?

It gets even more tricky when you have to reply to companies and their official place to comment is a teeny-tiny box that just magically keeps scrolling where you haven't got a clue what you've typed?

Or is it still a form of communication that is still evolving and as such there isn't a standardised etiquette?

steelbru - on 05 Sep 2013
In reply to The Lemming:
I'd not use Dear Sir or equivalent, I would include any reference right at he top, eg insurance policy number if emailing your insurance company, etc

I always finish with Regards, <my name>
tlm - on 05 Sep 2013
In reply to The Lemming:

> But seriously, do you start with Dear sir or Dear Mr Smith?

Doh! I forgot to paste my link!

http://www.wikihow.com/Write-a-Formal-Email
altirando - on 05 Sep 2013
In reply to The Lemming: I tried to ask my gp about something via an email but had a very strong response that all communications had to be in writing addressed to the practice head and sent by post. A deliberate way of putting off any possible criticism or just doctors living in a bygone age?
teh_mark - on 06 Sep 2013
In reply to The Lemming:

If it's a run-of-the-mill email to a client, supplier or similar, I start with 'Hi [name]' and end with 'Best Regards, Mark'. If it needs to be 'formal formal' I find it harder to judge, but usually fall back to 'Dear [name or Sir/Madam]' and 'Yours Sincerely/Faithfully]' like you would with a letter.

With regards to annoying tiny scrolling text boxes, use a word processor and copy/paste into the box when you're happy with what you've written.
RockAngel on 06 Sep 2013
In reply to The Lemming: a lot of jobs want you to email your cv to them so i use the main body of the email to write the application letter. Its structured exactly the same way as a printed letter.
Emails to friends and family are much less formal.
Pete Cook - on 06 Sep 2013
In reply to The Lemming: If you have microsoft publisher it contains templates for email at many levels from personal to business layouts that you can add to you MS Email accounts. pete
ByEek - on 06 Sep 2013
In reply to The Lemming:

Dear Lemming,
Blah blah blah.

Yours sincerely (or Kind regards)

ByEek
Jim Fraser - on 06 Sep 2013
In reply to The Lemming:

All my emails get a lot of attention. They are not chat. They are permanently recorded written communications. I will spend a long time creating a message that I hope the recipient will respect and understand.

All my email have proper subjects, sometimes with 2 or 3 sections to it separated by dashes or colons.

They are all topped with Hello and tailed with Regards.

I will use sub-headings in capitals if necessary. (No italics or bold because I do not know what software it will be read with.)

Thunderbird has good spelling dictionaries in a range of languages. I use Visualk Thesaurus to get a handle on those tricky meanings.

All links are introduced by a preceding complete sentence.

I often include other contact details as appropriate.
The Lemming - on 06 Sep 2013
In reply to Philip:
> (In reply to The Lemming)
>
> If you capitalize the letters before the @ sign your email will be higher ranked in their inbox.

I thought that email addresses were case sensitive, and if I got caps and lower case characters mixed up then the email would bounce. I just experimented and, wow, it does not matter if the shift key is used or not.

Not sure about getting mail ranked higher in the in-box as I don't get that much mail to test this.

Nice tip to know though.

Cheers
Carolyn - on 06 Sep 2013
In reply to The Lemming:

> Not sure about getting mail ranked higher in the in-box as I don't get that much mail to test this.

Surely it depends how the recipient has their inbox set up. Mine is always arranged by the time it arrived, otherwise I get completely befuddled.
Carolyn - on 06 Sep 2013
In reply to altirando:
> I tried to ask my gp about something via an email but had a very strong response that all communications had to be in writing addressed to the practice head and sent by post. A deliberate way of putting off any possible criticism or just doctors living in a bygone age?

I suspect bygone age - I've contacted the kid's consultant by email after I couldn't track her down by phone.

Mind you, I was rather perturbed the local (?national) GP email system doesn't appear to tell you if a message is undeliverable (eg wrong spelling of a name that has two variants), it just swallows it without trace. I can imagine that's led to stuff being lost, and hence a reluctance to rely on it....
dissonance - on 06 Sep 2013
In reply to The Lemming:

> Nice tip to know though.

ah someone is taking the piss.

As a more helpful hint for personal use you can often insert in punctuation without it changing the email.
So for example with gmail the . is ignored. Which means you can use it in an email address on a site to uniquely identify them
L.emmibondageloverwhiprodent@gmail.com can be UKC
Le.mmibondageloverwhiprodent@gmail.com can be UKB

Likewise plus can be used in the same manner but to append entire words.
Lemmibondageloverwhiprodent+fred@gmail.com
would still go to your main email address. However that is a tad less subtle in use.

andic - on 06 Sep 2013
In reply to RockAngel:
> (In reply to The Lemming) a lot of jobs want you to email your cv to them so i use the main body of the email to write the application letter. Its structured exactly the same way as a printed letter.

You might be better off with just a couple of lines stating its about job xyz please find attached a Covering letter and CV (and attaching a pdf of your covering letter along with your CV). Reasoning being it prints of nicer and the person recieving the email is probably not going to be your interviewer and will want to download and circulate your relevant docs.
ads.ukclimbing.com
a lakeland climber on 06 Sep 2013
In reply to The Lemming:

This is what the standard says:

"The local-part of a mailbox MUST BE treated as case sensitive. Therefore, SMTP implementations MUST take care to preserve the case of mailbox local-parts. Mailbox domains are not case sensitive. In particular, for some hosts the user "smith" is different from the user "Smith". However, exploiting the case sensitivity of mailbox local-parts impedes interoperability and is discouraged."

Local part is the bit before the @ symbol and the domain is the bit after.

The above means that john.smith@jones.com and john.smith@JONES.COM are the same whereas John.Smith@jones.com and john.smith@jones.com are not. However most, if not all, mail servers treat everything as lower case to avoid confusion.

And to whoever suggested MS Publisher templates - please stand up against this wall so that I can shoot you!!

ALC
John1923 - on 06 Sep 2013
In reply to The Lemming:

E-mails aren't as formal. I usually write the following.

Dear Full Name ## Leave of Mr/Miss/Mrs/Ms but include titles that are earned, like Dr, Sir, Prof, Lt ect...

Thank you for .... ## Always thank them for something, even if they are a useless pain in the arse

Body of message

Regards / Warm Regards / Kind Regards ## There are too many variants.

Your Full Name

## Included by Automatic signature

Your job title
Company you work for
Email
Postal Address
John1923 - on 06 Sep 2013
In reply to John1923:

Also, subject is important. If you're doing it right, then your recipient could just read the subject line and ignore the rest of the e-mail.
Jim C - on 06 Sep 2013
In reply to Turdus torquatus:

Or

Please help, I have been kidnapped, and I need money...

I need your bank details, as you have won.....

Having arousal problems? Viagra at cheap......
Jim C - on 06 Sep 2013
In reply to John1923:
> (In reply to The Lemming)
>
> E-mails aren't as formal. I usually write the following.
>
> Dear Full Name ## Leave of Mr/Miss/Mrs/Ms but include titles that are earned, like Dr, Sir, Prof, Lt ect...
>
> Should we therefore ignore acknowledging tossers like Lord, Right Honourable, and other inherited( or bought) titles?


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