Unit 2 e mail writing
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Unit 2 E-mail Writing. Teaching Objectives:  Knowledge Requirements: 1 To enhance students’ awareness of essential properties of English E-mail writing ; 2 To enable students to become familiar with structural parts and etiquettes of English E-mail writing ;  Competence Requirements:

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Unit 2 E-mail Writing

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Unit 2 e mail writing

Unit 2 E-mail Writing

  • Teaching Objectives:

  •  Knowledge Requirements:

  • 1 To enhance students’ awareness of essential properties of English E-mail writing;

  • 2 To enable students to become familiar with structural parts and etiquettes of English E-mail writing;

  • Competence Requirements:

  • To skillfully write structural parts or the layout of English E-mail according to the basic guidelines of business English correspondence.

Part one brief introduction of electronic commerce e mail

Part One Brief Introduction of Electronic Commerce & E-mail

  • 2.1.1 General Knowledge of Electronic Commerce & E-Mail

  • Electronic commerce has changed and is changing, or even will have been changing people’s way of business dealing and way of consuming as well as people’s way of life. It means that enterprises or companies take the advantage of Internet and information technology, aiming at upgrading operation efficiency, to automatically and electronically carry out every phase of business procedures, such as market researching, negotiating, delivering, producing, money transferring, after-sale services providing and so on, with paper documents eliminating. In such process, the tools undertaken for information exchanging, transmitting, processing and storing based on paper media are replaced by the tools based on electronic media. Through Internet or WWW instead of face-to-face contact, the buyers and sellers have far more chances to contact each other, not only one-to-one but also many-to- many without geographical constrains or time limitation.

Unit 2 e mail writing

  • E-mail, the short form for Electronic Mail, has been reckoned as one of the most popularly and frequently adopted forms of communication service which can render or receive personal and business-related messages together with almost all kinds of electronic attachments, such as texts, images, music, video clippings and software programs to or from any person in the world who has an e-mail address within a wink. Moreover, the recent, explosive expansion of the Internet has exerted the effect of bringing a large number of people together under one network, which facilitates e-mail communication, particularly electronic commerce, through Internet.

  • As an important medium of business communication, e-mail lies somewhere between telephones, face-to-face meetings, and written documents. It shares advantages with each of these means of communication in convenience, downloadingand permanent filing,group participation and speed while it also share disadvantages with conversations and paper-based media in language writing skills and non-verbalization. As such, e-mails tend to be sloppier(松散的), or less formal than paper-based communication.

2 1 2 characteristics of e mail

2.1.2 Characteristics of E-mail

  • Like the traditional letter, e-mail can convey information, exchange minds and discuss something. It has significant characteristics of its own and strong points that traditional letter can’t surpass, which can be cited as follows:

  • E-mails, compared with paper-based communication, can be more informative together with the attachments of sound files or video clippings, Word documents, WordPerfect documents, GIF-encoded or JPEG-encoded images, Photoshop files, excel spreadsheets, and executable files, and so on.

  • E-mails can also be sent around the clock and around the world without worrying about time differences between countries. The recipient can respond at once, think carefully before replying or just leave it unattended.

Unit 2 e mail writing

  • E-mails, although lacking “real” physical stationary, facilitate the addresser’s or sender’s communication with one person or with a large group at the meantime by simply clicking on the contact list. In a paper-based document, it is absolutely essential to make everything completely clear and unambiguous because the recipient may not have a chance to ask for clarification. With e-mail documents, the addresser and the recipient can interact immediately and in due course. This makes little sense to slave over a message for hours, making sure whether the spelling is faultless, the words eloquent, and the grammar beyond reproach. Emails, lacking vocal inflection, gestures, and a shared environment, do not convey emotions so clearly as face-to-face or even telephone conversations, and the correspondent may have difficulty telling if the addresser is serious or kidding, happy or sad, frustrated or euphoric. Therefore, e-mails tend to be sloppier and more conversational than paper-based communication; and the addresser needs to be aware of when to be sloppy and when to be meticulous (a. 一丝不苟的, 精确的).

  • Moreover, some of the e-mail addresses can be applied for free of charge, e.g. yahoo, hotmail, sina, 163, etc. The typical form of the address is: xxyyzz @ ABC. com. The letters before @ represent the user’s codes and the letters after @ represent the name of the service device which provide the user with service, for instance:

  • Clintonxue @ public. hotmail. com

  • However, as to the content, there are many subjects, such as disciplinary action, conflicts abut grades or personal information, concerns about fellow classmates or workmates, complaints, to name just a few, that are too sensitive to discuss over e-mails mainly because misinterpretation could have arisen and resulted in serious consequences. When it appears that a dialogue has turned into a conflict, it is best to suggest an end to the swapping (交换) of e-mail and to turn to talking or meeting in person.

Part two business e mail writing

Part Two Business E-mail Writing

  • E-mails are widely used in both internal and external business communications. Any business document, so long as it can be generated by, scanned into, or downloaded onto a computer, can be sent as an e-mail through cyberspace to another computer. In this case, an e-mail is not just a type of writing but may also be considered a medium of business communication.

  • But a large number of people suffer mishaps because they did not understand how to adjust their communication styles to this new medium, so it is necessary to introduce the standard format of email, regulate the layout of email, and offer some tips of e-mail writing.

  • 2.2.1 Layout of Business E-mail

  • In different website, an e-mail may look different on different templates, the pre-set form with empty fields to be filled in by the email writer. Those may put you in trouble of using this modern communication. (See the following two layouts: Layout 1 and Layout 2)

Unit 2 e mail writing

Layout 1

Unit 2 e mail writing

  • Layout 2

Unit 2 e mail writing

  • However, the basic components of an e-mail are still the same, i.e. the heading (which usually includes “TO:”, “FROM:”, and “SUBJECT:” at least) and the message (which includes the salutation, body and closing).

  • The heading of a business e-mail is very similar to that of a business memo, usually inclusive of the following fields for different information:

  • TO: (name of the recipient or the recipient’s e-mail address)

  • FROM: (name of the sender or the sender’s e-mail address)

  • CC: (carbon copy, name of another recipient expected to receive the e-mail)

  • BCC: (blind carbon copy, name of another recipient also expected to receive the email, but without being known by other recipients listed in ‘TO’ or ‘CC’)

  • DATE: (date of sending the e-mail)

  • SUBJECT: (subject or main idea of the e-mail)

  • ATTACHED (or ATTACHMENT): (any files to be sent together with the e-mail)

Unit 2 e mail writing

  • Some of these fields are not necessarily always visible. The ‘BCC:’ and ‘ATTACHED (or ATTACHMENT):’ fields, for instance, are visible only when used by the sender. Depending on the email program, the ‘FROM:’ and ‘DATE:’ fields may not be visible on the sender’s template. The template itself appears automatically whenever the writer clicks on the ‘new mail’, ‘reply to all’, or on the ‘forward’ button found on the tool bar of any email program.

  • The message part of a business e-mail is no different from that of a business letter or memo. Formal salutations such as ‘Dear Ms. Smith’ and ‘Sincerely yours’ are suitable for letter-style business emails addressed to individuals with whom you are unfamiliar. When a business e-mail functions as a memo, on the other hand, the salutation and complimentary close can be omitted altogether.

Unit 2 e mail writing

  • Coming next is the detailed regulation of the layout of e-mail:

  • 1) “To” Line

  • Write the recipient’s address, which you can put on directly or select from the list of connectors. Make that the address you write is correct and available.

  • 2) “CC” (carbon copy)or “BCC” (blind carbon copy)Line

  • Although carbon copy paper is obsolete technology, the term persists. A ‘blind carbon copy’ might go to a person being informed of what’s going on but not directly involved. These headers are optional. Recipients on the ‘bcc’ list are not known to the recipients on the ‘cc’ or “list” list.

Unit 2 e mail writing

  • 3) “Subject” Line

  • A subject line is a summary of the message and manifests the sender’s indication or intention. Also it should be short-sentenced, concise but informative. Thus it is advisable to pertain clearly to the e-mail body to help the recipient mentally shift to the proper context before he or she goes over the message. Draft the message from the point of view of the recipient. The last attempt to try is to send e-mails with subjects like ‘important information’ or ‘please read this’, as such message is prone to be treated as junk mail. E.g.:

  • Subject: need XYZ before Thurs

  • Emily—I need XYZ to prepare for an important report. It must reach me before Thursday.

  • Here the subject line summarizes smartly the most important details of the message. If the message is in response to another piece of e-mail, your e-mail software will automatically preface the subject line with ‘Re:’ or ‘RE:’. If your e-mail composition software does not avail you with this, it would be polite to put in ‘Re:’ or ‘RE:’ manually.

Unit 2 e mail writing

  • E.g.:

  • Subject: Re: need XYZ before Thurs

  • Edward—I am outside New York now. When I am back in Wednesday, the XYZ will be sent.

  • For time-critical messages, starting with ‘URGENT:’ is a good idea, especially if you know the person gets a lot of email.

  • E.g.:

  • Subject: URGENT: need XYZ before Wednesday

  • Emily—I’ve forwarded the date of making the report. Please send the XYZ before Wednesday. I’d really appreciate it!

  • For requests, starting with‘REQ:’ can signal that action is needed:

  • Subject: REQ: need XYZ before Thurs

  • Emily—I need XYZ to prepare for an important report. It must reach me before Thursday.

  • For non-urgent information that requires no response from the counterpart, it is advisable prefacing the subject line with ‘FYI:’ (For Your Information), as in the following example:

  • Subject: FYI: the relevant material to the report

  • Edward—I send the relevant material to the report, hopefully it may be helpful.

Unit 2 e mail writing

  • 4) “Attachments” Line

  • ‘Attachments’ line is the place where the sender can specify a document to render through e-mail. This facilitates all parties involved to share essentially any file in any format: sound files or video clippings, GIF-encoded or JPEG-encoded images, Word documents, WordPerfect documents, Photoshop files, excel spreadsheets, and executable files, and so on.

  • Before attaching something to the e-mail, pay careful attention to the following tips:

  • 1) Entitle the attached document or file in a way easy to be found once the recipient downloads it to his or her files.

  • 2) Keep the recipient informed of the type of software adopted in creating the attachment document, of its year/version, and of its title. For example: “the file attached is named ‘pricelist. doc’ and in MS Word 2003.”

  • 3) Make sure that attachments being sent are properly sized otherwise the recipient might be put into trouble in handling them.

  • 4) Redundant attachments should be avoided or eliminated especially those attachments with unnecessarily repetitive information.

2 2 2 general guidelines for e mail writing

2.2.2 General Guidelines for E-mail Writing

  • Communicating by e-mail is no different from writing on your company letterhead. Generally speaking, formal e-mail is similar to letters, and informal one is similar to conversation or speech.

  • This section deals with a set of dos and don’ts in e-mail writing that are recommended by business and communication experts in response to the growing concern that people are not in a position to make the best of their e-mail, and offers some guidelines that help facilitate better communication between senders and their readers. Bear the following dos and don’ts in mind, which can make messages clearer and more meaningful:

1 writing of greetings and corresponding closings

1 Writing of Greetings and Corresponding Closings

  • A more formal style is common in business, as the e-mail may be kept as a record of business communication and evidence. In a formal e-mail, it is often desirable to use the same greetings and corresponding closings as in a letter. E.g.: Dear Mr. Russelland yours sincerely.

  • However, since e-mail is part of the virtual world of communication, many people communicate in their e-mail messages the same way they do in virtual chat rooms: with much less formality and sometimes too aggressively. If in such case, it is advisable for the sender to follow that style in the corresponding message.

  • Informal e-mails adopt the following greetings:

  • To whom it may concern

  •  Dear Dianna

  •  Hi Dianna

  •  Hi

  •  (No greetings)

  • And its corresponding closings:

  •  Yours faithfully

  •  Regards (or: Best regards)

  •  Take care(or: Best wishes)

  •  All the best

  •  (Your name only, e.g. ‘Edward’)

2 writing of the body or message

2 Writing of the Body or Message

  •  Quote exactly what is said in the ingoing mail and respond strictly and accordingly.

  • When clicking on the ‘reply’ button, the writer should include only the part that refers to the most relevant information or questions being posed and the rest of the message should be omitted otherwise it is liable to hamper the reader’s comprehension.

  •  Try to make the e-mail concise and eye-appealing with message briefing at the start.

  • For readers’ convenience, keep the e-mail concise, preferably to one page, so that they do not have to scroll. Generally speaking, the e-mail should be approximately one page printed or the length of your computers screen before scrolling unless it becomes a necessity for e-mail messages to be longer enough to convey important information.

  • Organizations seeking to reduce their paper costs as well as to sustain environment-friendly development will resort to e-mail as their primary source of communication. The first few lines of the message should be a summary and indicate writer’s intention to the reader. Unlike paper-based correspondence, the writer should have the conclusion at the start of the message, not till the end. Remember that the reader will concentrate only on the first 10 to 20 lines of the message on screen. If those lines are not impressive or interesting enough, they will delete the message without reading further.

Unit 2 e mail writing

  • For expressive and impressive messages, asterisks, extra exclamation marks, extra spelling of a word letter, capital letters, and smiley can be positively exploited and brought into full play.

  • Writers often find themselves in a dilemma as how to type exactly what they would feel or emphasize in e-mail. Unfortunately, without the tone of voice to signal their emotion, it is prone to misinterpret their true meaning. While writers cannot make their voice higher or lower, louder or softer to express, there are things they can do with the text to express their feelings.

Unit 2 e mail writing

1) Enclose the key word(s) in asterisks (*) or capitalize the first letter only of the words for mild emphasis

  • Instead of:

  • Clinton said that he was coming home last Tuesday.

  • SAY: Clinton *said*that she was coming home last Tuesday.

  • Or: Clinton said that she was coming home last *Tuesday*.

  • Thompson told his sister that he would be at the School Library, but she thinks he forgot.

Unit 2 e mail writing

2) Use all capital letters or some extra exclamation marks, extra spelling of a word letter, bold faced letters and smiley for expressive and impressive messages

  • Instead of:

  • —Should I tell Marylyn about the accident?

  • —No. She’ll probably get real angry and scream.

  • SAY:

  • —Should I tell Marylyn about the accident?

  • —No!!! She’ll probably get real angry and scream!!!!

  • Welllllll…uhhhh, you see, ummm…I’m engaged elsewhere that evening. (Extra spelling of a word letter here signals the speaker’s lengthening voice and refusal)

Unit 2 e mail writing

  • However, remember that it is totally inappropriate to use ‘allcapital letters’ too much otherwise it might look like you are ‘shouting’.

  • e.g.:


  • The appropriate way to achieve this goal is to write like this:

  • If you ever call me again, I will never, never, Never, !!*NEVER*! talk to you again.

  • (NOTE: Don’t use this except in extreme cases…which are few.)

3 using gestures or smiley for expressive and impressive messages

3) Using gestures or smiley for expressive and impressive messages

  • Text messages not only lack the emotional signals that vocal inflection renders, but also lack cues from sign or body language. There is no winking of the eyes to say you are kidding, no hitting the desk with your hand to show frustration or anger, and no shoulder slumping to display discouragement. While the writers are not likely to accompany their words with hand or facial gestures, there are several ways to describe sign or body language. These are called “Smiley”. A facial expression or emotion can be represented with what is called a “smiley” or “emotion”: a textual drawing of a facial expression (see the following table).

4 try abbreviations and acronyms for expressive messages with brevity and individuality

4) Try abbreviations and acronyms for expressive messages with brevity and individuality

  • Abbreviations and acronyms contribute to the realization of expressive messages with brevity and individuality. However, remember: Only use abbreviations and acronyms known or familiar to the person you are e-mailing.

  • Some abbreviations or acronyms frequently used in emails can be cited as follows:

  • A.K.A.: Also Known As

  • ASAP: As Soon As Possible

  • BFN: Bye for Now

  • B4: Before

  • BRB: Be Right Back

  • BTW: By the Way

  • CU: See You (Good-bye, 88)

  • CUL8er: See You Later

  • CU2MORROW:See You Tomorrow

Unit 2 e mail writing

  • FANX4URELP:Thanks For Your Help

  • FAQ: Frequently Asked Questions

  • GR8:Great

  • HTH: Hope This Helps

  • IAC: In Any Case

  • IMO: In My Opinion

  • IMHO: In My Humble Opinion

  • IOW: In Other Words

  • LOL: Laugh Out Loud

  • MTE: My Thoughts Exactly

  • OIC: OH, I SEE

  • OTOH: On the Other Hand

  • PLS: Please

  • POV: Point of View

  • TIA: Thanks in Advance

  • TKS/TNX: Thanks

  • TTYL: Talk to You Later

General tips or guidelines for e mail writing

General Tips or Guidelines for E-mail Writing:

  •  Use a descriptive and informative subject heading;

  •  Try to keep to one subject per message— don’t cover various issues in a single e-mail;

  •  Use bulleted lists to break up complicated text;

  •  Quote exactly what is said in the original e-mail and respond strictly and accordingly;

  • Try to make the e-mail concise, to the point and eye-appealing with message briefing at the start;

  •  Try abbreviations and acronyms for expressive messages with brevity and individuality, but only those known or familiar to the person you are e-mailing can be used;

  •  For expressive and impressive messages, asterisks, extra exclamation marks, extra spelling of a word letter, capital letters, and smiley can be positively exploited and brought into full play;

  •  Conclude your message with actions required and target dates;

  •  If you are unsure about which style to follow in an e-mail, it is best to adopt a more formal style. In more formal e-mails you can respond to questions and queries by inserting your answers into the original message, which is then sent back to the original writer.

Unit 2 e mail writing

  • Useful Expressions and Conventionalities for E-mail Writing

  • WWW: World Wide Web

  • snail mail: 相对于瞬间传给对方的电子邮件,传统邮件俗称为snail mail。意思相近的术语还有p-mail(physical mail)

  • website:互联网网站

  • webpage: 网页

  • online shopping: 网上购物

  • URL: Uniform Resource Locator通用资源位标

  • http: Hyper Text Transfer Protocol 超文本传输协议

Sentence structures

Sentence structures:

  • To express happiness:

  • I was delighted to hear that…

  • I was every pleased to learn that…

  • It was indeed gratifying to receive the news that…

  • It is delighted news for me to learn that…

  • Delighted to hear of … and wish to offer my every sincere congratulations.

  • I am very pleased to hear of …

  • I am very glad to hear that…

Unit 2 e mail writing

  •  To express congratulations:

  • I would like to extend my warmest congratulations to you.

  • My colleagues join me in sending you our warmest congratulations.

  • Please accept our heartfelt congratulations on your …

  • Congratulations on…

  • My warmest congratulations to you on being appointed…

  • It is a great pleasure to congratulate you on…

  • It is with greatest pleasure that I offer you sincere congratulations on your success.

Unit 2 e mail writing

  • To express wishes for the future:

  • I wish you every success in your future career.

  • Best wishes for your continuing success.

  • We look forward to an even closer association in the future.

  • May I extend my congratulations and best wishes for your continuing success in the future?

  • Congratulations to you and every good wish for your success in your new position.

  • I wish you the best of everything for all the years ahead.

  • I hope that we can continue to work together for the benefit of both firms.



  • With the development of society, e-mail has undertaken the major task of communication in different situations.

  • E-mail, as a modern form of communication, has been called “the communication medium of the millennium” with many uncontrolled factors. It is frequently used in life and informal situation. In formal situation, when parties involved exchange important and confidential information, it is not advisable to use e-mail. Every method of communication has the characteristics of its own. Following these general tips or guidelines mentioned above in the text and keep on practicing, it will not be long to write effective and impressive e-mails.



  • Directions: Barbara is preparing a party for her friend. She writes an email to inform some of her friends. Now fill the blanks with the missing information marked from A to G.

  • A. RUTH GROSS <[email protected]>

  • B. Barbara green <[email protected]>

  • C. Carl smith <[email protected]>

  • D. Wu Dan <[email protected]>

  • E. dinner party

  • F. dress informal

  • G. surprise birthday party; at 8:p.m. on June 11, 2009; Apt. 1001, 203 Main Street, Flushing.

Unit 2 e mail writing

Answer: 1-B, 2-C, 3-D & A, 4-E, 5-G, 6-F

Unit 2 e mail writing

  • Directions: read the following email and fill the blanks with the missing information marked from A to H.

  • A. Fri. Sept. 22, 2008, 23:58:58

  • B. David Johnson @cctvh.com

  • C. Theresa Regan <[email protected]>

  • D. [email protected]

  • E. Congratulations on your promotion

  • F. Dear Mr. Johnson:

  • G. Theresa Regan

  • H. Sincerely yours,

Unit 2 e mail writing

Answer: 1-C, 2-A, 3-B, 4-D, 5-E, 6-F, 7-H, 8-G

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