Best Practices in Writing Business Emails

Communication is undeniably important in all business transactions. With the current Digital Age, email communication has been widely used in various organizations that aim to get their messages across. Most people use this type of communication because emails can reach anyone from anywhere in the world at the fastest rate. Not only that email makes communication possible between business partners from across the globe, but also allows the exchange of data between them, may it in a form of a word document, PowerPoint presentation, or simply, a link to a particular website. This undeniable importance of business emails in the modern world puts an emphasis on the essence of creating a clear and professional email. 

Further, just like any other type of communication, the goal of email communication has only been achieved when the message has been successfully conveyed to the receiver. Thus, any professional creating an email must aim to write a clear and coherent email content which can be achieved with the use of proper words and sentence construction and avoiding the use of sentence types which leads to misunderstanding.

Use Simple Sentences

The sentence structure comes in four types namely, simple sentence, compound sentence, complex sentence, and a compound-complex sentence. The simple sentence, which consists of a subject and a verb, has a single independent clause. Independent clause is a sentence which can stand by itself and has a complete idea. Example of a simple sentence is, “I appreciate your concern.” expresses a complete thought and suggesting that the speaker appreciates another person’s concern. It consists of a subject which is ‘I’ and a verb ‘appreciate’ which completes the thought.

Use Compound Sentences

In one hand, compound sentences are sentences consisting of two independent clauses joined together by connectors such as ‘and’, ‘but’, or ‘yet,’ or punctuation marks such as a comma or semicolon. Since there are two independent clauses, there are two complete ideas present. For instance, “I have received your email last Saturday, but I failed to reply the soonest.” is a compound sentence with two independent clauses connected by ‘but’. Each sentence can stand alone and will still make sense when separated.

Use Complex Sentences

Another type of sentence structure called the complex sentence is in a form of a joint independent and dependent clauses. An example of this type is as follows. “I failed to contact you because of some other important matters I needed to attend to.” In the given example, the first sentence is an independent clause supported by a dependent clause with ‘because’ as a connector.

Use Compound-Complex Sentence

The last sentence structure is the compound-complex sentence which is a combination of two independent clauses and one dependent clause. For example, the sentence,

“Having learned the four sentence types, I should use them properly, or else, all the writer’s effort is wasted.” has a dependent clause at the start of the sentence and two independent clauses at the end.

Avoid Sentence Fragment

Knowing about the sentence structures is not enough to be able to write a good business email. Avoiding the wrongly constructed sentences is still a big advantage. The most common incorrect sentence constructions are sentence fragments, run-ons, and comma splices. A sentence fragment is a fragment of a sentence that does not express a complete thought. As an example, the statement, “Although I have received your email.” is a sentence fragment which fails to convey a complete idea. This becomes correct by adding more words such as, “Although I have received your email, I choose not to reply.”

Avoid Run-Ons

Meanwhile, the run-on sentences are two joint independent clauses without a connective. The sentence, “I consider you the best candidate so far I still need to look at other candidates too.” clearly shows the failure of the writer to use a connective such as ‘but’ for clearer sentence.

Avoid Comma Splice

Lastly, a comma splice is the joining of two clauses without proper punctuation. For example, the sentence, “Prepare yourself for an interview tomorrow, the next day you will have an exam.” is a type of run-on sentence which improperly used a comma. This becomes correct by saying, “Prepare for an interview tomorrow, then, the next day, you will have an exam.”

Having learned the proper sentence construction allows one to become an effective communicator. Generally, successful communication is only achieved when both parties understand each other. Similar language is good but only when it is correctly used.