Writing the Perfect Email: Formal vs Informal
Navigating the business world can be tricky, especially when you’re used to being in casual settings and constantly chatting with your friends and family members in an informal manner.
But it doesn’t have to be complicated. Let’s start with the basics!
So, listen here Ladies, it is imperative that you learn the difference between formal and informal emails. A simple email has the power to either make or break a connection in the business world. A clear, concise and professional email can make the recipient take you seriously.
But let’s not get too ahead of ourselves. By the end of this article, you’ll know how to write emails for any situation like a pro!
What Is a Formal Email?
Formal emails are typically sent to someone you may not know well or an authority figure, essentially to give or maintain a good impression of yourself. These types of emails are structured, direct, and professional.
Examples of individuals you may send a formal email to include:
Clients and customers of your workplace
A hiring manager for a job you’re applying for
A company or person you’re doing business with
How Are Formal Emails Structured?
Here is the following structure of a professional, formal email:
Subject line: The subject line in a formal email should be relevant, concise and preferably no longer than 5 words. This line briefly summarises the purpose of the email.
Salutation: You should always address the recipient by name when sending a formal email. For example, if you’re writing to a professor, you may write: “Dear Professor Johnson” or “Dear students” instead of greeting with “Hi.”
Body: The body of the email is where you write the message you’re trying to convey to the recipient.
The body of a formal email should contain:
Proper spelling, grammar, and punctuation
Complete words and sentences (no abbreviations)
Avoid the use of informal contractions such as gonna, wanna, gotta, ain’t, cos etc…
No slang or inappropriate language
Signature and Closing: The most common way how to close your email is with the words “Yours sincerely” and always with your first and last name (+ title if you have). If you’re sending a formal email from work, sometimes the company you work for will have a pre-formatted signature with their logo and contact information.
What Is an Informal Email?
An informal email, as the name suggests, is the opposite of a formal email. Informal emails are less structured and more casual. This type of email is for individuals you know very well and with whom you have a closer relationship. These emails may be written more similarly to the way you talk in real life or through text.
Examples of individuals you may send an informal email to include:
A friend or family member
Your boss (if your workplace is more casual and your boss initiated the informality)
How Are Informal Emails Structure?
Here is the following structure of a casual, informal email:
Subject line: Just like in formal emails, the subject line should still be concise and no longer than 5 words.
Salutation: The salutation in an informal email doesn’t need to be as strict; however, you should still always address the recipient by name. Addressing the recipient by name using “Hi” or “Hey” is acceptable in an informal email, but never in a formal email.
“Hey Susan,” or “Hi Susan,” is acceptable in an informal email but not in a formal email.
“Dear Susan,” or “Hello Susan,” is acceptable in both types of emails.
Body: When it comes to the body of an informal email, you pretty much have the freedom to convey your message however you would like. Although informal emails have less strict guidelines, you should still use appropriate language and proper grammar, spelling, and punctuation, especially if you’re sending an informal email in business-related settings.
Signature and Closing: Informal emails you can close with words ”Best wishes”, ”Love”, ”All the best” or ”Kind regards” and should still be closed with your first and last name, although some people may close informal emails with just their first name. Either way is acceptable. There are no strict guidelines, as these types of emails are, by definition, casual.
Formal emails require a little practice and take time to perfect, but once you get the hang of it, it’s relatively easy to type and send these emails regularly.
Informal emails, on the other hand, are a piece of cake! They’re easy to write because they’re casual with no strict guidelines. However, it’s important to note that if you’re sending informal emails to colleagues in a professional setting, the email should remain somewhat professional.
Always read your emails carefully before sending and consider how they will be read and understood. Remember, an email is a permanent statement that you cannot control after sending.
The bottom line is whether or not your email is formal or informal depends on your work culture, setting, and the recipient. When in doubt, always resort to formal emails. You can never go wrong with professionalism!