Legal English – Peter’s Pills – Lesson 19 – Writing Business Emails

Legal English for Notaries - By Federnotizie

Writing Business Emails



Today we look at writing business emails in English.

In general:

  • We tend to avoid sending unnecessary replies (like “Thank you”) as they waste readers’ time;
  • Do not use capital letters when writing words. They give the impression you are SHOUTING AT YOUR READER;
  • Avoid using ‘emoticons’ in business emails like “:-)” for happy or “:-(” for sad;
  • Do not use informal language, slang or abbreviations such as LOL (laugh out loud), BTW (by the way), or ASAP, or expressions like C\wt 2cu (can’t wait to see you).

Address, subject and greetings

  • Use an appropriate email address from which to send your business email (Not something like “” ).
  • Be specific about the contents of the email in the subject box. This will help you and the other person to find emails easily at a later date. Keep titles short and specific (like “Signed copy of Johnson deed”) and never vague titles (like “As discussed”);
  • Greetings should be professional. If you don’t know the person’s name you can use:
    To whom it may concern;
    – Good afternoon
    If you know the name you could use:
    – Dear Ms Jones (but avoid “Mrs” unless you are certain that the woman is married. Outside the UK, many people consider “Mrs” as archaic);
    – Dear Mr Jones;
    – Mr Jones;
    – Ms Jones;
    – Dear Sam (informal);
    – Hello Sam (informal);
    – Hi Sam (informal);
    – Hey Sam (extremely informal).
  • In the English speaking world we tend to use very few titles. We don’t have titles like “Geometra”, “Ingegnere”, “Ragioniere”, or “Notaio” and we don’t call people with a university degree “doctor” unless they are medical doctors or have a Ph.D.


  • In your opening, avoid unnecessary pleasantries like “How are you?”. Just begin by telling the reader why you are writing to them.


  • Use bullet-point in your email body whenever possible. We love them;
  • Keep paragraphs short with only one idea or concept per paragraph. If you have another concept to express, then use a new paragraph;
  • If your email is too long, consider putting some of the content (like graphs, reports, long lists) in an attachment.

Action close

  • Never end your email with a set phrase (like “colgo l’occasione per inviare i miei più cordiali saluti”;
  • Use an action close. You should end by telling the reader exactly what action you want from them, like “Please send me the information I have mentioned above as soon as you can”.

Signing off / Endings

  • Sign-offs which you can use include:
    – Sincerely / Yours sincerely (extremely formal);
    – Kind regards / Best regards / Regards / All the best / Thank you (formal and informal);
    – Cheers / hugs and kisses / Many thanks (extremely informal).
  • When ending your email, write your name and surname. Job descriptions or titles could be written under your name and surname. Many people add the personal gender pronouns they would like other people to use when referring to them like (he/him), or (she/her), (they/them) and so on. These are written directly after the name like this: John Smith (He/him).

Thank you, and see you next time for more Peter’s pills to improve your legal English!

To whom it may concernA chi di competenza
Unlessa meno che non
Bullet pointselenco puntato
Set phrasefrase fatta

See more on 57 ways to sign off on an email here: “57 Ways To Sign Off On An Email“.

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