How to Write Formal Emails at Work?

If you’re wondering how to write a formal email, you’re in luck. This article explores the entire process in detail

What is a Formal Email?

a married man wearing a brown watch with black suit
Photo by Ruthson Zimmerman on Unsplash

You are probably used to writing casual and informal emails to friends and family. That’s why you may not know how to write a formal email properly. 

When using an email to someone you don’t know, formal communications are necessary. Formal emails are an appropriate way to go for some business circumstances. If you’re not sure of sending a formal or informal email, you’ll prefer a more formal message. 

The structure and salutations of a formal email are similar to writing a traditional letter. There are no spelling or grammatical errors, and they have a clear purpose. 

Formal emails are courteous, professional, and get straight to the point. They only focus on the desired outcome, leaving no room for mistakes or misunderstandings.

Why Write a Formal Email?

The possibility of misunderstandings and misrepresentation is eliminated through formal emails. The key is to follow the right email etiquette when you do business.

It is important to have a clear purpose and treat the reader respectfully. There’s a standard method for writing across borders and cultures.

Misunderstandings can arise when we’re too friendly or informal in our emails. There may also be some limitations to the tone of voice.

In any case, formal emails are useful tools in the business world, academic world, and many more.

The Difference Between Informal & Formal Email

A formal email is different from a casual email. You’re most likely going to get a casual email from someone you know well. When sending a casual email, you don’t have to worry about structure and tone. 

The structure of a formal email is one of the things that differentiate formal from casual emails. A formal email has a defined structure, a salutation, a signature section, an opening sentence, and a body. 

You use language differently in formal emails than in casual ones. Avoid using abbreviations, contractions, slang, emoticons, and other informal terminology. 

Formal emails have a different tone. The writer may not use complete sentences or correct grammar in an informal email, but formal emails always do so.

How to Write a Formal Email?

You don’t want to send a casual, informal email that isn’t taken seriously. You want to send a formal email with the right tone and communicate effectively. That doesn’t mean you can’t be friendly and humorous in your email, just that it must be professional. Make sure to include the appropriate salutations and closing. In the process of writing your email, think about what is appropriate for your email to speak about.

The structure of a formal email is as follows:

  • Subject
  • Greeting
  • Body
  • Closing
  • Signing Off


Readers see their inboxes through the subject line. If the subject of your email has misleading or missing information, it may not be read. The more formal your email is, the better your subject line should be. But be careful not to make your subject line lengthy.


Always use a greeting directed at the person you are writing a formal email.

You should avoid saying “Hello”, or “Hi”. Instead of these, use “Dear”.

If you aren’t familiar with the name of the person or writing to a group of people, write “To Whom It May Concern”.


The body of a formal email explains the purpose of the email. Alternatively, the body can detail the follow-up steps needed to execute the task at hand. Keep the body concise and clear, and make sure you hit on the aspects of the email being discussed.


This part tells what’s next. You should include a clear call to action if you want them to do something. Continue your conversation with a friendly note, so readers know you will keep in touch with them.

Signing Off

Use a standard phrase to sign off, and don’t forget to include your information at the very end. You can also use a signature if you want to be extra professional.

To Wrap Up

Writing a formal email can seem daunting. However, it’s much easier to follow these simple guidelines to write professional variant of an email.

Pam is an expert grammarian with years of experience teaching English, writing and ESL Grammar courses at the university level. She is enamored with all things language and fascinated with how we use words to shape our world.

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