How to Write Formal and Informal Emails in English

It is important to learn how to write formal and informal emails since emails are an important way to communicate in business and organizations.

If you ask me, I use email for work related matters, some of the emails are highly important and others are informal.

Important emails usually comes from your boss and informal emails comes from colleagues you are good friends with.

Formal and Informal Emails: Greetings

These are some examples of greetings that you can use in formal and Informal Emails

These are some formal expressions to greet

Dear Sir/ Madam Dear Mr/ Ms Jones
To whom it may concern Dear Dr Smith

These are some informal expressions to greet in English

Hi Dennis Hello Claire
Hey EveryoneHi everyone

You can also use expressions such as:

Good MorningGood Afternoon
Good Evening

Ways to Close Informal and Formal Emails

These are some key phrases

Best RegardsRegards
Best WishesMany Thanks
Truly yours sincerely yours
Stay in TouchI hope to hear from you soon
See you next weekThanks for your help
CheersMany thanks for your help
Bye for nowSee you soon

Ways to Give Bad News by Email

These are some key phrases to give bad news in English

I am afraid thatI am sorry to tell you
I have to inform you thatUnfortunately

Ways to Give Good News by Email in English

These are some ways to give good news in English

I am happy to tell youI am happy to inform you

Example of an Email: Information Request


I’m a university student from Brazil and I’m writing to get some information about the UTN. I’ve got a few questions:

  1. Where is the UTN located?
  2. How many classes do you have to take per quarter?
  3. How many days a week do you have to go to the university?
  4. What services does the university offer?
  5. What majors does the university offer?

I’m hoping to come over in June, so if you can get back to me as soon as possible, it would be great. Thanks for your help.

Best regards

Jaana Nikkinen

Lesson Plan – How to Write Formal and Informal Emails

These are some ideas to learn more about formal and informal emails, I created the lesson having the task-based approach in mind.

Schema Activation (10 Mins)

  • Teacher play chinese whispers with the students with some key vocabulary studied in class.

Pre-Task (45 Mins)

  • Teacher plays chinese whispers

Task #1 (30 Mins)

  1. Students review new vocabulary using a Tiny Card Set
  2. Students make pair, they are given a worksheet with expressions
    • Salutations
    • Ways to close an email
    • Giving bad news
    • Giving good news
    • Friendly Ending
  3. Students classify the different expression into categories. Once they are ready
  4. They get together with another pair and and they review their answers together using the question:
    1. What do you have in #1? I think #1 is …

Task #2 (15 Mins)

  1. Students are given a list of scrambled sentences.
  2. They unscrambled the sentences
  3. Then they make pairs and check if their answers were right
  1. Students are given an email, they have to read it  and analyze the question in it
  2. They have to write a reply to that email

Task #3

  1. Students are given an email someone wrote asking information about a University
  2. They have to read the  email and reply the questions included in it.

Main Task (40 Mins)

  1. Students are gonna write a formal and Informal Emails about a beach trip and they are going to send that to their classmates.

Post-Task (15 Mins)

  • Students  are going to answer a quiz with questions related to formal and informal emails

Manuel Campos, English Professor

Manuel Campos

I am Jose Manuel, English professor and creator of, a blog whose mission is to share lessons for those who want to learn and improve their English