In the 21st Century, electronic mail, or email for short, has become the best way to formally communicate with co-workers, employers, and even teachers. This is because email writing is similar to writing letters. As a result, here are some things to remember before sending that email, since all methods of communication have their own norms regarding etiquette.

Remember, Avoid ALL CAPS

Writing in all caps is technically shouting

When sending your emails, it is important to remember to not write your words using only capital letters. This is because using only capital letters is the online equivalent of shouting. Remember, shouting has no place in civil communication. Also, emails are supposed to be formal, since they are mostly used to write business or other formal letters online, and we never shout at our co-workers, bosses, or teachers.

Formal Applications Require Formal Emails

Formal situations require formal emails

When sending a formal application via email, it is important to structure your email like a formal letter, with your introduction, intent, and explanation. This is because emails are supposed to be structured like letters, since the idea of email was based on the postal system. However, there is no need for an official header with position and mailing address, unless the application requires it.

Since formal applications are supposed to be similar to formal letters, be sure to use formal language, since you should not be sending letters with slang if you are applying for work or archival access. Also, never forget that formal letters are sent for formal purposes.

For Emailing Teachers, You can be Less Formal

However, when emailing your teachers, dear students, especially those who know you really well, you can be less formal. As a result, it would be OK to skip the introductions, and just mention the name, go to the body, thank the teacher, then end with your name. Based on experience, I can say that the teacher will probably send an informal reply, so it would be fine to dispense with most of the formalities, unless your teacher has a specified format/protocol. In that case, do follow it.

NOTE: This does not apply if you are emailing your teacher for the very first time, since you and the teacher are still getting to know each other. In this case, please send your first email with an introduction.

Don’t Expect an Immediate Reply

The recipient probably gets a lot of emails, so don’t expect an immediate reply

In most cases, since the people we normally email are busy people, like HR personnel, teachers, and administrators, we should not expect an immediate reply. This is because they have a lot of emails to deal with. However, if you do receive an immediate reply, please send your response as soon as you can, since the sender took the time to reply promptly to your email.

Always Include the Subject

Be sure to always include the subject

Before sending your email, please make sure you include the subject, since it will help the receiver see your email better. This can also increase the probability of an immediate reply since the receiver will see your email first.

Be Straight to the Point, But Respectful

Remember, the purpose of email is to communicate, so it is important to get straight to the point, but without forgetting the rules of etiquette. Good manners are supposed to be a sign of respect, but focusing too much on formalities would end up obscuring the message.

In the end, the main principle in email etiquette is respect. You can structure your emails any way you like, employ your own style, but remember to follow protocols and be respectful. Emails are for communication, after all, and communication never works without respect.