Wednesday, 17 Jul 2024

Basic Email Etiquettes Everyone Should Follow

There’s no denying the fact that email has revolutionized the way we communicate with each other. Although social networks and instant messaging apps have gained popularity for casual conversations, email remains the preferred medium for professional communication.

From universities to global corporations, email is used everywhere. However, many people are unaware of the proper email etiquettes they should follow. In this article, we will highlight the basic email etiquettes that everyone should be aware of. Let’s get started!

1. Use a professional-looking email address

Your email address is often considered indicative of your personality. It’s important to have a professional-looking email address, ideally using your first and last names as the username. This becomes even more important for professional communication, such as sending resumes to recruiters or providing work samples to clients.

If your preferred username is unavailable, you can add a number (e.g., birth date) to get a unique email address. For example, [email protected] or [email protected] are good choices. Avoid using addresses like [email protected] or [email protected], as they may not be taken seriously.

Tip: Use a separate email address for your professional needs, and consider using hosted email with your own domain for a more professional image.

2. Always include a clear and concise subject

The subject line is one of the most important components of an email. It immediately provides the recipient with an idea of the email’s content. Every email should have a subject line, even if it’s not particularly important. Leaving the subject line blank is perceived as carelessness.

The subject line should be concise and to the point, allowing the recipient to quickly understand the email’s content. Examples of good subject lines include “Project report attached,” “Performance survey – early response solicited,” and similar formats.

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3. Use standard fonts and minimal formatting

When composing emails, it’s important to use standard fonts and minimal formatting. Fancy fonts may not appear as intended if the recipient doesn’t have them installed on their device. Stick to standard, serif and sans-serif fonts (e.g., Times New Roman, Arial) available in most email services.

Keep the formatting in your email to a minimum. Only use highlights and colors for emphasizing specific sections or lines. The text’s color should be black, as it’s the most legible.

4. Avoid typos, incorrect grammar, and punctuation errors

While a few typos are acceptable, incorrect grammar and punctuation errors give a negative impression. Triple-check your email’s subject line, body, and other textual elements for any inadvertent errors before hitting the “Send” button.

Avoid using multiple punctuation marks (e.g., !!!), slang words (e.g., LMAO), popular contractions (e.g., Gotcha!), and emoticons. These can make you appear immature and unprofessional.

Tip: Avoid composing emails in ALL CAPS, as it is considered the internet equivalent of shouting.

5. Give attachments descriptive names

When sending attachments with emails, give them descriptive file names that allow the recipient to understand their content without needing to open them. For example, if you’re sending your resume to a prospective employer, name the file “CurrentResume_JohnDoe”.

If you intend to send a large number of attachments, it’s better to combine them in a zipped archive. You can mention the attachment count and total archive size in the email’s body text for clarity.

6. Always include a signature

A signature is necessary for properly closing the email and adding an “authenticity” to its content. Create and save a signature in your email’s settings to automatically add it at the end of every email you compose.

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Decide what to include in your signature based on personal preference. It can include contact information (e.g., official number, secondary email) and links to social profiles. Keep it concise and avoid including unnecessary information.

7. Acknowledge the receipt of emails

Acknowledge the receipt of important emails by replying to the sender with a small message. Although not possible for every email, try to acknowledge as many as you can. It’s especially important to acknowledge mistakenly sent emails, as the sender might be awaiting a response.

8. Use proper salutations

Begin your emails with proper salutations for the recipient(s). Salutations can be formal (e.g., Dear Mr. Johnson, Professor Keller) or informal (Hello Adam, Hi Jenna) depending on the recipient. The ending (e.g., Regards, Sincerely) should have the same tone as the beginning salutation and overall message.

Avoid extremely informal and everyday usage salutations in emails, as they may appear unprofessional.

9. Don’t use “Reply All” every time

Exercise care when responding to emails with multiple recipients. Using the “Reply All” option sends the reply to everyone, potentially clogging up recipients’ inboxes. Use the “Reply” option instead, unless the reply is meant for all recipients.

10. Properly use the Cc and Bcc fields

Understanding the proper use of the Cc and Bcc fields is essential. The Cc (Carbon copy) field is used to send an email to recipients without them knowing it’s sent to others. The Bcc (Blind Carbon Copy) field is used when sending an email to multiple recipients who should only see themselves as the sole recipients. Bcc is better suited for privacy.

11. Reply to emails in a timely manner

Even if an email is low on your priority list, try to respond within 24-48 hours of receiving it. If you won’t be able to reply for some time, use the auto responder or vacation responder feature available in most email services.

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12. Properly format emails before forwarding

When forwarding an email, properly format it by removing extra white space, extra characters, and blank lines. This will ensure the forwarded email remains readable and maintains its original formatting.

Remember, email is meant to be used with proper rules of communication. By following these basic email etiquettes, you can have a better and more productive email experience.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is the importance of using a professional email address?
A: A professional email address reflects your personality and is crucial for professional communication. It’s best to have an address with your first and last names.

Q: Why should I include a subject in my emails?
A: The subject line provides the recipient with an idea of the email’s content. Always include a concise and clear subject line to ensure the recipient understands the email’s purpose.

Q: What should be included in an email signature?
A: An email signature should include contact information and links to social profiles. Keep it concise and avoid unnecessary information.

Q: How should I respond to emails with multiple recipients?
A: Exercise caution and use the “Reply” option instead of “Reply All” if your response is not meant for all recipients. This helps avoid cluttering recipients’ inboxes.

Q: How important is it to reply to emails in a timely manner?
A: It’s important to respond to emails within a reasonable time frame, ideally within 24-48 hours. If you’re unable to reply, consider using the auto responder feature to inform senders of your unavailability.


Proper email etiquettes are essential for effective communication. By following these basic guidelines, you can ensure that your emails are professional, concise, and well-received. Remember, email is a powerful tool, and using it properly will enhance your overall communication experience.

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