Clear subject lines for effective emails – Business English do’s and don’ts

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Everyday we are bombarded with emails and inevitably we need to prioritise what we open and read and what we delete or keep for later. The beginning of your email sets the tone for the rest of it. This begins with making sure your subject line communicates exactly why you are writing. Make sure you avoid some typical mistakes so you can get your English emails off to a good start!

Here’s an example of a ‘bad’ subject line:

  1. ‘Re: the email I sent you earlier’ – this could be on of many emails!
  2. ‘Question about meeting tomorrow located in conference room 5 at 11am with the rest of the team about marketing questions’ – far too long, I’m sure you agree.
  3. ‘Newsletter’ – the reader has no idea what they will read, or why they should read the email at all.

Here’s a better version of each:

  1. My email earlier about deliveries
  2. Team marketing meeting – question
  3. Your input – January newsletter

Ultimately emails need to be clear so that your colleague or business partner knows exactly what you want and how urgently you need them to react.

Useful language:

  • Bombarded – bombardiert
  • Inevitably – unvermeidlich
  • Delete – löschen
  • sets the tone – den Ton angeben
  • avoid – vermeiden
  • located – sich befindet
  • agree – zustimmen
  • deliveries – Lieferungen
  • ultimately – schließlich
  • urgently – dringend

Practice the useful language here

Do you want to know more about do’s and don’t of Business English? Contact me:

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