When you want somebody to do something for you, it's important that you ask them in the right way. This is really important if you are sending a formal business or professional email. Because if you don't, they'll probably say no.
To help you know how to both write your own formal email or letter of request and what to write in one, I have created the below online exercise. This will both show you professional phrases/vocabulary that are used when writing a business email of request in English and the structure you should use when writing one (both of which are very important).
Once you have read the example in the exercise, do the quiz/test at the end. It will take you less than 5 minutes to do and it'll make sure that you both know how to correctly use the phrases/vocabulary and why.
Before you start the exercise and learn how to write a good business email of request, you need to know one thing first.
The structure of the email
For a formal email of request to work, you not only need to use the appropriate professional English vocabulary, but the email needs to have a good structure.
The structure of a formal business email or letter of request in English is very simple:
- You start the email or letter by writing an introduction that states/says the purpose of sending the email or letter.
- Then in the next section, you ask questions or request information.
- And finally in the last section, confirm when you require the information etc...
The structure of informal and neutral (less formal) emails of request is more or less the same. The difference is in the English vocabulary and phrases that are used in them.
So let's now do the exercise.
To see examples of other types of business emails and advice on writing them, go to our 'email exercise menu'.
In addition, you can also do an exercise (with example) on 'how to write formal email of response'.
Example & Exercise: A business email of request
Read the below formal business email of request about a project in an airport from a client to an external project manager.
You will be tested in the quiz that follows on the words/phrases that are in bold. So, from the context try to guess what both the meaning and the purpose/use of these words/phrases are.
Dear Mr Mitchell,
I am writing in reference to the current situation with the Skipton Airport Project. We have a number of questions which we hope you could answer.
First of all, could you please provide us with an update on where you are on the Skipton Airport Project. We would also appreciate it if you could clarify what the current issues with the delivery system are, and confirm when you expect them to be resolved.
In addition, at the end of our last meeting, we requested a copy of the latest Project Report. Unfortunately, we have still not received it. We would appreciate it if you could forward this to us.
Could you also please confirm whether the post-installation support covers the equipment 24 hours a day? And what is actually included in the support? In particular, we would like to have confirmation if the cost of parts and labour are included in the package? We require this information as soon as possible.
And lastly, we are considering extending the period of the post-installation support from your company from 6 months to 12 months.
We would be very grateful if you could provide us with a quote for this extension.
I would really appreciate it if you could deal with these matters urgently.
I look forward to hearing from you.
Below is a definition/description of each of the words/phrases in bold from the above text. Now choose the word/phrase from the question's selection box which you believe answers each question. Only use one word/phrase once. Click on the "Check answer" button next to the answer box to check your answer.
When the answer is correct, an Additional Information Icon "" will appear next to the answer. Click on this for extra information on the word/phrase and for a translation.
Now that you understand the vocabulary of writing a formal business email or letter of request, practice them by writing your own business email of request with the new words/phrases.