The structure of a formal business email or letter of response in English is the same as in many other languages. You start by writing an introduction that states that you're responding. Then in the next section, you answer the questions that have been asked or confirm information. And in the last, you ask if the information you have written is fine and offer the receiver the opportunity to contact you. The structure of a formal and a neutral (less formal) email is more or less the same. The difference is in the vocabulary and phrases that are used.
In this exercise on writing emails in English, we will look at business English vocabulary and phrases for formal emails or letters of response. Remember, when you write a formal business email or letter in English, you have to be polite.
Read the below formal business email of response about a project in an airport from an external project manager to a client. Focus on the words/phrases in BOLD and think about their meaning.
Dear Mr McAdam,
With reference to your last email regarding the current situation with the Skipton Airport Project, I can confirm the following:
We successfully completed stage 2 on Monday and at present we are preparing to start stage 3. On the whole, the project is going well. We have not encountered any problems with the machinery but there are still some minor issues with the delivery system. As was pointed out in our last meeting, the problem with the delivery system is due to the software. It is a very common software issue and we just need time to correct the code. Rest assured that this issue is being looked into and we are confident that it will be resolved by the end of the month.
Please accept my apologises for not receiving a copy of the updated Project Report earlier. Please find attached a copy of the report below:
Concerning your question about the post-installation support package, I can confirm that we provide both remote and call-out site support 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. This covers remote monitoring, a service every 3 months, service engineer visits and the cost of all parts and labour.
With regards to your request to extend the period of post-installation support from 6 months to 12 months. May I suggest that we discuss this matter at the next project update meeting?
I hope that this answers your questions.
If you require any further assistance, please do not hesitate to contact me on my mobile, 07340 7602133.
I look forward to hearing from you.
To improve your email/letter writing, we recommend the following books:
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 Answers" button at the bottom of the quiz to check your answers.
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 response, practice them by writing your own business email of response with the new words/phrases.