Although it is common to write formal emails for work in English (either to ask for something or to reply to somebody), you will also have to write a lot of less formal emails as well (to work colleagues, customers you know well etc...).
Although formal and less formal(informal) emails are very similar, there are some differences (in the structure and the words and phrases you use). And it is important that you know what these are.
For emails asking for something, you start the email by writing some small talk (like 'How are you?' or 'I' hope you're well' etc...). After this then you write the purpose of sending the email. Then in the next section, you ask questions or request information. And in the last, confirm when you require the information etc...
It is less formal. You can use specific phrases and words (like phrasal verbs (e.g. go away) which you shouldn't in more formal emails. You can also write contractions of words (e.g. "I'd"), which you can't when writing formal emails or letters.
In this online exercise on writing emails in English, you'll learn through seeing an example and doing a quiz business English vocabulary and phrases for informal (or neutral) emails of request and how to structure what you write. This is the type of email used when requesting or asking for things from a colleague or a trusted customer or supplier.
Click here to see more of our free online exercises on writing emails/letters
Example & Exercise: A business email of request
Read the below informal business email of request about a project in an airport from a client to an external project manager.
From the context, try to guess what the meaning of the words/phrases in bold are. Then do the quiz at the end to check if you are right.
I hope that everything is OK over there. I just have a few questions about the Skipton Airport Project.
First, can you give me an update on where you are on the project? I'd also appreciate if you could explain what the current issues with the delivery system are? And confirm when you expect them to be resolved.
Also, at the end of our last meeting I asked for a copy of the latest Project Report. I still haven't received one. Can you forward it to me?
Can you also confirm if the post-installation support covers the equipment 24 hours a day? And what is actually included in the support? We'd especially like to know if the cost of parts and labour are included in the package? We need this information as soon as possible.
And lastly, we're thinking about extending the period of the post-installation support from your company from 6 months to 12 months. Can you give us a quote for this extension?
Please get back to me with the information as soon as possible.
Now do the QUIZ below to make sure you know how to write this type of email.
10 ways to write better business emails/letters
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, this icon will appear next to the answer. Click on it to find extra information about the word/phrase (e.g. when, where and how to use etc...) and a translation in Spanish.
Now that you understand the vocabulary of writing an informal business email of request, practise it by writing your own business email of request with the new words/phrases.