In what situations should you thank somebody by email? In my opinion, if somebody has done something for you, then you should always thank the person.

In life or business it is the little things that can make a big difference. Most people like to hear that there work is appreciated by others. And it only takes a few minutes to tell somebody thanks either by phone or email.

In this online exercise (with a quiz at the end) on writing emails/letters, I will show you both formal and informal phrases that you should use when you want to thank somebody and three examples of emails of thanks for different situations. Although the following examples are business emails, you can also use the phrases and structure in non-business emails as well.

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Exercise & Examples: Emails of thanks

Read the following three business emails of thanks. Each email is either thanking somebody or a group of people for different reasons. The first email is very formal, the second is neutral (less formal) and the last email is informal.

Email 1

Dear Mr Trotter,

I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for showing myself and my colleague around your factory on Monday. It was both a very informative and productive visit for both myself and my colleague. I really appreciate that you took time out of your busy work schedule to show us around and meet with us.

It was a pleasure to meet with you and your staff. All of whom treated us with the utmost kindness and respect during the whole of our visit. If you could pass our thanks onto your staff, it would be very much appreciated.

Once again, thank you for the visit.

Yours sincerely,


Eric Banner
Account Executive
Merlin Components plc

Email 2

Dear all,

I would just like to make you aware that our company has won the contract to supply photocopiers to the American government for the next 3 years.

I would like to thank you all for the hard work you have done over the last four months. The winning of this contract is a recognition of all your hard work and dedication that you have made over the years to make our company great. This wouldn't have been possible without you.

Thank you,


Ron Lowe
CEO
Runners Ink inc.

Email 3

Hi Peter,

Thanks a lot for sending me a copy of the report. It's really appreciated.

Regards,

Sally

10 ways to write better business emails/letters


Quiz:

Below is a definition/description of each of the words 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.


1.

A formal phrase which is used to inform somebody of some news and is used at the beginning of an email, is

     

I would just like to make you aware that:
(phrase) This formal phrase is used to introduce a piece of news to the person or people receiving the email. For example 'I would just like to make you aware that Friday's meeting is cancelled'. It is normally used in the first paragraph of an email. It can be used to give good news or news that isn't very important. But it shouldn't be used to give bad news (where 'I'm afraid to inform you that' is better). In Spanish: "desearía ponerle al tanto de".

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2.

A very formal compliment which is a better way to say 'took care of us very well', is

     

Treated us with the utmost kindness and respect:
(phrase) It is used as a compliment. It is an excellent set phrase which is used when you want to thank a person or people for how well they treated you or behaved with you when you worked or visited them. For example, 'during our 2 weeks in your company, we were treated with the utmost kindness and respect'.

'utmost' is a very formal way of saying 'greatest', but is normally only used in some specific nouns (like the above and 'the utmost professionalism' or 'the utmost importance'). In Spanish: "nos trataron con el máximo amabilidad y respeto".

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3.

A phrase that you use to tell somebody that you couldn't have done something without them, is

     

This wouldn't have been possible without you:
(phrase) This phrase is used as an additional thank you to somebody. It basically means that they were very important in making something happen. It should only be used in emails where you are informing somebody about something successfully happening (e.g. winning a contract, making a profit, passing a test etc...).

I would recommend that you use this phrase at the end of the email, just before you write 'regards' or 'yours sincerely' etc... In Spanish: "eso no hubiese sido posible sin vosotros".

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4.

A formal phrase that is used to thank somebody for a second time in an email, is

     

Once again, thank you for:
(phrase) This formal phrase is used to thank somebody for a second time. Although it is not really necessary to thank somebody twice, in my opinion it sounds politer and more professional to do it. You can use 'once again, thank you for' or the less formal 'thanks again for' to do this.

You should use either of the above two phrases at the very end of the email/letter. And follow them by the reason why you are thanking them (either with a noun (e.g. the visit etc...) or with a gerund (e.g. helping etc...)). For example, 'once again, thank you for your hard work' or 'thanks again for helping me with the project'. In Spanish: "una vez más agradezco".

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5.

An informal phrase to say thank you that contains the word 'really', is

     

It's really appreciated:
(phrase) 'appreciate' has many meanings. In this phrase it is used with the meaning of being 'grateful' or 'thankful'. This phrase is basically a different way of saying 'thank you'. It is normally used to thank somebody for a second time. Although it is not really necessary to thank somebody twice, in my opinion it sounds politer and more professional to do it. For example, 'thanks for doing this. it's really appreciated'.

A more formal way to say this is 'I really appreciate', followed by what they did. For example, 'I really appreciate all your hard work' or 'I really appreciate that you finished the project on time'.

A second meaning of 'appreciate' is 'to understand'. This is used to empathise with people about a difficult situation or something that was hard, e.g. 'I really appreciate that it wasn't an easy decision'. You will be able to know which meaning of 'appreciate' is being used from the context. In Spanish: "te lo agradezco encarecidamente".

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6.

A formal way to say 'I really liked/enjoyed meeting you', is

     

It was a pleasure to meet with you:
(phrase) This formal phrase is used to be polite. You should use it in emails where you are thanking somebody for a visit or for attending a meeting, conference etc... Although this is obvious, only use it if you have actually spoken with the person face-to-face. The phrase is normally used when it is the first time you have met the person, but you can also use it if it isn't. If you have met the person before, I would add 'again' at the end, e.g. 'it was a pleasure to meet with you again'.

'it was a pleasure meeting you' has the same meaning as 'it was a pleasure to meet with you'. But 'it was a pleasure meeting you' is more commonly used when saying goodbye to somebody and not in emails or letters. In Spanish: "ha sido un placer haber quedar con usted".

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7.

A formal phrase used to give a reason why something has been successfully achieved/performed, is

     

Is a recognition of:
(phrase) This phrase is used when you want to give credit/praise to a person/people for something being achieved or won. You use this phrase in emails when you are thanking somebody when something has been achieved or done successfully (e.g. winning a contract or award, finishing a project, making a large profit etc...). 'is a recognition of' is used to give the reason why it was successful'. Common reasons given after this phrase are: 'all your/the hard work', 'your/the dedication' or 'your/the professionalism'. But you can use others.

When using this phrase, you should write what was achieved first, followed by the phrase, then the reason. For example, 'finishing the project ahead of schedule is a recognition of the professionalism and hard work of the team'. In Spanish: "es un reconocimiento de".

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8.

A very formal way to say 'thank you' which is used at the beginning of an email, is

     

I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for:
(phrase) This very formal and polite phrase is used to thank somebody for the first time in an email/letter. Normally, this phrase is used in very formal emails (normally to important customers or suppliers). It is generally used as the opening line in the first paragraph of the email/letter and is then followed by what you are thanking the person/people for (e.g. 'the visit', 'all your hard work', 'your assistance', 'the presentation' etc...). For example, 'I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for the presentation you gave on Thursday'.

It's normal and polite to follow this in the next sentence by writing good comments about the thing you are thanking them for (e.g. 'it was very informative') or by what has been achieved because of it (e.g. 'it helped us to improve our processes').

If you are sending an email to a group of people and use this phrase, you should add 'all' after 'thank you'. For example 'I would like to take this opportunity to thank you all for'.

A less formal way to say this phrase is 'I would like to thank you for'. And an informal way to say the same is 'thanks a lot for' or just 'thanks for'. In Spanish: "deseo aprovechar esta oportunidad para agradecerle".

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9.

A formal way to ask somebody in an email to thank other people they know for you, is

     

If you could pass our thanks onto:
(phrase) This formal and polite phrase basically means 'can you thank somebody/some people for me'. You would use this phrase when you send an email of thanks to one person (e.g. a manager), but you also want to thank other people (e.g. their team or a work colleague(s)) who you don't have email addresses for.

You use this phrase after you have first said thank you. The phrase is then followed by the name or names of the people you would also like to thank (e.g. 'Peter', 'your team' etc...) and then by a comma and 'I would really appreciate it' or 'it would be very much appreciated'. For example, 'if you could pass my thanks onto Sally and John, I would really appreciate it'.

A slightly less formal way to say the same thing is 'could you pass my thanks onto Sally and John for me'. And an informal way to do the same thing is 'can/could you thank Sally and John for me'. In Spanish: "si pudieras darle las gracias de nuestra parte a".

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10.

An informal way to say 'I would like to thank you for', is

     

Thanks a lot for:
(phrase) This informal phrase is used to thank somebody for the first time in an email. It's basically a different way of saying 'thanks for' or 'thank you for' (which is more formal). Normally, you would use this phrase in emails to work colleagues, friends or customers/suppliers who you know well. It is generally used as the opening line in the first paragraph of the email/letter and is then followed by what you are thanking the person/people for (e.g. 'the visit', 'the report', 'the meeting', 'sending me the information' etc...). For example, 'thanks a lot for doing the presentation'.

You normally only use this phrase if you are thanking one person. If you are sending an email to thank a group of people you should use 'thank you all for' instead. For example 'thank you all for sending your monthly reports on time'.

A much more formal way to say this phrase is 'I would like to thank you for'. And a very formal informal way is to say the same is 'I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for'. In Spanish: "muchas gracias por".

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11.

When you send an email to a group of people, the very first thing you write is

     

Dear all:
(introduction) Most formal or professional emails are started by using 'dear' and then the full name of the person you are writing to (e.g. 'Dear Peter Jackson,' or 'Dear Mrs Smith,'). But when you are sending an update or communication email to a group of people, you can start it with 'Dear all,'.

For some people 'Dear all' sounds a little informal. But in my opinion it is fine to use if sending a group email to people in your company or organization (it makes it sound you're all equals and is good for team building). If you want something that sounds a little more formal, then you could use 'Dear Colleagues,' instead.

If the email is very important and to external customers or suppliers, then instead of sending a group email, you should probably send a email to each person individually and start it with their name (e.g. 'Dear Simon Ward'). In Spanish: "queridos/estimados todos".

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12.

A phrase to thank a group of people which is a less formal way to say 'I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for', is

     

I would like to thank you all for:
(phrase) This is a formal and polite phrase used to thank a group of people for the first time in an email/letter. Normally, this phrase is used in formal emails (to managers, work colleagues, customers or suppliers). It is normally used as the opening line in the first paragraph of the email/letter, but it can be used elsewhere. This phrase is then followed by what you are thanking the people for (e.g. 'the visit', 'all your hard work', 'your assistance', 'the presentation' etc...). For example, 'I would like to thank you all for attending the meeting on Thursday'.

It's normal and polite to follow this in the next sentence by writing good things about the thing you are thanking them for (e.g. 'it was very informative') or by what has been achieved because of it (e.g. 'it helped us to improve our processes').

A very formal way to say this phrase is 'I would like to take this opportunity to thank you all for'. An informal way is to say the same is 'thank you all for'.

Because the phrase contains 'all' after 'thank you', this phrase is used in emails sent to a group of people. If you want to use this phrase to thank one person, just remove 'all' from the phrase. For example 'I would like to thank you for'. In Spanish: "quisiera darles las gracias a todos vosotros por".

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Practice

Now that you understand the new vocabulary, practise it by creating your own emails with the new words/phrases.