In today’s working environment, it is almost guaranteed that you will be required to communicate with your colleagues via email on a regular basis. And due to the large number of emails we now send and receive each day, proper email etiquette is more important than ever.

It really is worth taking some time to learn how to communicate professionally in the workplace – after all, you don’t want to be that person in the office; the one who is always annoying colleagues with excessive emails.


Here are a few guidelines to keep in mind when sending emails to your colleagues:


  • Always use a relevant and descriptive subject line.

Emails with blank subject lines may be marked as spam by the recipient’s email client, and emails with non-descriptive subject lines such as “Hello” or “Meeting” may be ignored.

  • Write your email in clear and simple language.

Don’t try to sound too formal, and don’t use complicated words when simple ones would work just fine. As far as possible, write in the active voice.

  • Structure your message clearly, and include only the necessary information.

Take care not to confuse the message by including too many topics in one email. Respect your colleagues’ time, and try to keep your messages as short as possible.

  • Don’t type your email in ALL CAPS.

This is regarded as the online equivalent of shouting.

  • Always proofread your email before you hit ‘send’.

Grammar and spelling errors come across as unprofessional.

  • If you include a link in your email, make sure that you provide some context.

Your recipients are unlikely to click on a link if they don’t know what they’re going to see when they open it.  

  • Only mark an email as ‘urgent’ when it really does require immediate attention.

If you routinely mark all your emails as urgent, the recipients will start to assume that none of those emails are urgent.

  • Don’t use the ‘CC’ or ‘Reply All’ functions unnecessarily.

Only send your emails to the people who really need to see them.

  • Only include necessary attachments with your emails.

Remember that many email clients have a size limit on attachments, and that attachments over a certain size may cause your email to be blocked.

  • Keep it professional.

Don’t pass on spam emails, chain letters, or inappropriate jokes, and don’t spread gossip via email.


Thank you for reading our Basic English Language Skills Series!

If you’ve missed any posts in the series, you can find them in the list below:

Basic English Language Skills Series

  1. General Language Tips to Get You Started
  2. Parts of Speech
  3. Punctuation
  4. Commonly Confused Words and Phrases
  5. Tips for Filling in Your College Registration Form
  6. Learn How to Summarise Your Study Material
  7. How to Ask for Help from Your Tutor
  8. Tips for Completing Your Written Assignments
  9. Tips for Answering Exam Questions
  10. Language Skills at Work – How to Write a Cover Letter
  11. Language Skills at Work – How to Write a Resignation Letter


Alternatively, you can download our Basic English Language Skills E-book, which contains a compilation of the full blog post series:

Download Free Basic English Language Skills E-Book