The 100 most useful phrases for starting emails

Summary: Useful opening greetings and first lines for formal and informal business and personal emails.

This is a list of the most important phrases for opening emails, including both opening greetings and opening lines, for a wide range of kinds of emails and levels of formality. Each section is organised in approximate order of usefulness, with the most useful phrases of all underlined.

A big list of useful phrases for the whole of emails and intensive practice are available in the e-book Teaching Emailing: Interactive Classroom Activities.

This article is part of a series on useful emailing phrases:

  1. The 100 most useful phrases for starting emails
  2. The 100 most useful emailing phrases
  3. The 100 most useful phrases for ending emails
  4. 100 common mistakes with starting and ending emails
  5. Differences between British and American emails
  6. Cultural differences in emailing

Useful email opening greetings

Useful opening greetings to one person

  1. Dear Mr/ Ms/ Dr/ Professor + family name (= Dear Mr./ Ms./ Dr./ Prof. + family name)
  2. Dear + first name
  3. Hi + first name
  4. Dear Sir or Madam
  5. Dear Sir/ Madam
  6. Hello again
  7. Hi
  8. first name
  9. (nothing)

 

Useful opening greetings to more than one person

  1. Dear all
  2. Hi everyone
  3. To: All faculty members/ To: New recruits/ To: All members of…/ To: (All)…
  4. Hi guys
  5. Hi
  6. Hi guys and gals

 

Useful email opening lines

Opening lines mentioning the last contact between you

  1. Thank you for your email (yesterday/ of 12 May/…) (about…)
  2. Thanks for your email (this morning/ earlier/ yesterday/ on Monday/ last week/…)
  3. Thanks for your quick reply.
  4. Thanks for getting back to me so quickly.
  5. Thanks for your phone call this morning/ your interest in…/ your help with…/ your hospitality in…/ your questions about…/…
  6. Thanks for sending me…/ for contacting me (about…)/ for attending…/ for asking us about…/ for informing us about…/ for giving us feedback (on….)/ for inviting me to…/ for…
  7. It was great to see you (again)/ It was so nice to see you (again) (on Monday/ on…/ last…)
  8. (I) just read your email about…
  9. (I) just got your message about…
  10. Sorry for my late reply/ Sorry it took me so long to get back to you/ Sorry for the delay in replying/ Sorry not to reply sooner (but I had to…/ but…).
  11. Sorry it’s been so long since I was last in touch/ since my last email/ since….
  12. It was a pleasure to meet you/ It was my great pleasure to meet you last week/ last…/ on...
  13. Thank you for finding the time to meet me/ to attend…/ to help with…/ to…
  14. Sorry I couldn’t make the meeting on Friday/ your presentation/…
  15. Sorry I missed…
  16. It was great to hear from you.
  17. Long time no see!
  18. Thank you for your talk/ presentation/ report/…
  19. Thanks for writing to inform me about…
  20. Thanks again for…
  21. Thanks a lot for…
  22. Thanks a million for…
  23. Thanks so much for…
  24. With reference to your email of…
  25. It was such a nice surprise to see your email in my inbox this morning.
  26. It was so nice to get your email yesterday.
  27. Was so thrilled to get your mail.
  28. Was lovely to see you again last week.
  29. Wow, that was quick!
  30. I just got your request for…
  31. Cheers for…
  32. I was so excited to see your email in my inbox this morning (!)
  33. I can’t believe it’s already… since we (last)…
  34. I don’t know if you remember me, but we met/ talked/ worked together/ were both at/ …

 

Opening lines with the subject of the email/ reason for writing

  1. I’m writing to you about your latest model/ about the meeting next week/ about your presentation yesterday/ about…
  2. I am writing to you in connection with/ with regards to/ regarding/ concerning…
  3. I’m writing (in order) to ask/ to enquire/ to confirm/ to check/ to inform you/ to follow up on/ to let you know/ to tell you/ to thank you/ to invite you to/ to update you on/ to announce that/ …
  4. I’m writing (to you) because I have just found out that…/ because I thought you’d like to know that…/ because I need…/ because…
  5. (This is) just a quick note to say (that)…
  6. Just a few comments on/ an update on/ some (more) info on/ a word or two on…
  7. Sorry to write out of the blue, but…
  8. Sorry to write again so quickly, but…/ Sorry to bother you again so soon, but…
  9. Sorry, in my last email I forgot to…
  10. As promised, I’m writing to send you/ to…
  11. As we discussed, I’m sending you…
  12. … suggested that I write to you about…
  13. I don’t have time to reply in detail at the moment, but…
  14. I have to… in a minute but I thought I’d better let you know…
  15. I was asked by… to write to you about…
  16. I am writing to you on behalf of…
  17. Re:…
  18. (Writing) about…
  19. Regarding…
  20. Sorry for the short notice, but…
  21. (I have a terrible feeling that) this is probably (already) too late, but…
  22. This really is the last email today (about…), I promise!
  23. Sorry, (this is) (yet) another email about…
  24. There is no rush on this, but…
  25. I’m not sure if this is the right email address, but…
  26. I’m not sure if you are the right person to ask, but…
  27. I know this is a particularly busy time of year, but…
  28. I know this is rather bad timing, but…
  29. I (think I) wrote to the wrong address before, so…
  30. I’m forwarding an email/ message/ article/ report/… from…
  31. As you can imagine, this email is about…
  32. As you have probably guessed, I’m writing about…
  33. I’m writing about a… that you might be able to help with.
  34. I know this is asking a bit much, but…
  35. I’m getting ahead of myself a bit with this, but…

 

Social opening lines/ Friendly opening lines

  1. (I) hope you had a good weekend/ a good evening/ a good trip (to...)/ a good time/ a good break/ a good…
  2. How’s it going?/ How are things?/ How’s life?/ How are you doing?
  3. How was your weekend/ your trip/ your presentation/ your meeting with/ …?
  4. I hope you (and your family) are (all) well.
  5. I hope that you are enjoying…
  6. I hope that you weren’t too affected by the recent…
  7. Hope you have recovered from…
  8. I just heard about your company’s…/ your town’s…/ your team’s…/…
  9. Just read about the big storm/ the story about/…
  10. I heard that/ I read that/ I guess that … over there. (I hope that you are all okay.)
  11. I was sorry to hear about…
  12. Congratulations on…
  13. Been busy?
  14. Hope you haven’t been too busy.
  15. I hope this email finds you well.
  16. How are you?

 

Copyright © 2020

Written by Alex Case for UsingEnglish.com

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