emailing etiquette

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Why is email etiquette important?**

Your written expression is an extension of yourself. When people see your writing they connect it to a personality. The classroom setting is a professional setting (like a job), rather than a personal one (like Facebook). There is no immediate feedback from emails and there are no non-verbal cues, so the chance for misunderstanding is higher.

Example 1: YES!

“Dear Prof. Pabón, I hope you are having a nice day. I have a question about class today. Did you say that we need to turn in paper #1 on Feb. 15th? Sincerely, James”

Example 2: NO!

“Hey! when is our paper due? you confused me in class today because I thought it was due on 2/16 but now it is due on 2/15. Can you tell me soon?”

Tips for an email Dr. P will respond to!

The subject line.

  • Includes the course numberWOM393-02
  • Give the recipient an idea about the message of your mail.
  • If the email is urgent or an emergency it should be indicated in the subject line, but do not overuse these phrases.

Examples:

  • WOM393-02: about my paper
  • WOM393-02: regarding the final
  • WOM393-02:important, missing class

The salutation.

Every new mail must have a salutation—and “hey” or “hi” does not count. Exception: When we are writing back and forth about one topic in a short period and the professor initiates it first.

Examples:

  • Dear Dr. Pabón
  • Hello Professor Pabón
  • Good morning/afternoon/evening Dr. P

The body.

Always capitalize and punctuate correctly, but do not use all capital letters for words you want to stress. It can feel offensive or aggressive to the reader.

Example: No!

I REALLY need to talk with you soon. It is VERY important.

Make your mail short and to the point. If your mail is longer than one screen length, then you most likely need to speak with me in person. Separate ideas in your mail with more space.

If you are sending an attachment, indicate in the body the name of the document and how it is saved.

Example: Tanisha B.essay1.doc

Hint: It is a good idea to put your name in the title of your document.

The closing.

Always use a closing.

Examples:

  • Sincerely,
  • Thank you for your time,
  • Thank you,
  • Many thanks,
  • Thank you in advance,
  • Best, I look forward to hearing from you,
  • Cordially, I appreciate your help,
  • Take care,
  • Thanks again,
  • Best regards,

Other things to consider.

  • Grades should be discussed in person, not over email.
  • If you would like a response on the same day, do not send the mail after 5pm, or sometimes earlier, depending on the professor.
  • Answer emails in the same fashion that you would return a phone call.
  • As a student, it is your responsibility to check your university email account at least once a day. If you wish to use an alternate email, it is your responsibility to make sure that your professor knows this AND to change it in the Blackboard system.

**Adapted from Purdue University Writing Lab and Professor Stoever’s Syllabus