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Though it might seem easy, knowing how to write a strong informal email is a skill that is often overlooked. However, breaking down the email writing process can make writing a great email feel easy!
Laptop displaying a loading email page. Unsplash.com
An informal email is a message written with a casual tone. Typically, informal emails are written to someone you already know. As opposed to a formal email, the language we use in an informal email is more similar to the way we speak. Because informal emails are written in a more relaxed manner, the format of an informal email is more flexible. However, like a formal email, it is still good to structure an informal email with these components:
Informal emails can be written to a friend, to your teacher, to a relative, and many others. The most important thing to remember when writing an informal email is to consider your audience. Though an informal email is more laid-back, the language used in an informal email will largely depend on who the recipient is. This is a concept that will apply to each part of an informal email and something that should be considered throughout the entire writing process.
The subject line of any email is simply the email's official title. The subject line is often considered one of the most important aspects of an email because it is the first part of your message the recipient sees. The subject line can be the difference between someone opening an email, or ignoring it. However, in informal emails, the subject line does not have to be as serious as in formal emails. Subject lines in informal emails allow for a bit more creativity and more casual expressions, especially because the sender and recipient are usually already acquainted. When crafting a subject line for an informal email, it's important to consider who you're writing to. If you were writing to a classmate or friend, your subject line might look like this:
1. Subject: Beach trip!!!
2. Subject: Looking forward to Saturday...
3. Subject: Study session at my house?
All of these subject lines are very relaxed and fine to use in this context. However, if you were writing to someone you might not know as well, it is better to be more specific, and clear with your subject line, like this:
1. Subject: You're invited to Sunday Breakfast!
2. Subject: Unsure when office hours are this week.
3. Subject: In town this week! Wanting to catch up over coffee!
When choosing a subject line, just remember to use your best judgment and choose an appropriate subject line for who you're writing to.
Informal email greetings, like informal email subject lines, can be a bit more creative than formal email greetings. As mentioned briefly earlier, the language in an informal email is much more similar to the speech we use in our everyday life. This is especially true when choosing an informal email greeting!
When writing an informal email greeting, it is common to follow the greeting by asking how the recipient is. However, because informal emails are more casual, this is not a strict rule. Unlike formal emails, it is also not always necessary to use a comma after you're greeting. Instead, you can use various other punctuations like exclamation points to show excitement or even just no punctuation at all. Here are some examples of informal email greetings:
1. Hey! How are you doing?
2. Hello Dan :)
3. Hi Laura,
4. Jenny!! What's up with you?
5. Hey everyone!!
Again, the best way to choose an informal email greeting is to consider who you're writing to and use your best judgment.
If you're not sure if any part of your email is too formal or informal for who you're writing to, think about how you would talk to the recipient in person! If you wouldn't normally say out loud to the recipient what you've written, then consider altering your word choice.
The body text of an informal email is usually the largest section of the message. Like one might expect, the point of an informal email's body text is to express to the recipient why you're writing to them.
Because the email is written in a casual tone, the body section can include whatever you want the recipient to know. It is important to note that emails are typically a short form of communication, meaning, any informal email you write should usually be less than 200 words.
After your greeting, you can jump right in and say why you're emailing. Some good phrases to use when stating the purpose of your email include:
Like all the other parts of an informal email, the most important thing to consider is your audience. The language you use when writing to a friend might be very different than the words you choose when speaking to your Uncle.
When writing an informal email's body text remember to BARC. BARC is an acronym that can help you stay on task when writing an informal email. Let's break down BARC.
The B stands for brief. Keep your email brief, but warm. Remember that this email is more conversational, so you don't need to pack everything you're thinking into one single email.
The A stands for audience. Always consider who you're writing to and align your word choice accordingly.
The R stands for relevance. Though the email is informal, stay on topic. Make sure everything you're writing is relevant.
The C stands for casual. Remember to keep the tone of the email relaxed and warm.
Did you know? Depending on the situation, it can be okay to include images or fun emoticons in your informal email. Just make sure you only use such features in the correct setting. For example, you wouldn't include emoticons in an email to a teacher, but you definitely could in an email to a friend or family member!
An informal email ending wraps up your email with a casual goodbye. Usually, an informal email ending consists of a parting message and a signature. Like an informal email greeting, an informal email ending can be a bit more creative than the ending of a more formal message. Some good phrases you can use to "sign-off" from an informal email are:
Similarly, signatures can be much less official in an informal email. Some possible signatures might include:
So the end of an informal email might look like this:
I'm so excited to catch up with you soon, and can't wait to hear about your crazy summer!
Lots of love,
It is not always necessary to put both a signature and a "sign-off" message. Sometimes, just one or the other will do. For example:
I really appreciate all of your help with this homework assignment this week! Thanks!
Your original movie was so funny! I'm really glad you showed it to me.
See you at school tomorrow!
Depending on the situation, you might want to use some common expressions to make your email sound more casual, but still get your point across in a strong manner. Different expressions help establish different tones within your email.
For example, consider if you had sent an email several days ago but had not yet received a response. What is an expression that could be used that keeps the tone light, but conveys that you would really like a response? Some useful informal expressions for this situation could be:
Consider this next scenario. Imagine that you are having an incredibly busy week and forget to respond to an email. What are some expressions that could be used to apologize to the recipient while maintaining a casual tone?
The most important thing to remember when throwing in informal email expressions into a message is that any of the expressions used help establish tone, so pick and choose wisely in accordance with how you want the message to come across to the recipient.
Congratulations! You're almost ready to send your email, but before you do make sure to go through this checklist to make sure your email is perfect.
Proofread your email. Always check your spelling and grammar before sending! Though this is not as important in an informal email, it's still a good idea to write like a pro!
Double-check the recipient's email address. After taking all of this time to write a fantastic informal email, you don't want to accidentally send it to the wrong person!
Don't forget to attach files! You don't want to leave out the pictures of your new puppy or an art project you want to show off!
Add Cc or Bcc recipients! If you want your email to be sent to multiple people, don't forget about the Cc and Bcc email feature. Both the Cc and Bcc lines send a copy of your email to additional people. If you write a person's email address in the carbon copy line (Cc), the person's address is shown to all recipients of the email. If you write an email in the blind carbon copy line (Bcc), the person's email is hidden from all recipients of the email.
If you've checked over your email, then it's time to send!
Subject: Beach on Saturday?
Hey Sally! I was hoping you'd want to go to the beach with me on Saturday to sell seashells by the seashore! If you're available, let me know and I can pick you up at 1:00 this weekend.
See you soon!
Subject: Cat adoption!!
Our family is very excited about adopting a cat this weekend.
Thank you so much for helping us throughout
this process! We will see you on
Saturday at 4:00 to pick up our new Kitty!
Paul and Sharon
You can close an informal email with a casual signature like "All the best," or with a parting message like "Talk to you soon!"
You can open an informal email with a casual greeting like "Hi [name]", "Hello [name]", or even just "Hey! How are you doing?"
In an informal email to a teacher, the tone can still be light and casual, but you shouldn't use slang words like "cool." The language you use should be somewhat formal.
To write an informal email to a friend, just write to them like you'd speak to them in person.
Using a casual phrase like "Great catching up with you!" or "Talk soon!" can be great sign-offs for an informal email.
What kind of tone should you use in an informal email?
A casual and relaxed tone.
What does the B in BARC stand for?
Brief – keep your informal email brief!
What does the A in BARC stand for?
Audience – always consider your audience when writing an informal email.
What does the R stand for in BARC?
Relevance – stay on topic in your email!
What does the C stand for in BARC?
Casual – keep the tone light and casual.
Why is it important to consider the recipient when you're writing an informal email?
Your word choice often depends on how well you know the recipient.
Example: you could use words like "cool" in an email with a good friend.
What are some possible informal email greetings you could use?
True or False...
You always have to use a comma after an informal email greeting.
What are some good ways to "sign-off" of an informal email?
Talk to you soon!
See you soon!
Can't wait to hear about [insert event here]!
Hope you're doing well!
What are some possible informal email signatures you could use?
Love, [your name]
All the best, [your name]
Lots of love, [your name]
Yours, [your name]
Best wishes, [your name]
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