Writing Great Emails


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(1) Dear: Kind or Important

Dear Neighbor, Please stop using my yard as your dog’s bathroom. Thanks. -Jeremy

(2) Dearest: Very important, loved

Dearest John, I cannot thank you enough for staying late to finish the presentation. You saved me.

(3) Direct: Telling exactly, without politeness, not trying to hide meaning

Stop being nice. Tell him directly that she has to improve or find another job.



1. Who can you use dear with when writing an email?

a. A family member or good friend.

b. Everyone.

c. Everyone but an enemy.

2. Who can you use dearest with when writing an email?

a. Everyone.

b. Someone who is very important to you.

c. Someone you want to do you a favor.

3. Why might you not use any greeting?

a. It’s the first email to the person.

b. You’re angry.

c. You’re writing to your boss.


Writing Great Emails



By Jeremy Schaar

Every email begins with a greeting. So, for the first email lesson, let’s look at a few greetings.

#1 Dear

Dear is the most popular way to begin an email in English. We can actually use the word dear in many different ways. Dictionary.com gives 15 definitions! But they’re all good things. We use dear to mean kind or important or loved. When we say that someone is a “dear friend”, it means that the person is a very good friend.

But with emails (or letters) we never think of these things. Even if you wrote an email to an enemy, you could start with dear.

Dear is so popular that many people use it with every email that they write. It’s totally OK to do this. Should you do this? Well, there are other options.

#2 Dearest

Sometimes a person is very important to you. Maybe you love them. Maybe they’re a very good friend. Maybe you’ve known them for a very long time. Or maybe they did something very nice for you. If you want them to know this right away, you can use dearest.

In a business situation, you probably won’t use dearest very often. It makes people think of love and how often do you love someone you work with? Still, it is possible. For example, maybe you have been working with someone for a long time and have become very good friends. Or maybe someone really helped you and you want them to know how thankful you are.

#3 Just their name

On the other hand, sometimes you don’t want to be friendly at all. Instead, you want to be very direct. Here are some situations where you might want to be direct.

  • You’re the boss and you want to be businesslike
  • You’re angry with the person
  • You’ve already written several emails back and forth. Dear is strange because you’ve already used it.

In these cases, you don’t want to use anything but the person’s name. It’s not a bad thing, it’s just very direct.

Next week, we’ll look at some more greetings. Want more practice? Got questions? Comment on the blog, Facebook, or Twitter.


Answers To Today’s Questions

B, B, B


You Can Do It All Yourself But You Dont Have To

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