Writing Email

Saying an email address


  • Salutation (greeting)
  • Purpose
  • Question (if you have one)
  • Thanking
  • Closing


  • English can be more or less formal or informal and, in general, is more formal than Swedish.
  • Choose which fits your email best depending on the your role as the sender and the content, context, and recipient(s).
  • Email tends to be less formal than paper-based communication, but when in doubt, best to be more formal than informal.
  • On this webpage, when several alternative phrases are given, they are ordered from more to less formal.

Be more formal when writing:

  • in an official capacity
  • about a serious matter
  • to an unknown correspondent or someone you do not know

Be less formal when writing:

  • about less serious matters
  • to a person you know

Formal and informal verbs




Ask for/


Ask Reception for a map.

Request a map at Reception.

Find out/


When did you find out about this error?

When did you discover this error?

Go up/


The cost of student housing has gone up by 10% this year.

The cost of student housing has increased by 10% this year.

Go down/


The number of applicants has gone down.

The number of applicants has decreased.



How can I help you?

How can I assist you?


  • Avoid sounding negative, especially in the subject line
    • Latest version was not good enough
    • Changes to be made in the latest version
  • Don’t place blame
    • Use the passive voice and replace the use of the pronoun “you” with “the.”
    • You failed to submit your assignment on time.
    • The assignment was not submitted on time.
  • Avoid excessive punctuation marks, all right???!!!


Emails of 75-100 words have been shown to have best response rates.


More formal:

  • Dear Mr/Ms/Dr/Professor [efternamn] (British)
  • Dear Mr./Ms./Dr./Professor [efternamn], (American)
  • Mr/Ms/Dr/Professor [efternamn] (British)
  • Mr./Ms./Dr./Professor [efternamn], (American)
  • Dear [first and last name],
  • To the [office/department] at [X University],
  • Dear staff at [office/department/company],
  • Dear [first name],
  • Dear all,
  • Greetings [first name],
  • [first and last name]
  • [First name],
  • Hello [first name],
  • Hello,

Less formal:

  • Greetings!
  • Hi [first name],
  • Hi, how are you?
  • Hello!
  • Hello, [first name]!

Very informal:

  • Hi, everyone!
  • Hi [first name]!
  • Hello again!

Please do not use "To whom it may concern" or "Hey."

Nice things to say if you know the person

  • Hope all is well with you!
  • I hope you’re doing well.
  • I know you’re swamped/busy, so I’ll be brief.


Here, a key phrase is "I am writing to..."

  • I am writing to…


    • respond to your request to...
    • clarify that…
    • confirm that…
    • ask for further details about...
    • ask you about…
    • follow up on…
    • update you that…
    • answer your question about…
    • remind you about…
    • let you know that... 
    • say thank you for…
    • send you a quick note about…

More good “purpose” phrases:

  • This is to inform you that…
  • [Mutual contact] recommended I get in touch with you and…
  • I’m reaching out about…
  • Please note that…
  • As promised, I’m…
  • Just a friendly reminder that…
  • Just a quick update/heads-up that…

If you want them to reply to you or do something

Here, a key phrase is "Please let me know."

More formal:

  • Stronger:
    • Can you please let me know___ by [day or date and month]?
    • Please confirm if would like me to [do an action]?
    • Can you send ___ to me by [day or date and month], please?
  • Gentler:
    • I look forward to hearing from you/to your reply.
    • It would be very helpful if you could give me your feedback about___
    • I am afraid I need some additional information from you. Please send me___.

Less formal:

  • Stronger:
    • Could you please let me know ___/[do an action] as soon as possible?
    • Could you [do an action], please?
    • I’m very happy to help, but to do so I need ___ from you by [day or date and month] at the latest.
  • Gentler:
    • If you could ___, that would be great.
    • I’d appreciate it if you could __
    • When you have a moment, I’d like to know (more) about __
    • Please get/keep in touch/keep me posted.
    • I look forward to hearing from you.
    • I look forward to your reply.
    • Please let me know if this works/if you are available/if that sounds good/if you can__/if you can help/if you need to reschedule.

Reminders and clarifications

  • Just checking in.
  • Per my last email,
  • As stated below,
  • Sorry if it was unclear,

If you want them to contact you if they need something

More formal:

  • Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions.
  • If we can be of any further assistance, please let us know.

Less formal:

  • Let me know if you need anything else.
  • Just get in touch if you have any more questions/need anything else.

If you don’t want them to do anything

More formal:

  • We hope you find this information satisfactory.
  • I appreciate your getting in touch with me.

Less formal:

  • Thanks for letting me know.
  • I hope this answers your question.

Attachments and links

More formal:

  • Please find attached…
  • I’ve attached [file’s name] for your review.
  • Could you please sign/review the attached document and send it back by [day or date and month]?
  • Please see the information below for more details about…
  • Here’s the document you asked for/we discussed.
  • More information is available at [website].

Less formal:

  • I’ve attached…
  • I’m attaching…
  • I’m sending you [file’s name] as a PDF file.
  • You can see more info about this on this [website].

You forgot to attach something

More formal:

  • Our sincere apologies; please find your certificate attached.
  • My apologies as I did not include the attachment with my previous email.

Less formal:

  • Sorry! I forgot to attach the file in my last email.
  • It looks like I forgot to include the attachment, so here it is!

Giving bad news or telling someone they are wrong or cannot do something

  • Stronger:
    • This is to let you know that we have had to cancel/postpone/reject…
    • As per our guidelines/regulations/policy, it is not possible to…
    • After review, we regret to tell/inform you…
    • After careful consideration, we have decided (not) to…
    • Despite our best efforts…
  • Gentler:
    • Unfortunately, it’s not possible to…
    • We are sorry; however,…
    • I am afraid there might have been a slight miscommunication and…
    • Due to unavoidable circumstances, there will be a (slight) delay/change…

Less formal:

  • Stronger:
    • Unfortunately, that’s not possible/the case, but as an alternative…
    • I’m writing to let you know that ___ is unfortunately cancelled/delayed/not doable…
    • I am afraid that it will take a little longer to…
    • Moving forward…
  • Gentler:
    • I’m sorry, but…
    • Sorry about this.

Giving good news

More formal:

  • I am/We are pleased to inform you…

Less formal:

  • I’m happy to tell you…
  • You’ll be happy to hear that…
  • Good news!

Common abbreviations

  • ASAP: As Soon As Possible
  • BTW: By The Way
  • FYI: For Your Information
  • TIA: Thanks In Advance

Need to forward the email to someone else?

I'm afraid that I’m not quite the right person to answer your question. However, I will forward your question to the relevant administrator/department and I am sure that he/she/they will respond to this issue as soon as possible. Thank you for getting in touch!

Can’t respond immediately?

More formal:

  • We will respond to your email as soon as possible.
  • I will confer with my colleagues and get back to you as soon as possible.

Less formal:

  • I have to look into that but I will get back to you as soon as I can.
  • I’ll get back to you ASAP.

Out-of-office messages


Thank you for your email.

I am [REASON YOU ARE UNAVAILABLE] from # Month 2021 until # Month 2021*.

During that time, I will have  [LIMITED/INFREQUENT/NO] access to my email. I will reply to your message as soon as I can.

If you require immediate assistance, please contact [NAME/DEPARTMENT] at [EMAIL]. 


*If you are only unavailable for one day, write: I am [REASON YOU ARE UNAVAILABLE] on # Month 2021.

Reasons you are unavailable may be…

  • out of the office
  • unavailable
  • on parental leave
  • taking care of family/personal matters
  • on holiday [British]
  • on vacation [American]
  • taking some time off
  • on sick leave
  • on leave
  • on short-term leave
  • on long-term leave
  • attending a conference/work event/day-long meeting
  • focusing on specific work tasks
  • focusing on writing/research/teaching

Tricky common phrases

Vi kan väl ses på en fika någon gång.

We should have a cup of coffee sometime.

Jag är föräldraledig.

I am on parental leave.

Jag jobbar inte i morgon. Det är min tur att vabba.

I won’t be at work tomorrow as it is my turn to take care of my child who is (a bit) ill/sick/under the weather.


Nu blev det lite dumt/knasigt.

Something went a bit wrong.

Hur mycket är lagom?

How much is the right amount/just right?

Jag hinner inte i veckan.

I won’t have time this week.

Vad tråkigt!

How unfortunate!/Too bad!

Trivs du med din nya tjänst?

How are you liking your new job?

Tack och lov!

Thank goodness.

Vad kul/ bra!

How fun/nice!

Vad härligt!

How delightful/lovely!

Det är lugnt.

It’s okay.

Vi hörs.

Let’s keep/get in touch.

Nu är jag tillbaka efter helgerna.

I'm back now after the holidays.

Det var ett roligt misstag

That was a funny mistake.

Det är en rolig utbildning.

It is a fun educational programme.


Here, a key phrase is "thank you for your...".

More formal:

  • I appreciate your taking the time to write.
  • Thank you for getting in touch with me.
  • Thank you for your…
    • interest
    • email
    • question
    • time
    • understanding
    • patience
    • feedback
    • suggestion
    • help
    • cooperation in this matter
    • attention to this matter
    • swift response

Less formal:

  • Thanks for your time/cooperation!
  • Thanks for letting me know.
  • Thanks so much!
  • Thanks in advance!
  • Thanks!


More formal:

  • Sincerely,
  • Yours sincerely,
  • Regards,
  • With kind regards,

Less formal:

  • Best/Warm regards,
  • All the best,
  • Best,
  • See you (soon),
  • Hope this helps.
  • Take care,
  • Thanks again!
  • Bye for now!
  • Cheers
  • Stay safe [in times of crisis]

Spellcheck in English in Outlook

  • Granska/Review
  • Språk/Language
  • Ange redigeringsspråk/Set Proofing Language
  • Engelska (Storbritannien)/English (United Kingdom)
  • Stavning och grammatik/Spelling & Grammar

Tips if you want to check your writing

  • Grammarly.com is a tool with a (limited) free version that can help improve the several types of errors, improper writing style, and plagiarism.
  • Try a concordance to see how specific words or phrases are used, e.g. Compleat Lexical Tutor, Web Concordance– English, and Select a relevant corpus, e.g. Brown + BNC Written
  • Google specific phrases with quotation marks and see how frequently they are used. This is especially useful if you are trying to decide between two different ways to write something.
  • Use Google Translate to translate from English to Swedish to help see if you missed any important words—or misspelled something!

Examination and teaching phrases


degree project


doctoral studies/programme




Bachelor’s level


group work


take-home examination




written assignment


laboratory session


intended learning outcomes


Master’s level

muntlig tentamen

oral examination


re-take examination


written examination on campus



skriftlig individuell tentamen

written individual examination

skriftligt prov på tid

written exam with a time limit




examination period


examination supervisor




forms of teaching


academic paper

VG (Väl godkänd)

Pass with distinction

G (Godkänd)


U (Underkänd)


Terminology and writing resources

The Swedish Council for Higher Education’s Swedish-English dictionary

The University of Borås’s English Writing Guidelines

Academic Communication Resource webpage

Guidelines for email signatures

The University of Borås’s Swedish-English Lexicon

Tip! Email eva.medin@hb.se for a much more extensive Swedish-English word list relevant for university work in Excel format.

Questions? Contact information for Eva Medin.