Week 2

RESPONDING TO EMAILS: Framing your reply

You always need to follow the same basic structure when responding to emails. The best way to approach these questions is to:
  • Read the email carefully.
  • Plan out your response before you write by answering these questions:
    • who am I in this email?
    • to whom am I writing?
    • what exactly are the tasks being asked of me?
  • Complete all the tasks that are asked of you.
  • Write at least one sentence of explanation in relation to each task.


The organization of your answer will always be the same:

Greeting → Opening → Body of email reply → Closing → Final salutation

To make it easier to keep these parts clear and complete, you can divide your response into different sections. For example:

(casually or formally)
address the person to
whom you are writing.
Dear __________,
Briefly explain the reason you are writing the email.
I am writing in regards to ______________.
Go into detail about the reason for your email.
In this section you complete the tasks asked of you. You give information, make requests and suggestions, or ask questions.
I have two questions in relation to this problem.
I am wondering if you could _________________?
Briefly conclude your email with a polite goodbye and a final request or hope.
I appreciate your time in dealing with this issue, and hope we can meet soon.
Final Salutation:
Sign off with your name.
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  • The tasks that you will be asked to do fall into four basic categories.
  • 1) Give information
  • 2) Make a request
  • 3) Make a suggestion
  • 4) Ask a question


Here is some vocabulary you can use to effectively frame each of these tasks:

Give information I am pleased to let you know…
The main reason why…
The problem is that…
Here is the information you were asking for.
To answer your questions…
I am writing in response to…
Make a request Could you please…
Would you mind…
Is it possible for you to…
I would really appreciate it if you would…
I was wondering if you may be able to…
Make a suggestion I think it would be best if…
One suggestion I have is to…
Something that may help you is…
I suggest that you…
You could…
I think you should…
Why don’t we…
How about…
Ask a question I’d like to ask…
Could you tell me…
I want to know …
I’d like to inquire about…
I have a question about…
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Here are some exercises you can do to practice using the appropriate vocabulary for each task that may be asked of you. Match the beginnings and endings of the sentences below by writing the letter on the line that corresponds.

1. Would you mind ------

2. I suggest that you ------

3. To answer your question ------

4. I would appreciate it ------

5. Could you tell me ------

  • A) I will be taking vacation from August 12th through 21st.
  • B) what time you are available next Thursday for a meeting?
  • C) sending me the notes from our last weekly review meeting?
  • D) review your records and clear up your account as soon as possible.
  • E) if you could inform your staff of this problem.
  • Would you mind ---C---
  • I suggest that you ---D---
  • To answer your question ---A---
  • I would appreciate it ---E---
  • Could you tell me ---B---


Now use the vocabulary in the chart above to fill in the blanks of the following email:

  • Dear Ms. Lane,
  • (1)__________________________________ to your recent posting about job availability in Human Resources at Company X.
  • (2)________________________________ is to let you know that I am interested in a position with your company and would like to meet with you at your earliest convenience to discuss my possible employment with you. In addition,
  • (3)______________________ _____ whether the position is full-time or on a contract basis.
  • (4)______________________ how many people have already applied as well?
  • (5)_________________________________ get back to me as soon as you can. I am enthusiastically awaiting your response.
  • Sincerely,
  • Mr. J. Smith
  • I am writing in response
  • The main reason I am writing
  • I’d like to inquire about / I have a question about / I’d like to ask
  • Could you tell me
  • I would really appreciate it if you could

Writing Topic

1. Picture Description
2. Opinion Essay
The way of the future for all businesses is to measure and minimize the harmful impact the business will have on the environment. Agree or disagree with this statement, stating specific reasons for your position.