How to Sound Polite in Your Emails

By Shanea Patterson, updated on November 2, 2022

Wanna learn how to sound polite in your emails? Crafting the perfect email can be tedious to someone who’s never done it before because things don’t always come across via email as they do in person. And that can make for some pretty interesting miscommunications and unnecessary frustrations. That’s why it’s best to always put your best foot forward when communicating via email so that there’s no confusion or misinterpretations.

If you want to learn how to sound polite in your emails, this article will guide you through the things you can do to ensure it comes across as both professional and polite.

1. Start with a Warm Greeting

The first thing you should do to sound polite in your emails starts with a warm but appropriate greeting. You might start with something somewhat personal and cheerful and say, ‘Good morning.’ But you could also try:

  • Dear [Name]
  • Hi [Name]
  • Hello [Name]
  • Hi team

Whichever one you choose should be appropriate for a work setting. Also, make sure to spell the person’s name correctly if you’re going to use their name. It can be slightly annoying communicating with someone who can’t even spell your name right, especially if you have a tricky name. Make the effort. It will usually be appreciated.

2. Introduce Yourself

Once you’ve got your greeting out of the way, you need to introduce yourself (if applicable) so that the recipient knows with whom they’re communicating.

You can simply state your name and job title (if applicable) and then go on to the main topic of the email (why you’re writing it).

Keep this part short and sweet (unless it’s relevant to the email topic).

3. Use ‘Please’ and ‘Thank You’

One of the most obvious ways to be polite in an email is to use your manners. That means using ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ in your emails.

This automatically lets the reader know that you intend to be pleasant and puts them at ease.

When asking for anything, make sure to use ‘please’ at the end of the question. When you get what you want, express gratitude for it by saying ‘thank you.’

4. Avoid Overuse of Capital Letters

You might see this on social media posts a lot, but it’s no place for emails. All caps are entirely off-putting and can make someone think you’re angry or upset when you’re not.

It’s also very hard on the eyes to try and differentiate where sentences begin and end. It’s also not very polite to make someone sift through a mountainous paragraph of capital letters.

Help make your email easy to read and understand. It’s best to stick to sentence cases when writing emails.

5. Avoid Overuse of Question Marks or Exclamation Points

Another thing you should never do is use an excess amount of question marks or exclamation points. In the world of social media, excess question marks or exclamation marks mean some sort of extreme emotion, such as anger or outrage. (By the way, it's also never okay to write an email when you're upset or angry.)

If you received an email with an abundance of question marks or exclamation points, what would you think?

When crafting your email, try to put yourself in the other person’s shoes.

6. Address the Recipient By Name

The last thing anyone wants is to open an email that the other person didn’t even take time to personalize to them.

“To Whom It May Concern” or “Dear Sir/Madam” should never be the first words someone sees when they open an email.

Personalizing an email is not only good email etiquette but also polite. While you might call someone, you’re passing by on the street “sir” or “miss,” that won’t work for email.

If you don’t make the effort to at least address the person you’re writing by name, they could take it as a sign that you’re too lazy to do your homework or that you just don’t care.

And that’s definitely not the message you want to send. So, even if you have to do a little bit of research, find out the name of the person you’re emailing.

Adding a little personal touch always makes you appear more genuine and gets people to let their guard down a bit.

7. Mind Your Grammar

While your grammar doesn’t have to be spot-on all the time, it helps to keep the grammar rules in mind when constructing your emails.

That means doing a quick edit when you’re done writing to make sure you’ve spelled everything correctly, and there are no grammar errors.

Making someone sift through a non-grammatical whirlwind of words isn’t very polite. So, don’t do it to whoever’s reading your emails. It only takes a few quick minutes to do a spelling and grammar check and briefly read over your email one last time.

8. Avoid the Use of ‘Bad’ Language

What is bad language, you might be wondering?

Bad language is any expression that has negative connotations. It includes things like:

  • “This doesn’t work…”
  • “This is bad…”
  • “That’s ineffective…”
  • “I can’t…” or “We can’t…”

9. Use Soft Language

It sounds like a minor difference, but it’s pretty major when talking to someone. Hearing ‘could you’ sounds like they don’t have a choice, but hearing ‘would you’ makes it sound like it’s their choice to accept or reject the task (and they likely won’t).

Wording your question this way makes you come off a lot less harsh and demanding.

You could also try using phrases like:

  • “Do you think you might be able to…?”
  • “I was wondering if you could…”
  • “What about if…?”

Remember to use soft language when asking someone to do something, requesting permission, or making suggestions. You’ll come across as someone easy to work with and agreeable.

10. Close with a Warm Farewell

Finally, close your email with a warm farewell. That means ending the email with a phrase that doesn’t sound generic and like boilerplate language.

That could mean ending it with phrases like:

  • Warm Regards
  • Sincerely
  • Best Wishes

If you have a more informal workplace, you could try things like:

  • Best
  • Cheers
  • Thanks/Thank you

Even if you’re writing on your phone, always include a farewell.

The only exception is if you’ve been emailing back and forth with the person, and you’ve built up a rapport that doesn’t require it.

Final Thoughts on How to Sound Polite in Your Emails

Sounding polite in your emails isn't hard at all. With the above tips in mind, you can easily craft polite emails.

It’ll eventually be like second nature to you with a bit of practice.

If you ever need to brush up on your writing skills, bookmark our blog for articles on confusing words, figures of speech, idioms, and more.

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Written By:
Shanea Patterson
Shanea Patterson is a writer based in New York and loves writing for brands big and small. She has a master's degree in professional writing from New York University and a bachelor's degree in English from Mercy College.

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