Copyright

What is Email Etiquette?

Janelle Barowski, Charles Kinney, Jr.
  • Author
    Janelle Barowski

    Janelle is a tutor for Nursing and Health Administration. She has an Associate's degree in Nursing from Middlesex College. She also has a Bachelors and a Masters degree in Nursing Administration and Leadership from Western Governors University. She currently is a practicing pediatric and geriatric nurse.

  • Instructor
    Charles Kinney, Jr.
Learn what email etiquette is, understand its importance, and explore the basic email etiquette to be followed in personal and professional emails. Updated: 11/12/2021

Table of Contents

Show

What Does Email Stand For?

An email is typically written when a person needs to distribute information through the internet in the form of a message to at least one other person. What does email stand for? Email stands for electronic mail, which makes sense based on that definition.

Emails are a salient tool in modern-day life, as they are faster than other modes of communication. It also allows people to communicate quickly and with multiple people at the same time. By starting email threads with others, people can collaborate in the same place, in real-time. This helps foster a fast-paced, cohesive workplace environment.

Emails also provide clear documentation of conversations in one central location. This can make it easy to reference them later. In addition, emails are often password protected. This security ensures that the valuable information that is kept is more secure than if someone were to leave written information lying around.

An error occurred trying to load this video.

Try refreshing the page, or contact customer support.

Coming up next: Who vs. Whom: Rules & Examples

You're on a roll. Keep up the good work!

Take Quiz Watch Next Lesson
 Replay
Your next lesson will play in 10 seconds
  • 0:00 Email Etiquette for All of Us
  • 0:28 Understanding the Written Word
  • 0:48 Style & Tone
  • 1:41 Formatting
  • 3:05 Social & Professional Rules
  • 4:52 Lesson Summary
Save Save Save

Want to watch this again later?

Log in or sign up to add this lesson to a Custom Course.

Log in or Sign up

Timeline
Autoplay
Autoplay
Speed Speed

Definition of Email Etiquette

What is email etiquette? Email etiquette is defined as the code of conduct that a person uses when communicating through this electronic medium. These principles help guide a person's behavior so they can communicate in an effective, respectful, and polite manner.

There are generally accepted concepts that allow emails to be sent and received appropriately. This increases the clarity and intention of the message, which is sometimes murky as tone of voice and other nonverbal communication is lost through electronic communication. This increases the salience of email etiquette. Without nonverbal cues to aid a person in deciphering the messages a person is sending, email etiquette works to make this easier to understand.

Email etiquette is the code of conduct that a person uses when communicating through this electronic medium

email

What is Email Etiquette?

What is email etiquette? Multiple components make up email etiquette. Style, tone, formatting, and social and professional rules are all important aspects of email etiquette. These concepts will be discussed below with examples.

Appropriately using the subject line when planning an email is another essential aspect of email etiquette. The subject line should summarize the email, and grab the attention of the receiver. An example of a subject line for an email about a meeting tomorrow would be Meeting Agenda Tomorrow. It is concise, straight to the point, and summarizes what the email is about.

Using the urgent flag when appropriate is another aspect of email etiquette. Not every email should be flagged as urgent. However, when an email needs to be opened promptly, it should be flagged as urgent. For example, if a person needs approval for an order sheet by the end of the day, the email should be flagged as urgent.

Professional email addresses should be created, and it is prudent to remember that everyone will see the email address. Do not use anything embarrassing or unprofessional. An example of an unprofessional email address is: purplelady682@yahoo.com

The following sections will go into further detail about tone, style, formatting, and professional and social rules regarding emails.

Style and Tone in Email Etiquette

The sender of an email must maintain a professional style and tone while communicating through emails. Without nonverbal communication to provide context to what a person is saying, it becomes difficult to pick up on certain tones of voice. Sarcasm and humor should always be avoided in emails.

Slang and colloquialisms should be avoided as well. An email should be a professional extension of how a person would communicate in the workplace with coworkers. Emails can be tracked by the company, so a person should never say anything that they would not say to their managers. Never make personal comments in an email and never send sensitive material over email. It is always better to reach out to people in person over those issues.

Ensure that the message is brief and focused. It should not trail off in the subject matter, and it should be direct. Focus on having one or two topics per message.

The email should be warm and welcoming, without the use of too many exclamation points or question marks. Avoid using smiley faces and any unexplained abbreviations. Using short-hand language that is utilized in text messages is never recommended. Never use all caps in an email to show emphasis.

Avoid demanding an urgent reply. Instead, the sender should request a reply back, but phrase it in a neutral tone. Maintain a polite tone by using please and thank you.

The overall tone and style of all emails should be neutral, warm, and inviting. Do not use language or punctuation that may suggest otherwise. Treat the email as more of a short letter than a text message, and always reread it before it is sent. Professionalism should always be paramount.

Formatting in Email Etiquette

An email starts with a greeting such as:

  • Hello
  • Hi
  • Good morning

A greeting is a brief introduction before the body of the email begins. Utilize the person's name, if at all possible. Avoid casual greetings such as: hey. Remember to maintain professionalism at all times within an email.

To unlock this lesson you must be a Study.com Member.
Create your account

Frequently Asked Questions

What is good email etiquette?

The sender of an email must maintain a professional style and tone while communicating through emails. Ensure that proper grammar is used. If a mistake is made, send a follow-up email, apologizing for the error and correcting the mistake.

What is email etiquette and why is it important?

Email etiquette helps guide a person's behavior so they can communicate in an effective, respectful, and polite manner. This increases the intention of the message, which is sometimes murky as other nonverbal communication aspects are sometimes lost through electronic communication.

What is appropriate email etiquette?

Never make personal comments in an email and never send sensitive material over email. Slang and colloquialisms should be avoided as well. Avoid using smiley faces and any unexplained abbreviations.

Register to view this lesson

Are you a student or a teacher?

Unlock Your Education

See for yourself why 30 million people use Study.com

Become a Study.com member and start learning now.
Become a Member  Back
What teachers are saying about Study.com
Try it risk-free for 30 days