Katie Almeida Spencer
Mon, Feb 27, 2017
14 Common Business English Email Questions Answered
Some of the most common Business English questions have to do with how to craft a well written and grammatically correct email. Here are the answers to some of those questions, organized by common theme:
Looking forward to + gerund
Here are some common questions:
"Looking forward to work with","Looking forward to working with" or "Look forward to working with"?
"I look forward to seeing you soon" or "I'm looking forward to seeing you soon"
"I look forward to meet you" or "I look forward to meeting you"?
What could be a good alternative to "I look forward to hear from you"?
There are several expressions in English that are used often in business settings – look forward to, be responsible for, get excited about, be interested in, etc. Each of these verb phrases or expressions ends in a preposition – to, for, about, and in. Prepositions are used in a variety of ways (You can find more info about strengthening preposition use here). But, there is a rule:
If a preposition is followed by a word, it must be a noun.
As a reminder, nouns are people, places, things, or ideas. Interestingly, gerunds (verb+ing) can work as nouns. For example:
I love swimming.
In this sentence, swimming is a noun because it answers the question what? (I love what? Swimming.)
So, for those common business expressions, they must be followed by a gerund because it works like a noun.
I look forward to meeting you. OR I’m looking forward to meeting you.
I’m responsible for closing this deal.
Let’s get excited about selling our newest product.
I’m interested in hearing more about this merger.
Using “appreciate” correctly may seem tricky, but it is fairly straightforward if you remember that appreciate is a verb. Here is the first common question about using “appreciate”:
Is it correct to say that “I'm very much appreciated your offer"?
No, this is not correct. Remember, “appreciate” is a verb. In the above sentence, it is used as an adjective. I think this mistake is made due to a misunderstanding in listening. Sometimes, people say:
I’m very appreciative of your offer.
While I don’t think this is as stylistically correct, it is grammatically correct because appreciative is an adjective. However, I think non-native speakers of English sometimes HEAR this as, “I’m very appreciated your offer,” which is NOT correct.
Here’s the second common question about using “appreciate”:
Is "I really appreciate your time" correct or not?
Yes! This is correct because “appreciate” is properly used as a verb.
Another common question type is how to draw attention to a file that is attached to an email. Here are some variations of that:
Is "Please find attached my resume" grammatically correct?
Please find the attached file or please find attached the file?
Is “Please see attached document” correct?
Please find attached the new Word document or Attached please find the new Word document?
While all of these are grammatically correct, some sound more direct than others. Personally, I prefer, “Attached please find…” because it indicates the attachment right at the beginning of the sentence. Remember, good Business English is simple and direct.
That said, all variations of the phrase “please see attached” are overworked and a little stuffy. Most style guides caution against using this phrase for both native and non-native business writers. Express this even more directly: “Your proposal is attached.” Or, “My resume is attached.”
We get lots of questions about the best way to close a business email. Here are some of the most common:
"Regards," "Best regards," "Sincerely," "Yours Faithfully," and all of the other formulations?
All of these are correct aside from “Yours faithfully.” While this may be appropriate in other parts of the world where English is used (India would be a prime example of where this would be appropriate), it is not appropriate for Business English contexts in the U.S.
Is it correct to say, "please kindly let me know"?
While this is grammatically correct, it is stylistically lacking. Kindly doesn’t add anything to the sentence and actually weakens your request. It is always best to state your request as simply and directly as possible:
Please let me know which product you prefer by Friday, August 15th.
Saying Thank you
The final most common type of question we get is how to say thank you correctly. Here are some variations:
“Thanks to all or thanks all or thank you everyone?”
“Thanks to all” is correct if you add a noun clause after it. For example:
Thanks to all who volunteered to man the booth at the convention.
Thank you everyone is correct just as it is, but thanks all is too casual for Business English contexts.
Is it proper to use a comma after saying thank you?
The answer to this is yes, most of the time. Two common variations are when followed by a name (Thank you, Mary) and when used as a closing salutation.
About the author
Katie Almeida Spencer
Katie is an experienced Business Writing and English as a Second Language instructor, business writing coach, and teacher trainer. She taught Business and Academic Writing at the University of Massachusetts Boston. She holds a B.A. in Journalism from the University of Rhode Island and an M.A. in Applied Linguistics from the University of Massachusetts Boston.