March 4 - National Grammar DayImage by Pesky Library via Flickr

Don’t write bad emails.

Here are some examples of emails I received:


I read your web site. I want to know what class you teach. I also want hear from you answer to questions:

How much your classes cost

I work in South San Francisco and you to come at noon to my office

I want sessions on Saturday or Sunday afternoon

I have to buy a book or CDs or is includeded materials in price

Call tomorrow at 1 or 2pm


some name”

Or how about this type of email:

“I have not good idea if I come next week. Too much deopendencies on work Wendsday and Toosday, andi have all days mainatanance last two days of

Month. Strduay morning may work, and it is high chance of Sunday – but only if weather cancell reservation incollege and I classes nest week.

Signed – some name”


Ok, I work with foreign-born professionals and I do understand it is hard to write in English if you speak another language and just arrived. But these kinds of emails are not great to read.

Some quick and dirty rules:

Always re-read your emails before sending them

Did you hit the right tone, can you put in another please or thank you? The recipient can’t hear your voice so your email can sound downright rude.

Check your spelling and grammar.

If you aren’t good at them, learn! And in the meantime, have someone else read your emails before you send them.


That black thing on your office desks still works [ hint: a phone] – call instead of emailing. Things can get settled faster and you can strike the right note. And you can explain what you need – in a nice, polite tone.

The American way of doing business may be seen as very direct, but being polite and considerate is still very much appreciated.

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