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Writing an Academic E-Mail

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Christopher Forlini

on 13 September 2016

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Transcript of Writing an Academic E-Mail

Writing an Academic E-Mail
Two Issues
Content
No one way to write e-mail content. Nevertheless, 4 most common situations are:

Excusing yourself from class

Registering for or withdrawing from a course

Requesting something specific, e.g. an appointment, letter of recommendation

Asking for more information about an assignment or task
Using Salutations & Closings 1
Basic formula for salutation:
Greeting + Title / Form of address + Name + (, = AmE)


For professor or someone high up in university hierarchy: best to always use a formal salutation and formal closing, e.g. Dear Prof. Schmitt, / Sincerely,


For another instructor: best to use a formal salutation and formal closing initially

As the semester progresses, you can use a semi-formal closing & possibly even the first name of the instructor if they allow it.
Here I would follow the conventions they use in their e-mails to you.
Common Closings
Formal closings:

Sincerely, / Yours sincerely,
Basic Rules
Do not use anything you would write in a text message, Facebook post or tweet to your peers


Err on the side of caution with level of formality


You have an academic relationship, not a friendship.
Common Salutations
Dear Prof. Schmitt, (AmE) vs. Dear Prof Schmitt (BrE)

Dear Ms. Müller, vs. Dear Ms Müller (BrE)

Dear Dr. Smith, (AmE) vs. Dear Dr Smith (BrE)

Dear All or Dear all, (if writing to instructor & course participants)

Dear Christopher (if I may),

Hello Mr. Forlini,

Good evening Christopher,
Etiquette
Rules of correct or polite behavior in society or among members of a particular group


Always subjective element: individuals differ as to what they consider polite or appropriate behavior


Shows educational level, social standing & respect
1. Salutation
2. Key info (please excuse my absence)
3. Reason (optional)
4. Any other relevant info
5. Closing
Dear Dr. Heiler,

I am in your ANG 045 class and have a question about the paper due next week. I don't understand the following sentence in the question:

"Write a 10-page paper on the character of Romeo in 'Romeo and Juliet', providing adequate support for your interpretation."

I'm not sure what you would consider adequate support. Could I come to your office hour tomorrow at 2 to talk about my question? If not, I could come at any time on Friday or Monday.

Sincerely,
Letter of Recommendation
Dear Ms. Smith,

My name is Thomas Schmitt and I'm studying English and German to become a high school teacher. I am applying for a study abroad at Cambridge University and need a letter of recommendation. Since I was in your English 1 class last semester, would you be willing to write this letter? If so, I can to come to your office hour on Tuesday at 10 to discuss it.

Sincerely,
Using Salutations & Closings 2
If your e-mail is part of a quick series between you and your instructor, not always necessary to write a salutation for each message.
After initial message, you can begin with just the main part of the message but write a closing.

For identification purposes, may help to write after your name in closing your matriculation number and what you study:

Sincerely,

Petra Müller
12345678
English and American Studies
or
Sehr geehrter Herr Forlini,

hiermit möchte ich mich für den Englischvorkurs anmelden. Meine Matrikelnummer ist 12345678 und meine Studiengänge sind Englisch und Deutsch (L2).

Mit freundlichen Grüßen,

Petra Müller
Good evening Sir,

my name is Petra Müller and I apply for a spot in the pre sessional english prep. course.

Thank you.

Petra Müller
Dear Mr. Forlini,

My name is Petra Müller and I would like to register for your pre-sessional English prep course. My matriculation number is 12345678 and I'm studying English and German to become a teacher.

Sincerely,

Petra Müller
Salutation
My name is Petra Müller and I would like to register for your pre-sessional English prep course. My matriculation number is 12345678 and I'm studying English and German to become a teacher.
Sincerely,
Petra Müller
Body
Closing
Dear Mr. Forlini,
Etiquette
Content
Formula: Excused Absence
Dear Mr. Forlini,

I am writing to inform you that I will not be attending tomorrow's class.

Sincerely,
Dear Christopher,

Unfortunately, I cannot attend class on Monday as I am sick. Would it be possible to write the mock exam at home and send it to you via e-mail?

Have a nice weekend,
Dear Mr. Forlini,

I cannot come to class today as I have an important paper due this week that I'm having trouble with. I will definitely be there next week.

Best regards,
Etiquette Point: Registering & Withdrawing
Want (demand) vs. would like (request)


When withdrawing from a course, may help to give the instructor some feedback, e.g. if you enjoyed the course up until then or your withdrawal has nothing to do with the course content / instructor.
Etiquette Point: Urgent Request
Semi-formal closings:

Thanks, / Many thanks, / Thanks again,

See you next week, / See you on Monday,

Have a nice weekend,

Best, / All the best,

Best regards, / With regards, / Kind regards,
Question: Professor or Not???
In the American system, it is common to call everyone who teaches at university or college a professor.

However, this is certainly not the case in Germany or the UK.

Please check beforehand whether the person you are writing to is to be addressed as Prof., Dr. or Mr. / Ms.
Be very specific about the deadline, e.g. The letter of recommendation needs to be submitted .........


My name is Thomas Schmitt and I'm studying English and German to become a high school teacher. I'm applying for a study abroad at Cambridge University and need a letter of recommendation. Since I was in your English 1 class last semester, I would like to ask you to write the letter. The application deadline is this Thursday and I need the letter by Wednesday. Would you be willing to write the letter on such short notice?
Asking for More Information
Slang, e.g. wanna, gotta, should of

Emoticons

#hashtags #fortheloveofGodno

Abbreviations / acronyms, e.g. lol, yolo

CAPITAL LETTERS FOR EMPHASIS AS WE'RE NOT DEAF OR STUPID

Vulgarity, e.g. I can't come to class today because I got a lot of shit to do

Inappropriate punctuation, e.g. !!!!!, !?!, ?!?
To whom it may concern, / Dear Sir or Madam, (old-fashioned & very impersonal)


Dear XXXXX, (= secretary's name or head of department's name)


Dear Architecture Department,
Question: What if I don't know the recipient's name and can't find it online?

Use of Dear, Hello or Hi in salutation

http://www.forbes.com/sites/susanadams/2012/08/08/hi-dear-the-state-of-the-e-mail-salutation/
FYI
Note
When writing to a woman, do not use Miss or Mrs.
Use Ms. instead
Be as direct as possible. Make it clear who you are, why you are writing, what you want and how that person can give you what you want.


Be as brief as possible. Get to the point immediately.
Two Rules of Thumb
Dear Mr. Forlini,

I would like to register for Remedial English (ANG 010). Could you send me an e-mail confirming my place in your course?

Sincerely,

Heinz Mustermann
12345678
English and German
Registering
Dear Christopher,

Unfortunately, I have to withdraw from your course Remedial English (ANG 010). There is another course at that time that I need to take instead.

Sincerely,

Heinz Mustermann
12345678
English and German
Withdrawing
Full transcript