Business English Module: EFFECTIVE EMAILS (B2)

4. Keywords and Key Grammar

a. On this page are words and grammar patterns that are useful in a lot of types of emails. Read the information.

  • Did you use any of these in the email you wrote in part 3? Could you have used any?

we
Use this when talking about decisions or policies that are the same across the whole company.
e.g. “Unfortunately, we are unable to give refunds after the product has been used.”

would
This is used in a range of polite phrases for requesting, offering, and accepting. It adds formality to any email.
e.g. “Would it be possible to move the appointment from 2pm to 3pm?”
“I would be grateful if you could reply by 5pm Friday if you intend to accept the offer.”
“Would you like me to call you tomorrow to discuss the arrangements in more detail? When would you be free?”

hope and trust
Both words express that you’d like something to happen (now or in future). Use hope if you’re not sure it’s possible, and trust if you expect that it is happening or will happen.
e.g. “I hope you are nearly ready with the project schedule. Please let me know if you have any issues.” (It’s my wish, but I know it might not be true.)
“I trust you are nearly ready with the project schedule, and I look forward to receiving it soon.” (It’s my expectation, and if you’re not nearly ready then you need to explain why.)

as
Use as + the 3rd form (past participle) to refer to something that was discussed, agreed, mentioned, proposed or suggested earlier. Use as + person + 2nd form (simple past) when it’s important to note who said it.
e.g. “As agreed during the meeting, we would need each of your staff to sign a non-disclosure agreement before they are able to access our database.”
“As Ion suggested, there could be a new team set up to deal specifically with the new rollout.”

absolutely
This is a way to show you’re willing to work with the other person’s idea. Use it in replies.
e.g. “I absolutely agree.” “That’s absolutely no problem.” “Yes, 3pm is absolutely fine.”

just
This is useful in informal emails, as a way to make a request or problem seem small.
e.g. “If I could just point out a few small issues with the document, …”
“Can I just check that nobody needs the meeting room for the next 30 minutes?”

Past simple
English speakers have a habit of using the past tense to make a question or a request sound less direct and more polite.
e.g. “Remy and I were planning to go to dinner around 6pm and then to the opera. I wondered if you would like to join us.”
“Were you intending to come to our presentation today? I thought it might be of interest to you.” (This is an indirect way of saying “Please come.”)

b. Use the exercises on worksheet 4B to practise this vocabulary.

(Your teacher can send or show you the pdf worksheet)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s