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Six tips for writing concise English emails

Eliminating “small talk” and phrases of little value will help keep your emails short, personal, and not annoying to recipients.

1. Share clear goals

With every email, you need to have a goal and keep that goal in mind when you start writing. This gets you straight to the point, reducing the overall length of the email. It also makes writing, proofreading, and editing faster.

2. Look for repeating errors

You may have a lot of repetitions of words and information in the email. Therefore, observe carefully to find out repetitive information, to avoid redundancy.

Similarly, you should pay attention to the “verbose text” error. It can happen if using a lot of sentences in the passive voice.

3. Avoid “small talk”

“Small talk” is a short conversation, maybe to start a longer conversation, but sometimes it’s just a conversation, a polite greeting between people who don’t know each other.

In email, “small talk” can be polite, cliché about unimportant things between people who don’t know each other well. Normally, you should only use these 1-2 sentences in each email.

4. Remove unnecessary words

You can use a lot of “filler words” – words and phrases that have no value, leaving them out will not affect the content of the email. Here are some words and phrases that can be omitted when writing English emails:

– Essentially (Nature)

– Basically (Basically)

– Just (Just)

– Very (Very)

– Really (Really)

– I think (I think)

– I mean (I mean)

– No worries (Do not worry)

– Needless to say (Needless to say)

– It goes without saying (You do not have to say)

– At the end of the day (At the end of the day)

– As you know (As you know)

5. Take advantage of signs

Signs can be powerful tools, helping you to make a point faster. For example, you use bullet points to highlight key information or highlight the most important part of an email, drawing the reader’s eyes to it, helping them understand what is most important easily. These practices also help break up large chunks of text, making it easier for readers to follow.

6. Make clear requests

This makes it easier for you to get the results you need and accomplish your goals. It includes ideas:

State the desired action. Example: “Let me know if you can do this” (Let me know if you can do it) or “Contact X” (Contact X).

– State how to do it, e.g. by email or a face-to-face meeting.

– Addresses to be contacted if any.

– Deadline.

Remember, concise writing is a skill that takes time to develop, but it gets easier with practice. You can also improve by observing other people’s styles and methods, even realizing it from your own email.

Here is an example of writing a concise email:

Original email:

Hi [Name],

It was so nice to see you the other day. It actually got me thinking. As you know, peer reviews are coming up in the next few weeks. I was hoping you might be able to be one of my peer reviewers this quarter, if you’re available. No worries if not! I totally understand. And of course, I’d be happy to reciprocate.

specifically, I thought you’d be a good person to ask since we worked together on [X] this past month. I think your perspective would be a really useful way to examine my skills, how I might have grown, and what I should keep working on going forward.

Can you let me know if you’re up to being one of my peer reviewers this quarter? (I was hoping to finalize my peer reviewers by [date], so if you could get back by then, that would be amazing.) Also, feel free to send along any questions you may have. I’m always happy to help.



Email after being edited briefly:

Hi [Name],

It was so nice to see you the other day. I was wondering if you could be one of my peer reviewers this quarter? (Happy to reciprocate!) If you could let me know by [date] if you’re up for it, that would be great. Please feel free to send me any questions.



Duong Tam (According to Grammarly)

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