Difference between writing a letter and an e-mail





Differences between writing a letter and an e-mail

1. E-mails are generally less formal.

A normal letter may start: Dear Mr Smith or Dear Sam.

In an e-mail a friendlier greeting is usually used: ¡Hi Bob! (for example).

However - BE CAREFUL - if you don't know the person you are writing to ALWAYS use ´Dear Mr´ or ´Dear Ms´.

2. E-mails are usually short - about one screen long. They are short because people don't like to read long letters on their computer.

3. Due to the fact that e-mails are short it is easy to sound rude or impolite.

  • E.g. inviting somebody to a BBQ - in a normal letter you may write:

Dear Maria, How are you?

I hope you are well. As you are probably aware on Friday 13th August it is my birthday! I am going to be 25 I can't believe it! Anyway I was thinking of having a BBQ at my house at 20:00.

I would really appreciate it if you could come. If you can please bring along a bottle of wine and some glasses as I don't think I have got enough!

Let me know if you can come ASAP.



However if I were writing an e-mail I would probably write:

Hi Maria,

Would you like to come to my party Friday 13th August at 20:00? Bring some wine and glasses.

RSVP Kt xx

Katie has tied to make the e-mail as brief as possible, but the line, ´bring some wine´ sounds like an order. So, BE CAREFUL!

After you write an e-mail, read it back to yourself. Make sure there is not threatening language in the e-mail or words whose meaning could be ambiguous.

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