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:
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.