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Email Etiquette

This libguide includes tips about email etiquette for students and professionals. In the age of digital technology, it's important to maintain clear communication


This libguide covers email etiquette, sometimes referred to as “netiquette.” In today’s rapidly advancing world of technology, email is an important component to communication. As with any other method of communication, lack of etiquette often results in misunderstandings and conflict. By following a few simple rules, you can take control of your email and ensure your message reaches its intended recipient clearly. Sometimes, email becomes the first impression others have of you. The pages within this guide provide important tips for conveying a professional image, as well as avoiding potential email conflicts or indiscretions. Above all, remember that email is rather immortal, meaning your email may live long after you. Prompt and irrational responses have a way of coming back to haunt.


  • Avoid sloppiness: it's unprofessional and annoying
  • Use proper grammar, spelling, and sentence structure
  • Capitalize the first letter in the beginning word of a sentence and in all proper nouns
  • Avoid using all uppercase letters; it is equivalent to shouting and is abrasive
  • Use abbreviations and acronyms sparingly (Don’t assume your reader knows the meaning of abbreviations and acronyms just because you do)
  • Avoid using emoticons (emoticons are fine in casual texts, but not for business email correspondence)
  • Answer your email (Replying to an email shows courteous behavior, even if it is a simple one-line message to indicate you received the email)
  • Do not use "Reply all" unless it is crucial that all recipients view the reply

In higher education, communication between faculty and students is imperative to scholarship. It’s common courtesy to reply to emails in a timely fashion. Letting the sender know that you value their question or input is crucial to maintaining professional relationships. Students should ensure emails appear professional by stating the course and section number in the subject line. Professors may have hundreds of students and just stating “It’s Jimmy” in the subject line is useless. Name the course in which you’re a student and briefly and clearly state the purpose of the email. Avoid textspeak and slang.

When we follow appropriate rules of conduct, whether in the office, classroom, or home, clear communication becomes more effective. Take a look at the pages within this libguide and see how your email etiquette stacks up.

Email Etiquette

"Email has changed the way that people communicate with each other all across the world. The Radicati Group estimated that the number of emails sent each day worldwide is about 210 billion (Tschabitscher). When it comes to email, it is hard sometimes to determine the tone conveyed by the words. Lack of emotion in the email can lead to dangerous results. According to Shipley and Schwalbe (2007, p. 9), “the message written without regard to tone becomes a blank screen onto which the reader projects his own fears, prejudices, and anxieties.” Emails have left a countless number of people angry with each other, fired from their jobs, and have even landed people in jail. Every trainee in business that uses email should learn the proper way to form an email and know that the consequences can be severe. This training module includes a variety of topics related to email and will teach employees the proper way to compose and send emails as to not get themselves, or anyone else, in trouble."

The information above is under a  Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported (CC BY-SA 3.0)


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