As with most writing, what you choose to include depends greatly on who is going to end up reading it. This holds true for writing emails, as well. We are not going to cover how to write an email to your friend - you simply write however you want! However, when writing to a boss, teacher, or other instructor, you should take care to follow some guidelines.
Never write an email when you are mad or upset.
By the time the person reads your email, you are probably no longer mad - but you likely have expressed your anger in the email. The person reading your email will quickly become hostile and defensive due to your anger - and nothing gets accomplished.
Never use profanity in an email.
Emails can be saved, and you don't want to look ignorant and be getting into trouble because of an email.
Only write in an email what you would say in person.
This sounds reasonable - for good reason. People come to expect certain things from you based on your behavoir in person. It isn't worth blowing your reputation of being a respectful person because of one email.
Only write emails that you would share with others.
Never include private information in an email - email is not secure! If one person gets it, a copy could be made - and the copy could be showed to anyone, whether you intended it or not! Likewise, an even faster way to spread the private information would be for someone to forward your mail to someone else. The email will show who it is originally from (you), and could get passed around an entire school campus with a few clicks of a button.
Make sure you use proper grammar and spelling.
Nothing bothers a teacher more than getting emails that are difficult to read because you've written it using slang and abbreviations. It's okay to use contractions and write your email how you would speak to the teacher - but never go below that level!
Other helpful hints on email:
If you receive an email that is to more than just yourself, and you want to reply - be sure you click the correct "Reply" button. There is usually a "Reply-All" button, which will send your message back to everyone who received the original message - and a "Reply" button that will send your message back to only the person that sent you the original message.
Never assume you're the only person getting a particular email. By using the BCC feature (Blind Carbon Copy), you can send email to people - without the email showing it's to them! Likewise, someone may have sent you an email, and included someone else on a BCC list.
Have fun writing those emails! Find another Writing Topic in the Writing Lesson Center!