Email Etiquette

Is it email or e-mail? According to Webopedia both are correct. Email like everyday life has etiquette guidelines. These guidelines are not mandatory but have become widely accepted.

When composing an email always include a subject. Be specific and meaningful when filling in the subject line. When a person receives large amounts of email it may be their only clue that this message needs immediate attention.

Pay attention to spelling and grammar. Email is all about communication and even though it is fast it shouldn’t be short changed when it comes to readability.

When composing email a block style, flush left, is used with two spaces between paragraphs. Keep sentences short and to the point.

Never type your message in all upper-case or caps. It’s hard to read and is perceived to be shouting or yelling. If you need to yell then use upper-case sparingly.

Don’t send flames or angry messages without giving yourself a break. Walk away and think about the situation first. Messages sent in the heat of anger usually inflame the situation and are regretted later.

Email is a fast way to communicate but devoid of any “body language”. The internet population has solved this by creating emoticons which are sometimes called smileys. A good rule for using emoticons is no more than two per email. (See emoticons at the end of this article.)

Never send personal or sensitive information. Never email passwords or credit card or account numbers. There is no such thing as a 100% secure email system.

Always use a signature. Provide your name and contact information. A good rule is no more that four to seven lines in your signature. When using a quote keep it short and make sure it isn’t offensive. Avoid quotes that might offend people based on religion, race, politics or sexuality.

And last but not least don’t forget to say “please” and “thank you”. This may seem obvious but many people forget their manners when it comes to email.


All of the following emoticons can be made with the characters located on your keyboard.

:-) or : ) A smiling face is usually used to indicate a smile or amusement or that the comment is intended to be funny or ironic.

(-: Left handed smiley.

:-( or : ( A sad face is used to express disappointment or sorrow.

:-D This emoticon is used to show laughter or a wide grin .

:-P or :-)~ Want to stick your tongue out or convey a lighthearted message?

:-0 Use this emoticon to show surprise or shock.

‘-) or ;-) Use this emoticon to express a wink or to say that your comment is intended to be taken with a grain of salt.

:-s This one means that you don’t know what to say or that is really disgusting.

:9 Something is yummy

0:-) A halo over the head means Angel or innocence.

};-) Eyebrows or horns. Being evil or mean, a devil