More useful phrases for business emails and letters

Here are some more business email and letter phrases. In this list we look at how to make requests, complain, apologise and give bad news.

The examples in the left column are more formal. The right-hand column shows the less formal equivalent.

When we make a request

more formal less formal
I would be grateful if you could … . Could you possibly … ?
I would appreciate (it) if you could … . Could you please … ?

When we agree to a request someone has made

more formal less formal
I would be delighted to … .
(delighted = very happy)
I will be happy to … .

 

When apologising

more formal less formal
I apologise for the delay in replying. Sorry for the delay in replying.
I/We apologise for the inconvenience. Sorry for the inconvenience.
I/We apologise for any inconvenience caused. Sorry for any trouble caused.
Please accept our/my sincere apologies. I/We are very sorry … .

 

When giving bad news

more formal less formal
I/We regret that … . Unfortunately … .
I/We regret to inform you that … . I am sorry to have to tell you that … .
I am afraid that I must inform you of/that … . I am sorry to have to tell you that … .

When complaining

The following phrases may be used as the opening line of the letter or email:

more formal less formal
I/We wish to draw your attention to … . I wanted to inform you about … .
I am writing to complain about … . I would like to complain about … .
I am writing to express my dissatisfaction with … . [none]
The following phrase may be used as the closing line of the letter or email:

more formal less formal
I would appreciate your immediate attention to the matter. I would appreciate if you could sort it out as soon as possible.

5 Comments

  1. Business correspondence | English class blog - November 19, 2013, 6:33 pm Reply

    […] Some more useful phrases […]

  2. Rajesh Kumar A - November 23, 2015, 2:38 pm Reply

    Dear All,

    Thanks for the valuble information…

    Best regards.
    Raz

  3. shery - November 27, 2015, 8:19 pm Reply

    Useful website

  4. Sam - March 10, 2016, 2:22 pm Reply

    is it correct to say “apologize for the… or do we need to say “i apologize…”?

    Does it change the meaning of the sentence?

    • Stuart Cook - March 11, 2016, 9:23 am Reply

      Both are grammatical, but it’s more common to say why you’re apologising.

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