How to write an Email correctly

Using e-mails (or emails) is very useful, because it saves time and money, connects us in real time, also allows us to send documents (even important ones) without having to send them “physically”, allows us to send curriculum vitae for apply to job positions. Things that WhatsApp, Facebook, Linkedin, etc do not allow to do as well. Lately – thanks to the increase in people working from home – its diffusion has increased significantly, both in the personal and professional fields. So let’s see how to use email simply, but in a professional and safe way .
Tip: You may also find my article useful how to write texts correctly with the computer, as the same rules apply when writing emails.

But first some (useful) basic information on emails

  • The e-mail or email (abbreviation of the English «electronic mail», in Italian electronic mail) is an Internet service thanks to which every user can send or receive messages. It is the best known and most used Internet application currently. Its birth dates back to 1972.
  • The e-mail address can contain any alphabetic (excluding accented), numeric (0-9) characters and some symbols such as underscore (_) and period (.). These rules may change depending on the service provider, for example Google does not follow the standard and does not allow the use of underscore.
  • Has the form username@domain.international extension. For example:
  • In an email you can attach files as an attachment and can be sent to multiple addresses at the same time
  • Although many think it is a foolproof system, delivery of an email is not guaranteed. If we want to be sure that an email is delivered (not read, but that it arrives in the destination box), we must use a Certified Electronic Mail box (PEC).

How to choose a new email

If you don’t have an email and want to create a new one, the choice of name is very important . It is essential to ask ourselves what use we want to make of it. If it is only a goliardic use, then a name like “butterfly54@yahoo.it” or “superman74@gmail.com” is fine, but if you want to use it for work (or for example to send curriculum) may not be the best as an image . Remember that the first thing they will perceive of you is your email address .

Important: emails are not case sensitive. Or info@stellarsolutions.it and INFO@stellarsolutions.it are the same email address.

For normal use I recommend a name.surname format, avoiding if possible the year of birth, which in some cases (especially for women) could provide some more personal information.
If, on the other hand, privacy does not interest us that much, combinations of name, surname, year of birth are fine, and in all probability it will be available.
I remind you that e-mail addresses in the world are unique , that is, there can only be one, so if your name is John Smith, well I think the possibilities will be few, and you will have to use your imagination to find a name that is simple, short and professional.
For example, Mario Rossi born in 1974 and resident in Rome, may have these combinations available:

  • mario.rossi, rossi.mario, mrossi, rmario
  • mario.rossi.74, rossi.mario.74, rossi.mario_74, rossi_mario.74, mrossi74, rmario74
  • mario.rossi.1974, rossi.mario.1974, rossi.mario_1974, rossi_mario.1974, mrossi1974, rmario1974
  • mario.rossi.rm74, rossi.mario.rm1974, rossi.mario_rm1974, rossi_mario.rm1974
  • and so on

What is an email made of?

The email is made up of various information / fields to be filled in:

  • Subject: should contain a short description of the subject of the message. It is considered polite to use this field to help the recipient understand the content of the message , without having to open it.
  • Body: contains the actual message. It is considered polite to always write something, open with a greeting, be polite, as if it were a letter.
  • From: contains the sender’s e-mail address (yours). You don’t need to specify it, the mail client will automatically pre-compile it for you.
  • To: contains one or more email addresses of primary recipients. The most important to fill out. Addresses can be separated by semicolons (;). Eg. Info@stellarsolutions.it; mrossi@google.com
  • Cc: contains one or more e-mail addresses of the recipients in Carbon Copy.
  • Bcc: contains one or more e-mail addresses of the recipients in Blind Carbon Copy, ie recipients who will receive the message but whose address will not appear among the recipients. It is visible only to the sender of the message, and (important) is not forwarded in messages sent to recipients . A more detailed explanation of CC and BCC will be made later.
  • Reply to: (Reply-to) contains the e-mail address to which any replies to the message should be sent, if different from that of the sender (ie yours). You don’t need to specify it, the mail client will automatically pre-compile it for you.
  • Attachments: files to send (images or documents) can be attached.
Esempio di e-mail
mail example

Let’s look at these email fields from a more “practical” point of view

The email is made up of various information:

  • Subject: “hello”, “Attachments”, “CV” are bad examples of Subject. Leaving it blank suggests that you understand little or nothing about computers.

    “Documents for A546 practice – Ref. John Smith”

    “CV CAD designer with experience – London”

    are an excellent Object .
    The person who receives it already get the content without having to be forced to open the e-mail (or perhaps to ignore it, what do you say?). If that was important I’d open it right away . Your purpose would be achieved.

  • Body: As for the object, writing “Here”, “Hello” are a bad example. For example, if you are sending only an attachment, leaving this field blank, makes it clear that you are not an “expert” in email.

    “Hi, here are the two documents you asked me for the ABC-123 case. Thanks and have a nice day.
    (+ Name Surname).
    (+ Your telephone number). “

    it’s a great message, whoever receives it will be much more open and available and if he needs he will know how to contact you, and it’s all to your advantage!

  • To: if you do not use the address book of the mail program, you must indicate the emails, not the name of the person . “info@stellarsolutions.it” is fine. “Stellar Solutions” or “Mauro Bertoli” are not valid email addresses.
  • Cc : field rarely used for common use (but very useful in professional / office use), it indicates one or more recipients of the email, but from which we explicitly expect a response . Instead, we expect a response from the recipients (field To:)
  • Bcc: field rarely used for common use, but very useful in professional / office use.
    For example, if you have to send a newsletter / mailing list, the recipients should be indicated in this field, so that whoever receives the message does not know who else it was sent to (for privacy). This is because you are providing a list (tens, hundreds?) of valid email addresses, which then anyone else could use to SPAM.
  • Attachments: one or more files can be sent, such as images, PDF, word, ZIP, etc. For security reasons it is not possible to send executable files (.exe, .bat, etc). The maximum size depends on the service provider, but indicatively the maximum size of all attachments must be less than 10/20 Mb. These limitations depend on the service provider.

Important: it is good practice and kindness, ALWAYS reply to an email received , this is because the receipt of the email is not guaranteed, so it is a nice way to say “Thank you, I confirm that I have received the email that you sent me, and I have read the content”.
For example, just “reply” (just use the “Reply” button) by writing in the body of the message “Received thanks”. The “Subject” field will automatically add a “Re:” prefix (Reply becomes Re:)

Another other feature is the ability to “forward” the message to someone else (just use the “Forward” button). The recipient will receive a copy of the original e-mail and the “Subject” field will be automatically added a prefix “Fw:” (Forward become Fw:)

How to write or receive email

E-mail can be used through special programs, generally free, called in technical terms “client mail”.
Here are some of the most popular:

  • Microsoft Office Outlook / Outlook 365
  • Mozilla Thunderbird
  • Eudora
  • Mac OS Mail
  • Integrated mail client of the mobile / smartphone (Android, Lumia, IPhone, etc)
  • Or via web-mail directly on the internet , using the website of the service provider (Google Gmail, Yahoo, Libero, etc)

The advantage of web-mail is that I can access the mailbox from any computer connected to the internet, and I will also have my address book of all my contacts available. The disadvantage is that the operations are slower (depending on the internet connection available) and the interface less easy.

Important: email security

Warning! Bad guys use very advanced “social” techniques to grab your attention and get you to trade to their advantage.

So for security reasons:

  • avoid clicking on links in e-mail unless you know for sure that it is a necessary procedure. That is, if you have subscribed to a service by indicating your email, within a few minutes / hours you will have to click on a link. This is a safe procedure as it starts with you.
  • NO bank requires you to log in and provide your login details via email . These are actually fake sites (identical to the original) but if you notice, the web address (at the top of the browser bar) does not match the one you usually use: it is a scam. Once in possession of your codes, they can carry out banking transactions. Do you have a bank and they haven’t provided you with a random code generator for making wire transfers? The problem is not the internet, but the bank. Solution: change the bank immediately!
  • remember that no one offers you 30,000 euro/month via e-mail , you haven’t won the lottery you don’t have a ticket for, the beautiful woman in your life hasn’t fallen madly in love seeing one of you profile who knows where, etc.
    These emails are bogus and lure you into trading against you. Report them as SPAM and ignore them.
  • NEVER open attached files that you receive from unsafe sources . These attachments can actually be viruses: the most aggressive can irreversibly block access to all data on your computer and also on the corporate network !.
  • ALWAYS check the extension of the file you receive in attachment : if they are .bat, .exe, .xls, xlsx, .doc, .docx, .zip NEVER open them.
    PDFs, and images (jpeg, gif, etc) are generally safe.

[Advanced topic] How to send an mail: the outgoing server (SMTP)

One thing that is little known and which could create some problems for those starting to use email is the concept of “sending mail server” (called “Outgoing server” or SMTP in technical terms). That is, to send mail, our client must use an SMTP service. This does not apply to web-mails, as the SMTP server is managed directly by the website / web-mail.

Who provides this service? Usually this service is included directly with the email (like gmail, yahoo, etc) but if you have your own site, and a “smart” hosting provider, then this is not included, but must be purchased separately. Netsons includes this service for free.

In that case the configuration of the outgoing server (SMTP) must be done using your internet connectivity provider (vodafone, wind, alice, tim, eolo, etc). However, these services, being provided free of charge and shared by many users, can be slow (i.e. take a few hours / days to deliver an email). This is because they are often abused for sending SPAM or newsletters, so – for the good of all – controls must be very strict.

[Advanced topic] POP3 vs IMAP

If you use an account with “old technology” POP3 (unfortunately some providers still offer it to save money) and you use a mail client, the mail downloaded from the server will no longer be available with web-mail access. Also, emails saved on your computer need to be backed up.
Instead an account of type IMAP (recommended) allows you to have a folder structure and that the messages reside directly on the server, so I don’t have to worry about making backups and every time I install a new client , I will have all the mail available again, exactly as I organized it. For example Netsons offers this service at a great price, as I indicated to this article .

Some of the most common free mail services (even with webmail):

  • www.yahoo.it (my favorite),
  • www.google.it (Gmail),
  • www.libero.it

I wish you a good (and safe) use of e-mail!

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