Functional language in email writing

The seventh post in the email writing series looks at functional language. These are expressions used for a particular purpose, such as expressing best wishes or giving a compliment. The more fluent you are in English the more proficient you are in saying exactly what you mean in different ways.

Here are five language functions that are used frequently in business communication. In the next blog post in the email writing series we will look at five more language expressions.

Choose the best expression for each situation. Then check your answer and find out other ways of saying the same thing. Practise using these expressions in your own email writing.

1. A colleague is launching a new web site. Send best wishes to the person.

a) Good to see.

b) We wish you all the best in your new venture.

c) We appreciate what you did for him.

2. You want to compliment an employee.

a) I was looking forward to seeing you.

b) The news is very encouraging.

c) The work you did is most impressive.

3. You would like your business partner to do something.

a) I would greatly appreciate your feedback.

b) I’m not absolutely sure.

c) May I correct you there.

4. A colleague asks for your opinion.

a) I owe you an apology.

b) This proves my point.

c) I’m absolutely certain.

5. You wish to challenge a client’s comment.

a) If you have no objection, we can meet on Monday morning.

b) We would like to make it perfectly clear that this was never our intention.

c) Thanks, but I don’t think that will be necessary.


 1.  b

Other ways to express best wishes:

– We wish you every success

– I trust everything will go well.

2. c

Other ways to express compliments:

– We would like to congratulate you.

– We compliment on the high quality of your work

3. a

Other ways to express what you would like to happen

– We would greatly appreciate if you would respond to us by Friday.

– That would be super.

4. c

Other ways to express an opinion.

– I am quite sure that.

– I know for a fact that that proposal has been accepted.

5. b

Other ways to challenge something.

– We are obliged to correct your statement.

– We must point out that is not the case.

Adapted from “The Common European Framework of Reference for Languages: Learning, teaching, assessment.” 2011.


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