Using correct grammar in email writing

1. Question words


– Use “who” for people

– Use “where” for place

– Use “why” for reason

– Use “when” for time

– Use “what” for information


We are putting together a questionnaire. The first question is “___________ is your date of birth?”  The second question is “____________ were you born?”  It continues with “____________ did you receive your MBA?  The next question is “__________ has had the greatest influence on your career?”  The last question is “______________ do you want to work for our company?”

2. -ing forms and infinitives


Use the infinitive (to + verb) after these verbs: agree, decide, expect, intend, plan, refuse, wish

Use the -ing form after these verbs: appreciate, consider, deny, mind, postpone, report, suggest


The director decided _____________ (hire) a new sales manager.  He suggests ______________ (meet) with him as soon as he joins the company,

3. Conditionals


– Use the future real conditional (If / when + simple present, will ..) when you talk about an agreement or hypothetical proposals.

– Use the past real conditional (If past tense, past tense) when a proposal is less certain.


If we _____________ (use) the outsourcing website Elance, we _____________ (find) many qualified web designers.   If our expenses _____________ (not be) so high, we _________   (can) hire freelancers.

4. Passive voice


– Use the passive when you are not interested who is responsible for the action.

– Use the passive to describe a process or a procedure.

– Use it when you want to be more impersonal.


Microsoft ______________ (found) in 1975.  When the company went public in 1986, three billionaires and 12,000 millionaires ____________ (create) from its employees. In the 1990s the company ________________ (charge) with antitrust violations.

 5. Relative clauses


– Use a relative clause to give additional information in a sentence.

– Use who / that to identify people

– Use that / which to identify things


Did you read the email ___________ I sent to you? It refers to the new head of Human Resources __________ has just joined our company.


1. what, where, when, who, why

2. to hire, meeting

3. used, would find, were not, could

4. was founded, were created, was charged

5. that, who

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