Using correct grammar in email writing

In this ninth post in the email writing series, we look at five grammar points. Since we tend to write emails quickly, it is easy to make grammar mistakes, particularly with verbs.

You should master these basic grammar points for effective writing.  In the next post in this series will look at five more basic grammar points that you should use well.

A good web site to review English grammar is

Read the grammar point. Complete the sentence with the correct form of the word. Then check your answers with our suggested answers.

1. Present simple and present continuous (be + ing)

Rule: Use the present simple to talk about factual information or describe routine habits or activities. Use the present continuous to describe ongoing actions or temporary situations.


 Johnson and Johnson __________ (make) a variety of household products. The company ____________ constantly (make) innovations.

2. Future

Rule: Use the future (going to  / will) to talk about what you intend to do or an offer to do something.


The new product __________ (be) a huge success.  To learn more about it I ___________ (go visit) the head office in San Francisco next week.

3. Past simple and present perfect

Rule: Use the past tense to talk about completed events or actions. Use the present perfect (have + verb) to talk about events that started in the past and continue until now.


Jim _____________ (work) at IBM for 25 years before he retired. He _____________ (have) many interesting projects during his career.

4. Articles

Rule: Use the indefinite article (a / an) before a noun mentioned for the first time. Use the definite article (the) before a noun identifiable to the reader.


Steve Jobs was _______________ unknown techie when he first started out. Later he became one of ______________ most well-known businessmen in the world.

5. Modal verbs


– Use “may” or “might” to show uncertainty

– Use “must” or “have to” to show obligation,

– Use “can,” “could,” and “would” to make a request or make an offer

– Use “should” to give advice


We ____________ know more about our target market before we launch our web site.  We ____________ be clear about the particular age group we would like to sell to.  I know someone at Synergistics we __________ ask to help us.  I think it ____________ be a good idea.


1. makes, is constantly making

2. will be, am going to visit

3. worked, has had

4. an, the

5. should, must, could, may

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