<img height="1" width="1" src="https://www.facebook.com/tr?id=1176746405801508&amp;ev=PageView &amp;noscript=1">

Galimatias Blog

Miten kirjoitan sähköpostin englanniksi?

Kirjoittanut: Rytkönen Claire / 30.11.2022 10:08

Tässä blogissa käsittelemme aina ajankohtaista aihetta: sähköpostin kirjoittaminen englanniksi. Miten aloitan englanninkielisen viestin, entä miten lopetan sen?

Vastapuolen kunnioittaminen on englannin kielisessä viestinnässä huomattavasti tärkeämpää kuin suomalaisessa. Kohteliaisuuteen liittyvät aiheet sekä tittelit ovatkin tärkeä osa englannin kielen oppimista ja englanninkielistä kommunikaatiota.

Kohteliaan ja sujuvan englannin kielen käyttöä käsittelemme toisessa blogissamme myös myöhemmin. Aiheesta listätietoa saa katsomalla Galimatiaksen videon ja lukemalla aiemman blogin. Niistä saat hyviä vinkkejä kohteliaaseen englanninkieliseen viestintään. Tässä blogissa tutustumme sähköpostin aloitukseen, lopetukseen ja rakenteeseen. 

Concept of sending e-mails from your computer-1

Polite Emails: Etiquette issues 

Etiquette plays a larger role at the beginning and the end of a business email. Let’s start with email openings and closings.


Titles play a greater role in English than in Finnish. In addition, it can feel impolite in formal English to leave out a name where the name is known. Of course, if a relationship is friendly then a simple “Hi + first name” is fine. However, if it is a more formal message then “Dear” is needed.

Friendly English: Hi John Polite English:      Hi => => Dear 

In more formal English we either use Dear + title + family name, or a Dear + first name. We generally avoid using Dear + first name + family name.

Polite Informal:      => =>    Dear + first name               Dear John and Mary,

For a more informal email we would write “Dear John,” or “Dear Mary,”. For a more formal email we could write “Dear Mr Murray,” or “Dear Ms Robertson,”.
Note that the name is always followed by a comma (pilkku)  

Dear John,

Another difference from Finnish is that the next line will always start with a capital letter.

Dear John,
hank you for your email.

In a more formal business email, surnames might be used. Here we could write “Dear Mr Murray” or Dear Ms Robertson,”

Polite Formal:
Polite Formal: => =>    Dear + title + family name          Dear Mr Murray,

Note that nowadays Ms is the neutral form for a woman and modern etiquette uses this as the most acceptable form. However, if a woman specifically indicates that she would like to be called Miss or Mrs you can do so.

The one situation where you can use first name + family name is when you have a foreign name where you have no idea of the gender of the recipient or perhaps even what is the first name and what is the family name. For example, if you receive a letter from a Japanese correspondent called Reiko Miyagawa it would be better to reply “Dear Reiko Miyagawa”

Unknown Foreign Name:      => =>  Dear + first name + family name / Dear Reiko Miyagawa

For an unknown man write “Dear Sir” and for an unknown woman we write “Dear Madam”

Polite Unknown Person Formal: => => Dear Sir (male gender known) / Dear Madam (female gender known)

Or formally to a completely unknown subject we can write “Dear Sir/Madam” or “To whom it may concern”

Polite Completely Unknown: => => Dear Sir/Madam / To whom it may concern

For a large group we can write “Dear All/Dear Colleagues/Dear + Group Name”

Polite to a Large Group:  => =>  Dear All /Dear Colleagues / Dear + Group Name


A useful tactic is mirroring. This means that you copy the style of your correspondent. Therefore, if your correspondent is happy to write “Dear Anne,” and sign the email “Thanks, John” then you can feel confident to reply: “Dear John; and finish with “Thanks, Anne”. If they keep to “Dear Mr/Ms Virtanen” then you should keep to “ Dear Mr/Ms Smith”. However, very often nowadays, people will quickly change to a more informal version and even start a relationship informally. Younger English speakers are happy to write e.g.“ Hi Toni,” in their very first email.

However, that leaves the question of how do you start the relationship?
In this case “scaling down” may be the safest option.


Scaling down means that it is usually better to start a relationship more formally and scale down/ reduce the formality.

E.g. Start by writing “Dear Mr/Ms Smith, “and then move to “Dear John/Joanna,” if the writer addresses you in a friendly way.

It is much more difficult to scale up, that is to say, to start informally such as “Dear John/Joanna,” and then notice that he/she addresses you as “Dear Mr/Mrs Virtanen,”. That can feel awkward! So perhaps it is best to start formal and scale down.

Sandwich structure

Polite English emails often use a sandwich structure where the same politeness is at the beginning and the end of the email. The content, the "meat", is in the middle. e.g.

Näyttökuva 2022-11-30 kello 9.01.26

This type of email is known as the PRAP structure:


Other common types of email structure are: 

SOAP structure The 4 P´s structure SCRAP structure

These structures can then be sandwiched between polite phrases at the beginning and end. (If you are interested in email structures please see our follow up blog on email structure phrases).

Sign offs

“Yours faithfully” is more usual for personal correspondence. 
“Best wishes” is usually used for cards such as birthday cards, anniversary cards etc.
“Yours sincerely” is used in diplomatic circles and also on personal correspondence.

Personal correspondence.   => =>              Yours faithfully,    
Cards - birthday cards, anniversary cards    => =>             Best wishes,
Personal and diplomatic   => =>             Yours sincerely,       
Business correspondence        => =>            Best regards, /Kind regards, /Regards,  

For business correspondence it would be better to use “Best regards”, “Kind regards”, or just “Regards”.
Note that a small letter is used for the start of the second word.

Try our quiz to test your e-mail etiquette knowledge!

More of Claire´s blogs here.

Aiheet: koulutus, englanti, English language, kohtelias sähköpostiviestintä englanniksi, Miten aloitan englanninkielisen sähköpostiviestin, polite emails, miten lopetan englanninkielisen sähköpostiviestin, sähköposti, emailing in English, koulutus sähköposti englanniksi, englanniksi, miten kirjoitan sähköpostin englanniksi

Rytkönen Claire

Kirjoittajana Rytkönen Claire

English language professional, Head of English at Galimatias


Galimatias on vuonna 1996 perustettu valmennusyritys, joka tarjoaa palveluja yrityksille, organisaatioille ja julkishallinnolle.

Syötä sähköpostisi ja saat tiedon uusista julkaistavista artikkeleistamme



see all