What to know about writing an informal email
Need to know the difference between a formal and informal email? It's all about communication and context.
Informal emails are those sent to someone you have a relationship with, including a friend, family member, colleague, and even a trusted client. Sure, you'll need to stick to the established email format, but you can be more honest, open, and engaging.
In this guide to writing informal emails, we explain the difference between an informal and a formal email.
Then, once that's cleared up, we outline the informal email format and provide 5 suitable informal email samples.
When can you send an informal email?
It's not about whether you can send informal emails but whether you should. Email etiquette suggests that you should only send informal emails to people you have a relationship with.
TLDR: it's all about understanding your audience and the context of your communication
Let's put it this way. You're naturally comfortable talking to your family, friends, or trusted colleagues and will communicate informally. But, on the other hand, you'll communicate formally with your boss, director, CEO, or another professional.
Informal emails are those you send to someone you know and trust. Formal emails are sent to people you don't know, including those in positions of authority.
The difference between formal and informal emails
There's a huge difference between formal and informal emails.
Most formal emails follow a standard format (we're looking at you, Jeff!).
They're written by professionals, for professionals, and have a specific purpose. You start with a formal greeting, provide clear instructions about what you want, and finish with a suitable sign-off.
Formal emails are used extensively in business, and (if we're honest) they can be boring. It's no bad thing, though. Imagine the pressure of having to expertly craft hundreds of unique emails a day? When we're at work or messaging a professional, it's much easier to stick to the formal email format.
When writing informal emails, these rules don't apply. Because you're writing to someone you know, you can find the fun in functional.
You can enjoy greater freedom in how you greet people, convey your message, and sign off (something we explore below in our informal email examples).
Of course, there's usually a reason why you want to send any email, such as asking for something, requesting a favor, or inviting someone out for lunch.
In these situations (and thousands of others), you'll still want to follow the standard rules – even in your informal emails.
Informal email writing format samples
You can create informal emails any way you please, but it's a good idea to stick to some structure. Why?
Because even informal emails are about getting an outcome (a response, an appointment, or an agreement).
Thankfully, the informal email format is close to the formal email format. There are three parts: the subject line, an email greeting (and body), and a closing line.
1. Informal email subject lines
Subject lines for informal emails can include anything you want. But, in the real world, you'll still want to keep them simple and to the point.
So let's take an example of replying informally to a job offer.
- Thanks for your job offer (I'd love to accept)
- We'll be working together soon...
- I can't wait to join you at (company name)
You don't need to try and be too funny, but these subject lines will at least raise a smile. (If you're still thinking about the difference between an informal and formal email, can you imagine sending this to a recruiting manager at a top firm? We can't.)
2. Informal email greetings
Formal emails will often use traditional greetings, such as 'Dear,' but in informal emails, you can greet people how you want to. You can use the following:
- How are you doing?
- What's up? (Maybe leave this one, it's not the 80s)
Because you know the person, you can get personal – but as we explain above, you'll still want your informal emails to have some structure.
It's a good idea to explain what you're emailing about, or the recipient could think you're just being sociable.
- I've just opened your job offer email, and I'm 100% going to accept!
You'll want to follow this up with some information you may have been asked for or some extra details. (Check out the sample informal job offer email sample to see how this works.)
3. Informal email closing lines
Your closing lines and email endings are all about pushing for future contact. Forget 'yours faithfully' and use your imagination! Here are common phrases for ending informal emails:
- I look forward to hearing from you
- I can't wait for your reply
- I'm excited to hear from you
5 informal email examples
Informal emails are about sharing something of your personality, so these samples should fire off your inspiration. We've identified 5 everyday situations where an informal email may be suitable, including accepting a job, inviting someone for lunch, and contacting a client or customer.
You can use these informal email writing examples in your everyday.
1. Informal job acceptance email sample
Accepting a job by email is typically done formally, but if you're taking a promotion from a personal friend, this informal job acceptance email sample is fine.
Don't get too excited and forget to add the details (and confirm you're taking the role!).
2. Thank you email after an informal interview
Sometimes, you'll do an informal interview before entering the formal interview process. These are all about discovering who you are and your suitability for a role before you take the time to complete an application.
If you've completed an informal interview, feel free to send a casual 'thanks for interview' reply!
3. Informal lunch invitation email sample
This informal lunch invitation email to colleagues can be used for special occasions, such as celebrating your (or a colleague's) birthday, a leaving meal, or a workplace social.
If you're making the booking, be sure to get all the information you need.
4. Informal business email example
Who says business emails need to be boring? If you've developed a strong relationship with a customer, client, or supplier, you can write informal business emails (if you want to).
Relationships are vital to growing business, so these friendly emails can benefit your business.
5. Respond to informal job offer email sample
An informal job offer could be given verbally, by email (or even by shining a special light in the sky). Informal job offers are, by nature, non-committal, so you're not dealing with an HR team or senior management.
Here's how to respond to an informal job offer by email.
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