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Faculty of Modern and Medieval Languages and Linguistics


Email Etiquette

Email Etiquette

MML E-mail etiquette

All members of the Faculty are required to adopt these simple points of good practice and etiquette.


Remember that

  • The laws relating to written communication apply equally to e-mail, including defamation, copyright, obscenity, fraud, freedom of information and discrimination.
  • Nothing is confidential – so write accordingly. Freedom of Information requests require the provision of all information held by the University relating to the subject of the request (subject to certain exemptions). This includes e-mails, even if marked as confidential, or blind copy (bcc).
  • E-mail messages, when forwarded, can be invisibly edited - unlike a letter or memorandum
  • E-mails sent bearing your University e-mail address are equivalent to sending letter-headed University correspondence. They reflect on the reputation of the University and may be interpreted as representing its views.
  • E-mail should not be used as a substitute for other forms of communication - face-to-face or phone may be more appropriate. It is easy to become overloaded with e-mails.
  • Tone is easy to misconstrue. Avoid writing anything that could be construed as rude or curt.

               IF YOU TYPE LIKE THIS, for example, people may think you are shouting at them. 


Think Before You Send

Writing emails

  • Check your email reasonably regularly during the working day. It is entirely reasonable not to receive a reply from someone for up to 3 working days, and there is no expectation upon anyone to send or reply to emails outside of working hours (evenings, weekends, holidays).
  • Make the ‘Subject’ of your message meaningful - it will improve the chances of it being read & located. Try to restrict emails to one subject per message; send multiple messages if you have multiple subjects.
  • Keep it simple and brief - e-mail is good for factual information, but not for matters that require tact and diplomacy. People are busy - don't add to their information overload. If you have a lot to say, pick up the phone.
  • Proof-read messages - you may find it helpful to add the email address last.
  • Ensure that emails target the correct audience. Select and identify the group with care.
  • Clearly identify any action required, by whom, and by when – people tend to scan/skim read emails.


Replying to, and forwarding, emails

  • Use the "Reply to All" and “CC” options sparingly – only use if the information is vital or if they are required to act.
  • When replying or forwarding an e-mail with comments, include some of the original message for context - but be selective; don't reproduce the entire original e-mail if it is long. Always check the full thread of emails before forwarding to ensure the appropriateness of the messages being sent.
  • If you forward an email for someone else’s response, tell the enquirer from whom they may expect a reply.