This is an All Ears English podcast, episode 1922.
Avoid this mistake.
How to not end business emails.
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What is the most important part of your business English email?
It’s not the opening, it’s the ending.
What should you never say at the end of an email in English?
Find out today.
How’s everything going today?
I’m great, Lindsay.
How are you?
I am great.
I’m excited to be here.
What are we getting into?
A super important topic for our listeners.
Yes, we’re talking about business emails today.
Any email really, but especially business emails.
And I have a question for you to start out.
Okay, let’s do it.
Why would you say, Lindsay?
Why is it a really big problem to mess up the ending of a business email?
Oh my gosh.
Well, last impressions matter.
I mean, if you look at the research out there in the world of psychology, it’s the last
thing we hear from someone is what we remember, guys.
It’s not the first thing.
It’s not the middle thing.
It’s the last thing.
So this is going to be great for our listeners today.
That last impression is so vital.
You want to make sure that you’re ending it appropriately with tone, formal versus informal,
grammar, vocabulary, having those native natural phrases.
So you’re ending emails the way a native speaker would.
And is this episode from a listener question?
Yes, we had a listener question.
One of our TikTok followers sent in the question, is it okay to end an email with, may you please
And I have seen students and, you know, language learners end emails this way.
And so it’s a really excellent question.
I know our listeners are probably thinking, I have definitely ended emails that way.
So this is going to be a good one to dive into.
Oh, well, let’s just start by answering, not leaving them in suspense.
Is it okay to end an email that way?
What do you think?
No, it is not.
And this is tricky.
We’re going to dive into the grammar of why we don’t say, may you, and then we’re going
to give you several, you know, options for better ways that mean the same thing, but
have the correct grammar.
We’ll make sure that you’re aware of the tone so that you know what to say for whom.
So what’s the exact problem with saying, may I, first of all?
So may I is asking permission and we can’t ask permission from someone for their own
So it’s sort of illogical, but we don’t think about it.
If we just say it, you have to kind of sit back and think about, well, what does this
I love it.
We can’t use the word may with the second person pronoun you, if we’re making a request.
Let’s give our listeners a great alternative.
What exactly should they say instead of that?
So first of all, we want to refer you to a really good recent episode.
We shared some great phrases like, please respond ASAP or at your earliest convenience.
So go back if you missed it and check out episode 1845, how to show urgency when you
end business emails.
And we have some other options because those were very specific to showing urgency when
you need someone to respond right away.
We want to give you some other options when maybe an email isn’t so urgent, but you also
need to know what to say.
Go and check out also our new business English podcast where we address all of the business
related topics that you have, right?
All There’s English podcast is great.
You can stay subscribed.
We go into everything, but this new business podcast focuses 100% on career English, emails,
presentations, meetings, small talk with your colleagues.
So go and search for that.
Aubrey, how can they find that podcast, by the way?
Wherever you find your podcast, search All There’s English and you’ll see all three of
our podcasts and make sure to follow all three.
But the one that says business English is our exciting new podcast.
You don’t want to miss out on that one.
Aubrey, the response to that has been so good so far.
I’m so amazed reading our reviews from our listeners.
They are super excited to have a resource just for business English.
I wish I had that in French and Spanish.
It’s so nice to have it be more topical to know you’re getting exactly what you need.
So let’s get deeper into this question.
We’re going to give you guys some great phrases here.
The first, I use this all the time.
Of course, you can’t say, may you, but you can say, could you, could you please respond
when you have a chance?
I love that.
I love when you have a chance.
It’s super urgent to let people know, you know, when you have a moment, when you have
a chance is a very native way to say like, this does need attention, but I’m respecting
I would say that’s friendly.
When you have a chance, it’s kind of back and forth.
It’s not putting intense pressure because, you know, you can’t say that everything needs
to be done ASAP, right?
Because that just kind of takes the meaning out of things.
It’s like the boy who cried wolf, right?
Every email is ASAP, you know, as soon as possible, then, you know, we’re going to not
take anything seriously.
If I got an email from someone and they said ASAP every time, like, okay, what’s really
That’s, that must be so cultural because that’s exactly what I was thinking too, is that crying
Saying that everything matters, therefore nothing matters.
So avoid that guys.
Here’s the next phrase that you guys should be writing down right now.
Would you please get back to me ASAP?
And here’s where we warn you, use that sparingly, right?
Yeah, you definitely can here.
So we’re saying you can say, could you, or would you, instead of may you, and you can
again say, would you please get back to me when you have a chance, right?
Would you please respond as soon as you can, or, you know, there’s certainly options here
depending on urgency, but also grammatically, right?
Could you, would you, both totally, you know, perfect grammatically.
So there are different options at the beginning of the sentence and at the end of the sentence.
There are different things that we can mix and match here, right?
And then third, can you, like, can you please let me know right away, or just, can you please
let me know when you have a chance, right?
I use this a lot.
If I am asking a question, I’ll often end the email with, you know, let me know, let
me know right away, or can you let me know when you get a chance?
In your mind, Aubrey, we can do this in another episode.
Guys, hit follow on this show, but what is the difference between can you please respond
right away and could you please respond right away?
They’re very similar.
I feel like they’re quite interchangeable.
Can is a little more direct, right?
Can you respond?
Can you please respond is a little more direct.
Both would you and could you are less direct and therefore maybe a little more respectful
of someone’s time.
Just slightly more direct can is.
I love it.
What about, why should we not use will you please?
I bet a lot of our listeners are asking themselves this question.
I really avoid ever saying, will you please do that?
Because it is very forward and sounds very demanding.
And there are so many better options that aren’t demanding and it’s just almost feels
a little rude.
Wouldn’t you say, Lindsay?
I also, yeah, I think it’s more confrontational and I also think it’s more spoken.
I would tend to use that more in an argument with someone like, will you please start putting
your dishes in the dishwasher?
I wouldn’t tend to say that in a business email in writing.
And even in daily life, right?
If I’m asking my daughter to put dishes in the dishwasher, I for sure would say, would
you put those in the dishwasher?
If I say, will you put those in the dishwasher?
I’m probably mad that they haven’t done it, right?
It’s so direct, so forward that I reserve it for if I’ve asked three times and it’s
not happening, will you please do what I asked?
It’s more emphatic.
It’s just not something that you, it’s just not an option as much guys when it comes to
making these requests and business emails.
So avoid, will you, or even will you please, and instead go for these other options.
Could you, would you, can you.
I love it.
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Okay, Aubrey, what’s next here?
What else do we need to know?
So these all, everything we’ve shared are all quite formal.
They’re perfect for new clients, maybe your boss, your supervisor, right?
It’s a quite a formal email, but you do need less formal options.
These are used way more often.
The average email that I send to a coworker or someone I know, I’m going to use a much
less formal option.
Yes, for sure.
And I think we’re pretty informal here on the All Ears English team.
So something that you could say is just let me know, right?
I don’t have a lot of time to say, could you do this?
Would you do this?
Let me know.
Or please let me know.
And it’s fascinating to think about how much less formal that is just to say, would you
please let me know?
Or could you please let me know?
And just shorten it and say, let me know, Aubrey.
So that one could be used equally with your friends in a text message or with your colleagues
if you feel comfortable, if you know that your work environment is pretty informal.
Yes, for sure.
And this next one I pulled straight out of an email you sent me, Lindsay.
So this is fun.
This is the most recent email you sent me and did with, let me know if any questions
And I think it’s so smart to point out that this grammar, we’re dropping words, right?
We wouldn’t say, let me know if you have any questions at all.
We don’t need the subject or the verb.
We just say, let me know if any questions.
It’s so it is informal, but it saves time.
Like you said, it shows like we have this, you know, this relationship where I can drop
a couple of words.
And I love this.
I love that you’re going right to an email between us or between our team members, pulling
We could do more of this over on our Business English podcast.
So two points here, right?
As you mentioned, Aubrey, pulling out if you have any, right?
And I just said, if any, if you have or taking out that you have, as you said, I love that.
And I also love adding at all.
How does that change the feeling of how you felt as my colleague when you received that
Really good point.
It’s so much more friendly and supportive instead of saying, let me know if you have
I almost feel like maybe you don’t really mean it, right?
But if you say, let me know if any questions at all, it really feels friendly.
Like I really do want to support you.
Any question, no matter the question, let me know.
Oh, I love that.
That could be a whole other episode in itself, adding at all or other similar little phrases
at the end that automatically make it more friendly, more open, more like supportive.
I think about any time, any time at the end, right?
Any time, any time at any time, right?
That same thing.
So much more friendly, supportive, where you really feel that like, oh, they really do
I love that.
Let’s do some episodes on that in the future, guys hit follow.
And you know, I think that this is, this is so key because again, it’s the last thing
you say in this email.
And so this is what is the impression you want them to have of you as a professional
and of the environment, the relationship, the rapport you’re building between you and
That really is the takeaway here that it is vital.
That last impression you leave, especially on business emails.
You want this client, you want the business relationship, you need the vocabulary and
the grammar to make that good first, that good last impression.
You got it guys.
So pay a lot of attention to the beginning, yes, but also the end of your email.
It’s not like you just finish it up and don’t worry about it.
It’s the most important part.
So pay a lot of attention to that.
This is really fun, Lindsay.
Great topic today, Aubrey.
I’ll see you in the next one very soon.
See you later.
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