The Language Bridge: How to Write an Email in German

Bodhi Ramos8 min
Created: Dec 19, 2023Last updated: Dec 19, 2023
How to Write Emails in German

German emails are an integral part of modern communication. They can serve various purposes, from job applications and inquiries to informal interactions between friends or acquaintances. Understanding email correspondence can be quite challenging but also rewarding. In today’s article, you’ll find all the information you need about efficiency and fluent German email communication.

German Email Types and Structure: Explained

In the modern world, sending and receiving emails is a common practice. They can be sent for various reasons. Hence, it is important to understand which form of email you need to write, depending on its purpose. Here are some of the most common types of German electronic messages:

  1. Business (Geschäftliche) emails. Used in professional communication between colleagues, clients, etc.
  2. Personal (Persönliche) emails. It is a form of informal communication in casual settings.
  3. Inquiry (Anfrage) emails. Sent to request information or clarify doubts, often used in business or academic contexts.
  4. Job application (Bewerbungs) emails. Follow specific formats for applying to jobs or internships in German-speaking companies.
  5. Confirmation (Bestätigungs) emails. Used to acknowledge receipt of information, orders, or reservations.

Any email, especially a formal one, should be not only error-free but also well-structured. Regardless of the intention, most emails follow the same structure:

  1. Subject line that summarizes the content or purpose of the email.
  2. Salutation – it can differ depending on the letter’s formality level. 
  3. Main body, where the sender details the main message, requests, or information they want to convey.
  4. Closing – the last part of the email, typically containing phrases like “Kind regards” or “Yours sincerely.”

To learn how to write emails in German, it’s vital to memorize this structure and determine the main reasons for sending the letter. Also, it is essential to always stay polite – Germans value respectful communication, so your emails should be appropriate. Now that you know the basics, it is time to learn some useful terms and expressions you might need for efficient electronic interactions.

Writing Formal Mail in German: Vocabulary and Tips

Let’s begin with formal emails, as they are very widespread in Germany. To create one, you need to remember several essential tips. Firstly, it is vital to maintain a polite and professional tone. Avoid slang and overusing casual language. 

Your email should be clear, structured, and concise. Another important tip is to always proofread and double-check your letter – examine the subject line, Germany email address format, recipient, etc. And, of course, always use formal language and phrases in your letters. 

Formal German Email Greetings

Starting a formal letter is a great way to make a good first impression on the recipient. In official and professional settings, there are a few German expressions appropriate for such occasions. Let’s explore some of them.

  • Sehr geehrter Herr… – [zeːɐ̯ ˈɡeːɐ̯tɐt hɛʁ] – Dear Mr…

This phrase should be your go-to choice in writing a professional email to the person whose last name you are familiar with and you also know they are a male. For example:

Sehr geehrter Herr Müller,

Ich schreibe Ihnen, um mich für die ausgeschriebene Position zu bewerben.

(Dear Mr. Müller,

I’m writing to apply for the advertised position.)

  • Sehr geehrte Frau… – [zeːɐ̯ ˈɡeːɐ̯tə fʁaʊ] – Dear Mrs./Ms…

This greeting expression is the same as the previous one, except in this case, the recipient is a female whose last name you know. For example:

Sehr geehrte Frau Hutchinson,

Ich habe ein paar Fragen zu unserem letzten Treffen.

(Dear Mrs. Hutchinson,

I have a few questions regarding our last meeting.)

  • Sehr geehrte Damen und Herren. – [zeːɐ̯ ˈɡeːɐ̯tə ˈdamən ʊnt ˈheːʁən] – Dear Ladies and Gentlemen/Dear Sir or Madam.

The last formal greeting on our list should be used in two cases: either when you’re addressing a group of people or when you don’t know the recipient’s gender and last name. For example:

Sehr geehrte Damen und Herren,

Ich schreibe Ihnen, um mich für eine Stelle zu bewerben.

(Dear Sir or Madame,

I’m writing to you to apply for the position.)

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Main Body

The main body of your email is where you explain the purposes and reasons for writing in more detail. And while its content solely depends on you, there are some useful formal phrases that can be helpful.

  • Ich schreibe Ihnen, um weitere Informationen zu erhalten… – [ɪç ˈʃraɪ̯bə ˈiːnən ʊm ˈvaɪ̯təʁə ˌɪnfɔʁmaˈtsi̯oːnən tsuː ɛɐ̯ˈhaltn] – I am writing to you to request further information…

Ich schreibe Ihnen, um weitere Informationen zu erhalten über die aktuelle Projektlage. (I am writing to you to request further information about the current project situation.)

  • Könnten Sie mir bitte Auskunft darüber geben… – [ˈkœnntən ziː mɪʁ ˈbɪtə ˈaʊ̯skʊnft ˈdaraˌy̯eː ˈɡeːbən] – Could you please provide me with information regarding…

Könnten Sie mir bitte Auskunft darüber geben, wie die aktuellen Geschäftsprozesse optimiert werden können? (Could you please tell me how the current business processes can be optimized?)

  • Um das weiter zu erläutern… – [ʊm das ˈvaɪ̯tɐ tsuː ˌɛɐ̯ˈlɔʏ̯tɐn] – To further explain that…

Um das weiter zu erläutern, möchte ich Ihnen einige zusätzliche Informationen bereitstellen. (To explain this further, I would like to provide you with some additional information.)

  • Ich bin an einer Zusammenarbeit interessiert. – [ɪç bɪn an ˈaɪ̯nɐ ˌt͡suˈzamn̩ˌaɪ̯bɪt ˈɪntɐˌɛsiːɐ̯t] – I am interested in collaboration.

Ich bin an einer Zusammenarbeit im Bereich Marketing und Vertrieb interessiert. (I am interested in collaboration in the area of marketing and sales.)

Formal German Email Endings

After creating a structured and detailed email body, you need to write a short closing. It should also be polite and precise. Here are some example phrases you can use in this case.

  • Mit freundlichen Grüßen – [mɪt ˈfʁɔʏntlɪçən ˈɡryːsən] – Kind regards.
  • Hochachtungsvoll – [ˈhoːxaçtʊŋsˌfoːl] – Yours sincerely.
  • Mit besten Grüßen – [mɪt ˈbɛstn̩ ˈɡryːsən] – Best regards.
  • Mit Respekt – [mɪt ˈʁɛspɛkt] – Respectfully.
  • Ich freue mich von Ihnen zu hören – [ɪç ˈfʁɔʏə mɪç fɔn ˈiːnən tsuː ˈhøːʁən] – Looking forward to hearing from you.

These are some of the best formal German email sign-off phrases. They serve multiple purposes and can be used in both formal and informal correspondence. And now, it is time to move further and learn how to write casual emails in German.

Writing Informal Emails

While the structure of casual emails remains the same as that of formal ones, there is an obvious difference between them. You don’t have to be overly polite; your tone can be much friendlier. However, it is still vital to create a concise and error-free letter to avoid any misunderstandings. Here are some common phrases you might need in your informal email correspondence.

Informal German Email Greetings

  • Liebe/r [Name] – [ˈliːbə/r] – Dear [Name].
  • Hallo [Name] – [haˈlo] – Hello [Name].
  • Hey [Name] – [heɪ] – Hey [Name].

Phrases for Email’s Main Body

  • Kannst du mir sagen… – [kanst du mɪr ˈzaːɡən] – Can you tell me...
  • Ich wollte dir mitteilen, dass… – [ɪç ˈvɔltə diːɐ mɪtˈtaɪ̯lən, das] – I wanted to let you know that…
  • Hast du Lust, am Wochenende etwas zu unternehmen? – [hast du lʊst am ˈvɔxəndə ˈɛtwas tsuː ˌʊntɐˈneːmən] – Would you like to do something over the weekend?

Informal German Email Endings

  • Liebe Grüße – [ˈliːbə ˈɡryːsə] – Kind regards.
  • Viele Grüße – [ˈfiːlə ˈɡryːsə] – Best regards.
  • Bis bald – [bɪs balt] – See you soon.

These simple phrases can make your casual email correspondence sound more polite yet relaxed. They are perfect to use when sending letters to your friends, family members, acquaintances, peers, or in more informal settings in general.

Mastering German Email Vocabulary with Promova

To generate a concise and error-free email in German, it is essential to understand the complex grammar of this language. The best way to do it is by immersing yourself in the nuances of the tongue and using helpful tools and resources to comprehend all the rules. The Promova application is a one-stop solution for reaching your goals. Some of the benefits you can get by using the Promova are:

  • engaging and valuable interactive lessons created by language professionals;
  • bite-sized learning that allows you to focus on memorizing important things and avoid overwhelming amounts of useless information;
  • user-friendly design and convenient navigation of the app;
  • the ability to study anywhere and anytime you want.

And much more! The Promova application is available for iOS and Android devices, making it comfortable for various gadgets. Furthermore, there are multiple language choices available, so you don’t have to stop on the one! In addition to German, you can learn English, French, Korean, Spanish, and other tongues. So what are you waiting for? Get the application now and become one step closer to fluency!

Conclusion

Understanding the rules and vocabulary for German email correspondence is an essential part of mastering the language. Whether you’re planning to work in the country or communicate with local companies, you need to know what words to choose and what structure to use. We hope that today’s article will help you figure out all the nuances of German emails, and we are looking forward to seeing you in the next one!

FAQ

What is the golden rule of any email?

One of the most important things to consider when writing an email, especially a professional one, is the possibility of it being leaked. Thinking about this option allows you to create a formal correspondence you won’t be ashamed of. Hence, your emails will always be respectful, concise, and polite.

Does email correspondence differ from texting on social media and messengers?

Absolutely, there is a huge difference between emails and text messages. Emails are typically more formal in tone and structure, and they are also longer. Text messages, on the other hand, are a more casual, short type of communication, often with the use of emojis and slang terms.

What are some common mistakes to avoid when writing an email in German?

The most common issue that can appear when writing an email in German is overusing an informal tone and casual language. Another mistake is ignoring the letter and/or not answering it for quite a long time. The lack of proofreading and sending an email with tons of errors and mistypes is also considered a mistake.

What is the appropriate time for answering emails?

It can vary based on several factors, including professional norms, urgency, and personal schedules. However, a general guideline for promptness in responding to emails is within 24 to 48 hours.

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