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Tips to write better emails in German

Tips to write better emails in German


These are general tips and recommendations for writing a professional and formal email. The culture heavily influences how a german would expect to receive an email, so look out for those details.

Tips for formulating an email

  • Verbs instead of substantives: „prüfen“ instead of „eine Überprüfung vornehmen“ or „berechnen“ instead of „in Rechnung stellen“.
  • Modern instead of old-fashioned: „Haben Sie weitere Fragen, rufen Sie uns bitte an“ instead of „Bei weiteren Fragen stehen wir gerne zur Verfügung.“
  • Positive instead of negative: „Gern bestellen wir das Ersatzteil für Sie. Es wird voraussichtlich am … geliefert“ instead of „… leider haben wir das Ersatzteil nicht auf Lager.“
  • Friendliness instead of demanding: „Bitte senden Sie uns …“ instead of „Sie müssen uns … senden.“
  • Direct yourself to the person: „Sie erhalten“ instead of „wir liefern“.
  • Indicative instead of conjuntive: Write how it is, not how it would be. Conjuntive lacks a call to action. Write for example: „Wir freuen uns über Ihre Rückmeldung." instead of „Wir würden uns über eine Rückmeldung freuen.“

Typical mistakes in E-Mails

  • Typos: The content of an e-mail should be checked again before sending, as typos not only disturb the flow, but also give an unprofessional impression, especially in german culture.
  • Jokes and smileys: jokes and smileys are out of place in formal or business e-mails. What might be perfectly fine with friends, can be seen as unprofessional with managers or executives, customers or business partners. Mixing humor with business is not a very "german" thing to do.
  • Abbreviations: FYI ("for your information") or RSVP ("Response is asked") usually confuse readers and should be used only when really necessary. Official abbreviations like bspw., bzw., etc. are generally accepted and always appropriate.
  • Irony: Ironic statements should also be avoided. Studies revealed that irony is often not understood as intended by the majority of the readers.
  • Exclamation mark: exclamation marks are quickly perceived as "shouting". Especially when it comes to e-mails with requests, exclamation marks can be understood as aggressive! Don't expect a friendly answer when you use them! Definitely avoid typing several exclamation marks in succession, even though your concern is urgent!!!!
  • CC: Avoid to add too many people in the CC.


  • Even when answering an email, the proper greeting or salutation is expected. There is nothing more rude than just sending you answer, at least in germany.
  • Especially if you write to your superiors, you should start your message with "Vielen Dank für Ihre Nachricht" or "Vielen Dank für Ihre schnelle Antwort". This is always appreciated.


When writing a formal e-mail in german, try to keep things to the point, without too much fill-text. Be polite and respectful. Humor and emojis are not welcome by many people, so be careful when you use them 😅.

Aaron Koivunen

Aaron Koivunen is a German teacher and software engineer. He helps people from all around the world to learn German in an easier and more efficient way. He currently lives in the city of Helsinki in Finland.