Email Etiquette

Helpful tips

Email is a tool that can make communication easier. When misused, however, email can cause more problems than it solves. Here are a few tips for creating effective email messages:

Use a professional email address

OSU students, faculty and staff email addresses are considered professional. A personal email address may be filtered to junk mail (ex.

Write the subject of the email in the subject line

Writing "Hey," "Hi," or "Important Info" in a subject line will make your email look like junk email. Write a subject line that is short but summarizes the email (ex. "Question about WR 101").

Do not write in all capital letters

It is generally considered SHOUTING.

Be concise

Most people have a lot of email to read. State your point as quickly as possible to make sure it gets read. Be sure to include all the important facts, but be brief.

Use spell check

Pay attention to grammar and spelling. While email is less formal than a letter, people will form an opinion of you based on how well you write.

Don't delete prior communication on reply

When you reply to an email, it is helpful to include the previous communication you've had with that person. Usually an email automatically includes this at the bottom of your message, don't delete it.

End with a signature that includes contact information

It is helpful to your recipients to have a signature that includes your full name, student ID number, email address and phone number. Here's an example:

Benny Beaver
ID number: 930123456 (no dashes or spaces please)
Phone: 541-737-9204

Never send an email when angry

Before sending a message, consider whether you would say what you have written to the person's face. The detached nature of email can cause people to say things they would never say in person. Email can be forwarded, and cannot be deleted after it has been sent. If you are angry, pause and write your email after you have calmed down.

Do not assume email is private

Forwarding email messages is common. Email containing confidential student information may be shared with authorized university faculty and staff. Also, some system administrators are able to read all messages sent or received.

Expected email turnaround time

Feedback to student assignments and questions is constructive and provided in a timely manner. Instructor commits him/herself to a turn-around-time for normal student email messages within 2 working days, and communication of exam results within 7 working days unless students are informed otherwise.

Archive your email

It is a good idea to save your email messages, including your sent items, especially if you use email to communicate for a course. You never know when they will be helpful in proving that you communicated with an instructor or colleague.