The Email Rules

Brian B Egan – English/Writing

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Beginning with Day 4 of class, new rules apply to emails sent to Brian.  Emails that do not comply with the following criteria will be ignored and/or points will be deducted from the assignment!

Please note that the general form of these rules applies to all business communication in the "real world".  That is why I make you do it in class! 


All emails must be sent to

Subject Line

The Subject line of each email message must have the following information in the specified order, with capitalization and spacing exactly as specified: 

  1. An opening parenthesis
  2. WR227
  3. A space
  4. Your last name, a comma, a space, and your first name
  5. A closing parenthesis and a space
  6. A descriptive phrase that lets me know exactly what the email is about

For example:

Subject:  (WR227 Jackson, Michael) Request to sing in class

If the message is a question, notification that you're ill and won't be in class, etc., then please add a "flag word" or two to the subject  line so the message does not get buried in the assignment messages.  For example:

Subject:  (WR227 Ralfing, Iyam) ILL: I will miss class Tuesday

Message Content

EVERY email (and business letter) must have a salutation, a body with meaningful content, and a complimentary close with signature (typed, of course, in an email).  Do not send me an email with just a subject line.  It's the equivalent of sticking a Post-It Note to someone's phone, and is not suitable for formal or power-difference communications. (It is fine to do this in appropriate informal situations.)

If the email contains an attachment, it is very important to state that in the body (and perhaps the subject line), and to say the purpose of the attachment.  It's easy for readers to miss the attachment if they're not warned it's there.


You may call your instructor "Brian" in the classroom, but not in correspondence (emailed or printed).  This must have a salutation or greeting in one of the following two formats, exactly as written (note the colon after the last name):

Dear title lastName:
       as in
Dear Mr. Egan:
Dear Prof. Egan:

Message Body

The message body must be at least one line long, and should convey the purpose of the email.  If there is an attachment, the content should mention this.

The body usually will have an attention-getting opening (A-G O), followed by the details and bulk of the information, and then a call-to-action close (C-T-A C), a summary, or some other "wrap up".

Complimentary Close and Signature

The complimentary close and signature must match the formality level of the salutation.  For example, in a formally toned email or letter:

Abraham Lincoln

Writing Style and Accuracy

The message must be properly written, with no spelling errors, no punctuation errors, no grammar errors, etc.  The tone must be consistent with the style of greeting you used.  Every message is an example of your work; treat it like it is being graded even if it isn't!

(Return to WR227 page)

Other pages in this section: About Me... | Brian Egan | Last Term's Web Page | Proposal-Writing Hints, Tutorials, and Samples | Tutorials and Samples of Cover Letters for Résumés | WR 227, Technical Writing

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