Professional Email Portfolio

 10% of your final grade — (Estimated time required: 2 hours)

Find in CyMail’s (or another of your professional email account’s) “Sent Mail”:

  • one email you’ve written in English to someone of higher status you either didn’t know or didn’t know well at the time you wrote to him or her and
  • two emails you’ve written in English to people of higher status whom you did know relatively well at the time you wrote to them.

At least one of these emails should be a request and one should be an apology. For each of your chosen emails, add a new discussion topic or reply to the forum below by copying and pasting 1) your email’s subject line into the post’s “Subject” field and 2) your email itself into the post’s “Message” field. (FYI: In private forums like this one, you and I can see your posts, but your classmates can’t.) Underneath your message’s automatic email signature, note the email’s category using a label such as the following:

  • A request to someone of higher status I either didn’t know or didn’t know well at the time I wrote this email
  • An apology to someone of higher status whom I knew relatively well at the time I wrote this email

Use 1) your “English 101D Writing Journal” notes on professional email in English, 2) your answers to my questions regarding professional email norms in English and 3) my feedback on previous English 101D students’ “Professional Email Portfolio” assignments available via my RelateWorldwide English teaching and learning website (perhaps especially my feedback on my previous students’ cultural/politeness mistakes since such mistakes strongly impact your apparent professionalism and therefore your grade for this assignment!!!) to edit each of your three emails so they are maximally professional and effective in light of 1) your relationship with each email’s recipient, 2) however much background knowledge each of your email recipients shared (or didn’t share!) with you at the time you wrote the email and 3) the purpose for which you sent each email. Remember also that part of professionalism in English is paying attention to your spelling and grammar — you have only one chance to make a good first impression! (FYI: If you’ve never written an apology email before, you may write this email “from scratch.”)

I will choose one of your emails to grade based on the rubric below:


Professional Email Portfolio Rubric

E = excellent (10 points)      OK = acceptable (5 points)      NI = needs improvement (0 points)

      Is my subject line clear?


      Is the way I begin my email appropriate in light of my relationship to my recipient? (i.e., Are my greeting and first sentence(s) appropriate?)


      Is the body of my email polite and appropriate in light of my relationship to my recipient? (e.g., Do I use “politeness language” where it’s needed? Do I explain why I’m making my request or why whatever I’m apologizing for happened? Do I show respect for my email recipient’s time by getting to the point quickly? Do I avoid inappropriately informal language?)


      Is the way I end my email appropriate in light of my relationship to my recipient? (i.e., Are my final sentence/paragraph and closing appropriate?)


      Do I use an appropriate automatic email signature?


      Is my email clear? (e.g., Does my email provide an appropriate amount of detail and do I use appropriate connecting words to clearly communicate the relationship between my ideas?) (See SRW, pp. 7-11, 56-57, 94-99, 118-119)


      Does my email avoid COCA-/OneLook-correctable errors?


      Does my email avoid errors in verb tense or voice? (See SRW, pp. 4-7, 11-12, 18, 20, 23, 47-50, 87, 147, 158-167, 172, 186, 192, 201-204)


      Does my email avoid errors connected to the use of articles, plurals, subject/verb agreement, or noun/pronoun agreement (e.g. not using “the” where it’s needed or countable vs. uncountable noun mistakes)? (If you carefully read and apply SRW, pp. 50-55 and 109, you should be able to correct most of your patterned errors in this category — most other errors in this category you should be able to correct via COCA)


      Do I show politeness by avoiding easy-to-correct errors such as those involving capitalization, spelling, or punctuation? (FYI: In English emails, especially in professional contexts, the presence of “easy to fix” errors in capitalization, spelling, or punctuation can suggest to readers that the writer 1) doesn’t think his/her readers are worth even the minimal time required to check and fix these “easily-correctable” mistakes! [i.e., such errors suggest to readers that a writer disrespects them] or 2) is lazy in his/her writing and so may very well also be lazy in his/her research and other aspects of professional life that are “less visible” — which, of course, reduces readers’ trust in the writer as a professional/academic)


Please note: Because I want students to learn from my feedback, tentatively graded Professional Email Portfolios can be resubmitted based on my comments for a possible score of up to 100%. The current tentative grade for this Professional Email Portfolio is %.