The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly – Academically Professional E-mail Samples

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Image " delete " courtesy of Flickr User TheTruthAbout... Licensed under CC Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic.

I am sorry this too me so long to upload! I had it all ready and just forgot the hit the “publish” button. These e-mail samples are not meant to be templates and variations are definitely welcome. As well, these samples are entirely made up by me and any resemblance to real e-mails are purely coincidental. Enjoy!

If you want specific tips on how to construct an academically professional e-mail, check out the article, The Ins and Outs of Academically Professional E-mails.

The Good:

Dear Dr. Smith,

My name is Jane Doe (Student number 111111111) and I am in your economics 100 (section 123) class.

I am e-mailing because I believe a mistake was made in the grading of “Assignment 1 – Demand and Supply”. The grade on my returned assignment was 9/10, but the grade entered into the online posting system showed 6/10. Could you please correct the mark? I would be glad to submit the returned assignment as proof.

Thank you for your time!


Jane Doe (111111111).

Yes, this message is very formal! And yes, it appropriate as a first e-mail to any prof. It is better to sound a little too formal than a little too flippant.

The Decent:

Hi Kate,

This is Lincoln from your Biology 100 Tutorial (Section 3-11). Is it possible for you to go over a few questions regarding Unit 5 (Plant Physiology) with me next Wednesday sometime in the morning? I know it is not your regular office hour, but I would really appreciate your help.

Thank you!


Lincoln Birch – 123456789

Biology 100 Section 3-11.

Undergraduate Student, Department of Earth and Ocean Sciences

This message is appropriate for a TA, who is likely more relaxed regarding their e-mail etiquette. This could also work as an e-mail to a professor you know well and have e-mailed before. Note the use of the signature line.

The Bad:


Set up a meeting between Dr. Kerry (undergrad Advisor for mechanical engineering) and me for tomorrow at 2pm. We will meet in room 211.


Do not be presumptuous regardless of your recipient, especially if you are requesting something (even if it is not directly from a professor or instructor).


The Really Ugly:

Hi Dumbledore,

I am really confusing above your last lecture because it made no sense as your we’re going too fast and my neighbor is picking his nose on the way to class. You said that Emily Bronte write to Jane Eyre, which is not wrong and she wrote Wuthering Heights. Do you think she knot the book becomes popular when she lied? Can you give me 2% on my last midterm because my TA did not tink my grammar was better, but she will be wrong.



There are many, many mistakes in this e-mail. Is it exaggerated? Definitely! However, you might be surprised by the number of nonsensical or just plain unintelligible messages profs get. Check your grammar – the “Panda eats shoots and leaves”, not the “panda eats, shoots, and leaves”!


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