Email Writing: 10 Classroom Activities

Today, I’ll share a few activities that you can use for helping students write an email in English.

Activity 1

Compose two columns. In one column, write several phrases from different types of emails, and in the other column write the email types. Students will match the phrases with the types.

For example:


  • Please accept our apology for….
  • I am writing to express my dissatisfaction with…
  • I’d like to thank you for your….
  • This is to invite you to join us…
  • We are happy to inform you that you have been selected…

Email types:

  • A thank-you email
  • An email of apology
  • An email congratulating someone
  • An invitation to a party
  • An email of complaint

Activity 2

Prepare several phrases commonly used in formal emails, and sentences that express similar ideas. Students will rewrite the sentences by using the target phrases.

For example:

Can you get back to me as soon as possible? (I would appreciate if you could…). New sentence: I would appreciate if you could get back to me as soon as possible.

Activity 3

Prepare two emails with a similar purpose (e.g., an invitation to a party): one formal and one informal. Students will compare both emails by discussing: potential audience, email structure, language, tone, and stance.

Activity 4

Prepare several formal and informal phrases for each of the following communicative purposes (see below). Students will identify which phrases are formal and which are informal.

Making request/asking for information


  • Could you please let me know…?
  • I would also like to know…
  • I would appreciate if you could…


  • Would you mind sending…
  • Can you call me….?
  • Do you think you could….?

Offering help


  • Should you need any further information, please do not hesitate to contact me.
  • I would be glad to provide you with…..


  • Would you like me to….?
  • How about we meet tomorrow and I help you with…?


  • Complaining
  • Apologizing
  • Giving information
  • Asking for information

Activity 5

Prepare an email that violates rhetorical conventions (e.g., a formal email written in a sloppy manner or in a rude tone). Ask students to analyze the email, identify the violations, and rewrite the email in a correct manner.

Activity 6

Prepare several greetings and ask students to identify possible addressees and writer’s relationships with each of those addressees.

Activity 7

Students will write an email based on the rhetorical situation—purpose of the email, addressee, writer’s relationship with the addressee, and tone. You can also give students a list of phrases they can use in their email.

Activity 8

Prepare two emails: one is the original email and the other one is the reply to the original. Students will analyze the reply by discussing the structure of the reply, the phrases used, and the stance that the author took when replying to the original email.

Activity 9

Put students in pairs and ask each student to write an email to his or her partner. Students will read the email from their partner and respond to it accordingly.

Activity 10

Prepare an informal email with a particular communicative purpose (e.g., apologizing for a missed meeting). Give students a list of formal phrases that could be used in a formal email with the same purpose. Students will rewrite the original informal email to make it formal by using the target phrases.


About Elena Shvidko

Elena Shvidko
Elena Shvidko is an assistant professor at Utah State University. She received her doctorate in second language studies from Purdue University and her master’s degree in TESOL from Brigham Young University. Her work appears in TESOL Journal, System, Journal on Response to Writing, TESOL interest section newsletters, and TESOL's New Ways series. Her research interests include second language writing, multimodal interaction, interpersonal aspects of language teaching, and teacher professional development.
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6 Responses to Email Writing: 10 Classroom Activities

  1. priyadharshini says:

    really interesting activities! Do More and More!

  2. It’s really a nice and useful piece of info. I am glad that you just shared this useful information with us.
    Please keep us informed like this. Thank you for sharing.

  3. Dear Elena Shvidko,
    Good luck for College Singing Day!

    James Moseley

  4. Barbara Burge says:

    Thank you! Just when we need some manageable ideas as we’re
    all struggling to get comfortable via Zoom, eek. More, More! Barbara NYC, NY

  5. Kalpana says:

    Thank you for the ideas. It has helped a lot.

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