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Speak Spanish like a Native
Girl in front of laptop trying to write an email in Spanish

Writing emails is always slightly tricky, particularly in a foreign language, as there are many unwritten rules and subtle distinctions about word choice and formality. In this section we’ll look at a host of different email templates and situations so you’re completely prepared to write any type of email you may need.

First, how do you actually say ‘email’ in Spanish? The full term is correo electrónico (electronic mail) but most people just say correo. Email (pronounced with the stress on mail, not e) is fine too with correo and email being interchangeable. E-mail with a hyphen is much less common, as it is increasingly in English. Unlike English, there’s no verb ‘to email’, so instead of saying ‘Email it to me tomorrow’ it has to be ‘Send it to me by email tomorrow’. For this, you can use mandar or enviar: Mándamelo por correo mañana or Envíamelo por email mañana. In American English it’s quite normal to say ‘Write me’ instead of ‘Write to me’ but in Spanish it must always be indirect. Escríbela un correo (Write her an email) is wrong – instead, Escríbele un correo (Write an email to her). When someone asks you for your email, remember to dictate it in a Spanish way. This is where learning the letters of the alphabet comes in handy – Gmail for example is pronounced heh-mail. For @gmail.com you’d say arroba heh-mail punto com.

Essential Email Vocab

Recibidos, Enviados, SpamInbox, Outbox, Spam
Papelera, BorradoresTrash, Drafts
De, Para, AsuntoFrom, To, Subject
Cc, CcoCc, Bcc
Adjuntar, AdjuntoAttach, Attachment
Archivo/Fichero, CarpetasFile, Folders
Redactar, EnviarNew, Send
Responder, ReenviarReply, Forward
Insertar, EnlaceInsert, Link

If you’re wondering why Bcc is Cco, it’s because blind carbon copy is translated as copia de carbón oculta. Now we’re ready to start writing emails. For informal ones to family or friends, the easiest way to start is with a simple hola, buenas or querido. You can omit opening question and exclamation marks if you wish, relax your punctuation, use colloquial language, and use and not usted. Then sign off with besos or abrazos. Unlike in English where wishing hugs and kisses might seem a bit much it’s completely normal in Spanish. You can play around too with augmentatives (besotes, abrazotes, besazos) and diminutives (besitos, besillos). Equally you can say un beso, un abrazo, un besote, etc. Before abrazo, it’s quite common to add fuerte (literally, strong) – un fuerte abrazo. If you’re male and writing to a male friend it’s more usual to use abrazos rather than besos although plenty of guys send besos too. Let’s look at a couple of examples.

Email to family member

Hola, Mamá:

Ya has hablado con tito Javi? Se queda en Murcia al final? Espero que esté contento con el nuevo curro. Por cierto, la semana que viene es puente y he pensado en bajar, te parece bien o estarás muy liada? Sé que tienes muchas cosas ahora. Ya me dirás!

Te quiero. Besos!

Hi Mum,

Have you spoken to Uncle Javi? Did he decide to stay in Murcia in the end? I hope he’s happy with his new job. BTW, it’s a bank holiday next week and I’d thought about popping down, would that suit or will you be too busy? I know you’re rushed off your feet right now. Let me know!

Lots of love x

Email to friend

Buenass, Carmelo:

Qué tal crack? Te escribo porque el finde que viene estaré por Madrid así que si tienes un hueco quedamos para unas cerves o algo. El sabado por la tarde por ejemplo? Estaría bien charlar y ponernos al día.

Un abrazo! Carlos

Heyy Carmelo,

How’s it going champ? I’m writing to you because this weekend I’ll be in Madrid so if you’ve got an opening we could meet for a few beers or something. Saturday afternoon for example? It would be good to have a chat and a catch up.

All the best, Carlos

What about at work? Here, unless it’s to a colleague you work closely with, it’s more appropriate to start with Buenos días or Buenas tardes instead of just Buenas, and sign off with Saludos or Un saludo. For important emails, care should be taken with punctuation. In Spain, for emails sent within the company, use and vosotros instead of usted and ustedes. If you sent an email to a few colleagues addressing them as ustedes it would sound very stiff and distant. This differs from similar languages like French where vous is much more commonplace. In Latin America on the other hand, you’d always use ustedes and, in many countries, you’d favour usted over .

For clients and customers it depends on the business and the nature of the email. A company reaching out to bloggers on Instagram or promoting their new smartphone app would seem out of touch if it used usted. Conversely, if it were contacting a potential investor, at least on initial contact, it would be rude and unprofessional to use . In the end you have to judge based on the situation and environment in which you find yourself.

Email to work colleagues

Buenos días Carlos y Cristina:

¿Cómo estáis? De cara a poder resolver el cierre mensual en las fechas establecidas por el Departamento Financiero, os pido por favor que todas vuestras facturas sean aprobadas y enviadas antes del día 25. Las facturas que sean recibidas con posterioridad no serán tramitadas haste el mes siguiente. Gracias por vuestra colaboración.

Un saludo, Ana

Good morning Carlos and Cristina,

How are you both? With regard to resolving the monthly closure in the finance department’s time frame, please make sure all your invoices are approved and sent before the 25th. Any invoices received after this date won’t be processed until the following month. Thanks for your cooperation.

Regards, Ana

Email to important client

Estimado Sr. Rodríguez:

Soy Ángel Sastre, responsable del Departamento Legal de la empresa TBP. Me pongo en contacto con usted para informarle sobre unos cambios en las condiciones de su fondo de inversión. Ajuntado a este correo encontrará un documento explicativo. Si tiene cualquier duda me puede contactar mediante teléfono, email o en persona en nuestras oficinas, lo que más le convenga a usted.

Reciba un cordial saludo, Ángel Sastre

Dear Mr. Rodríguez,

I’m Ángel Sastre, the person in charge of the Legal Department at the company TBP. I’m writing to inform you about a number of changes to the conditions of your investment fund. Attached to this email you’ll find an explanatory document. If anything is unclear you can contact me by phone, email or in person at our offices, whichever is most convenient.

Sincerely, Ángel Sastre

As you can see, for formal emails, Un cordial saludo or Saludos cordiales are more appropriate than just a saludo. Other slightly less common options are Atentamente and Sinceramente. For the greeting use Estimado señor/Estimada señora or the abbreviated version, Estimado Sr./Estimada Sra. Instead of estimado, Buenas días/tardes are also fine. If you’re unsure who exactly will receive it, and really want to be formal, then A quien le corresponda (To whom it may concern) or Muy señores míos can be used. Muy señores míos is extremely formal and is best reserved for older people is positions of importance.

Informal promotional email to customer

¡Planazos de verano!

Ha llegado el verano y la hora de ir a la playa. Píllate un cochazo de TBP y disfruta de un viaje inolvidable. Te esperan un montón de experiencias y planazos gratis cuando alquilas un coche con nosotros ¿Te apuntas? Bájate la app para tu dispositivo Android o IOS, ¡no esperes más!

¡Buen finde!

Summer plans!!!

Summer’s arrived and it’s beach time. Grab a amazing car from TBP and enjoy an unforgettable trip. Loads of incredible free experiences and plans are waiting for you when you hire one of our cars. Are you in? Download the Android or IOS app. What are you waiting for?

Have a great weekend!

What about contacting a company yourself to ask for information, complain, book, or cancel/contract a service?

Email asking for information

Buenas tardes:

Quería saber un poco más de información sobre vuestros servicios. Me voy una temporada a Irlanda y quiero llevarme el piano (es de cola). ¿Es algo que podríais hacer?. ¿Cuánto costaría aproximadamente? Es muy importante que llegue en perfecto estado, ¿ofrecéis algun tipo de seguro?

Saludos, María Jose

Good afternoon,

I wanted to find out a little more about the services you offer. I’m moving to Ireland for a spell and I want to take my piano with me (it’s a grand). Is that something you could do? Approximately how much would it cost? It’s essential that it arrives in perfect condition. Do you offer any type of insurance?

Regards, María Jose

It’s best to use the imperfect tense (quería) when asking for things, or in this case information. Quiero saber un… sounds slightly abrupt. To be more formal, as we’ll see in a moment, you can switch to the conditional: querría or me gustaría. Unless you’re writing to a particular person who you’re already familiar with, use the plural you – vosotros or ustedes.

Formal email asking for information

Buenos días:

Tengo una consulta. En el documento que ustedes me dieron como confirmación de la solicitud del canje de permiso de conducción, pone: «se le concede un plazo de 10 días para aportar dichos documentos, si así no lo hiciera se le tendrá por desistida la petición». Las primeras citas que me ofrece la página web son el 15 y 18 – dos fechas en las cuales no podré acudir y que son más de 10 días posteriores a la cita original. Me gustaría por favor que me confirmasen que no habrá problema al elegir una cita después de esas fechas para ultimar el canje. Espero su respuesta.

Saludos cordiales, Nestor Galán

Good morning,

I have an enquiry. In the document that I was given as confirmation of the application to exchange my driving licence, it says: ‘you are given a period of 10 days to provide the stated documents, otherwise the application will be assumed to be withdrawn’. The first appointments that the web page offers are the 15th and 18th – on neither of which I’m able to come and both of which are more than 10 days after the original appointment. Could you please confirm that there won’t be a problem in choosing an appointment after the said dates to finalise the exchange. I look forward to hearing back from you.

Sincerely, Nestor Galán

Espero su/tu respuesta, and the more informal espero tus noticias, although literally saying ‘I’m waiting for your reply/news’, translate as ‘looking forward to hearing from you’. In Spanish, unlike English, it’s perfectly normal to use the imperative instead of the imperfect or conditional to ask for things. Me gustaría que me confirmasen... in the email above could, for example, be changed to Confírmenme por favor que… It’s good to add the por favor though as it softens the reception – mind your Ps and Qs. Using the imperative also comes in handy when complaining about something, as you normally want action to be taken to sort out the problem. If you’re annoyed or angry (as Carmina is in the first example below) then using usted can be a good way to show your distaste and distance yourself from the person you’re writing to. Particularly so if otherwise you’d use tu. If you’re really pissed off of course then you can throw everything out the window and write as informally as you wish.

Complaint email from angry customer

Hola, David:

Sepa que es illegal reembolsar solo una parte de la compra. El plazo de devolución y reembolso para compras hechas por internet en la Unión Europea son 14 días y puede ser por cualquier motivo. Pedí el rembolso 3 días después de la compra por lo cual tiene usted que cumplir con la normativa. ¡Cumpla la ley o no tendré más remedio que denunciarle! Envíeme confirmación del rembolso íntegro en cuanto esté. Recuerde que tiene 14 días (desde la fecha en la que lo pedí) para hacerlo.

Un saludo, Carmina Álvarez

Hi David,

You should know that it’s illegal to refund only part of the purchase. The period for returns and refunds for online purchases in the European Union is 14 days without any justification required. I requested the refund 3 days after the initial purchase so you are required to conform with the regulation. Obey the law or I’ll have no choice but to report you! Send me confirmation of the full refund as soon as it’s been done. Remember that you have 14 days (from the date when I requested it) to do this.

Regards, Carmina Álvarez

In the next example, Carmina is somewhat calmer and the email similarly so.

Complaint email

Buenas tardes:

Hace una semana pedí dos libros (pedido #9389759) y han llegado hoy en mal estado. La portada de uno está rayada y el otro tiene manchas en algunas páginas. Quiero hacer una devolución y el reembolso del importe íntegro de ambos.

Saludos, Carmina Álvarez

Good afternoon,

A week ago I ordered a couple of books (order #9389759) and they’ve arrived today in bad condition. The cover of one is scratched and the other has stains on some of the pages. I’d like to return them and have a full refund of both.

Regards, Carmina Álvarez

Booking or reserving something by email is similar to asking for information – use the imperfect or conditional to ask for what you want.

Reserving a time to see a flat

Buenas noches:

Estoy interesado en el piso en la calle Llull. Me gustaría pasar a verlo esta semana si es posible. Tengo disponibilidad cualquier tarde a partir de las 18. Dejo mi numero de contacto, 123456789.

Un saludo, Álvaro Fuentes

Good evening,

I’m interested in your flat on Llull Street. I’d like to come and have a look round this week if possible. I’m free any evening after 6pm. My contact number is 123456789.

Cheers, Álvaro Fuentes

Estar interesado is a useful phrase that you can use in lots of situations whenever you’re interested in or want something. Two other useful phrases are darse de alta and darse de baja. They encompass quite a few different English words. Darse de alta means: join, register, enroll or sign up, while darse de baja is: close/cancel (account), unsubscribe (membership) or leave/resign (employment). Let’s see them in our final example email:

Email to cancel a subscription


A partir del mes que viene quiero darme de baja. Como habéis quitado muchas clases y cambiado el horario de las demás, ya apenas puedo ir a ninguna. Es una pena porque cuando me di de alta había muchos instructores y clases diferentes.

Saludos, Álvaro Fuentes


I’d like to cancel my membership from next month. As you’ve got rid of lots of classes and changed the timetable of the rest I can barely go to any now. It’s a shame because when I joined (the gym) there were loads of instructors and different classes.

Regards, Álvaro Fuentes

Alta and baja can also be used as nouns. Alta can be ‘membership’ as in: Solicita el alta en el club llamando al secretario (Apply for club membership by calling the secretary); or ‘discharge/all-clear’, Me dieron el alta tres días después de la operación (They discharged me three days after the operation). Baja is the opposite of alta. It means ‘cancellation’ as in: Solicita la baja en el club llamando al secretario (Cancel your club membership by calling the secretary); or being off sick or injured: Estuve de baja 2 semanas con la gripe (I was off sick 2 weeks with flu), El médico me dio la baja (The doctor wrote me a sick note), El equipo tiene dos bajas (The team has two players out due to injury).

Letter icon inside a blue circle on a yellow background

P.S. Postscript in Spanish is P.D. (postdata) which wraps up this post!

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