Emailing is now such an integral part of most people’s everyday work lives that anyone who does not know what the most appropriate way to express something in an email is may feel uncomfortable asking for clarification or advice.
It almost feels like there is a set of unwritten rules about what should be said under which circumstances.
These rules can be difficult to understand for people who are new to sending emails in a professional setting.
The ability to write succinct and coherent emails is an important indication of a person’s professional competence, and it is therefore important to understand which email openers — such as “I hope this emails finds you well” —and endings for emails are appropriate under what circumstances.
One of the most important parts of a professional email is clearly stating why you are sending the email and what you expect from its recipient.
What is meant by “I am reaching out to you”?
“I am reaching out to you” is a phrase used to introduce the purpose of an email. Essentially, it means “I am writing to you.” It is commonly used at the start of the first or second sentence of the body of an email. It is generally followed by “because” and a brief explanation of the email’s aim.
Meaning and background of “I am reaching out to you”
The phrase “I am reaching out to you” derives from the literal “reaching out” that takes place when a person extends their arm to get another person’s attention.
When used in a professional email, it is commonly followed by an explanation of the email’s purpose, for example, “I am reaching out to you to ask whether you would be interested in collaborating on an outreach project about ecosystem preservation.”
When used in an email, the phrase is mostly used when the sender and recipient are not in regular contact with one another.
The phrase implies a degree of distance that needs to be reached across for contact to take place.
It would be strange to say “I am reaching out to you” when addressing an email to a work colleague you speak to multiple times per day.
This is not necessarily true of some of the synonyms for “I am reaching out to you” presented below — for example, you might use the informal “just popping into your inbox” when writing to a close acquaintance or colleague with whom you regularly communicate.
Formal email alternatives to “I am reaching out to you”
One of the most important things about writing emails in a professional environment is striking the right level of formality.
The language register of English is divided into four categories: familiar, informal, formal and ceremonial.
Generally speaking, it is not necessary to use the ceremonial register in work emails, nor is it usually appropriate to use the familiar register.
You should always opt for language that falls into either the formal or informal register.
Here are six formal alternatives to the phrase “I am reaching out to you”.
While some have slightly different meanings, most can be used in more or less interchangeably, and all are of an equivalent level of formality to “I am reaching out to you.”
I am writing to you
This straightforward alternative phrase can more or less be used interchangeably with “I am reaching out to you”.
For example, if you are writing to someone who works in a different department of the company you work for, you could use either phrase.
I am contacting you
This straight-to-the-point phrase is another formal alternative to “I am reaching out to you”.
It is slightly less personal and is most often used when the sender and recipient have almost no relationship at all, for example, a doctor’s secretary might use this to address a patient about a scheduled appointment.
I am getting in touch with you
This phrase can also be used interchangeably with “I am reaching out to you” in formal emails.
I wanted to touch base with you
You can say “I wanted to touch base with you” in a formal email when writing to someone with whom you are in somewhat regular contact.
It can be used when referring to a specific project, for example “I wanted to touch base with you about how things are going with the planning for the fundraiser,” or to initiate a broader conversation, for example “I wanted to touch base with you to see you are liking your new position.”
I wanted to let you know
This alternative phrase is mostly used when there is a single piece of information that is being communicated to the recipient by the sender.
I wanted to follow up with you
This alternative has a more specific application than the previous ones.
“I wanted to follow up with you” should be used when there has been a previous exchange between the sender and the recipient, whether by email, telephone or in person.
If there have been recent conversations between the recipient and sender, and the sender is now following up on an action point that was agreed to during a previous exchange, you could also use the phrase “as per our previous conversation” to introduce the purpose of your email.
Casual email alternatives to “I am reaching out to you”
Now that you have been introduced to six formal alternatives to “I am reaching out to you,” here are four informal ones that can be used when addressing work colleagues with whom you are in regular contact and have established an informal rapport.
Just writing to say
This informal alternative can be used when dropping a casual work acquaintance a quick message.
Just popping into your inbox
This is another informal way to introduce the purpose of an email.
Just giving you a heads up
This colloquial alternative to “I am reaching out to you” can be used when sending a quick message in an informal setting.
I am dropping you a message
“I am dropping you a message” is a casual alternative to “I am reaching out to you.”
Its meaning is essentially the same as the latter phrase, but its connotations are less formal.
It is often used between colleagues in an informal work setting.
Hey fellow Linguaholics! It’s me, Marcel. I am the proud owner of linguaholic.com. Languages have always been my passion and I have studied Linguistics, Computational Linguistics and Sinology at the University of Zurich. It is my utmost pleasure to share with all of you guys what I know about languages and linguistics in general.