Business Emails

Used ESL business English coursebooks for sale

As written in the school’s 2021 blog article “Say Goodbye to BEC Exams”, the Cambridge English exams known as BEC (Business English Certificates) are being phased out and online exam dates will no longer be offered by the end of 2023.  Swiss do have the advantage, however, since the final paper test will be offered in Switzerland in June 2024.  

Are BEC exam coursebooks of any value? 

Although the reading and listening texts may be dated with the PASS Cambridge series or Success with BEC, the active speaking and writing skill examples for emails and presentations remain relevant. Therefore, for those who wish to learn and practice useful business writing phrases and work on improving on-the-spot speaking skills, these coursebooks, in my opinion, still hold value.  They present clear examples and assists students in improving their ability to communicate logical reasoning explanations for decision-making situations and impromptu presentations or Q&A sessions.

Additional up-to-date reading and listening materials can easily be found online whilst following the clear structure of topics outlined in these coursebooks.   

Where can I purchase these BEC exam coursebooks?

The Boston School is currently clearing out its coursebook library and has listed several business English books on Amazon that can be delivered to the UK, France, Germany, Italy and Spain.  

Here are just a few examples of nearly 100 used coursebooks on sale. All materials in good to like new condition:

PASS BEC Preliminary: Teacher, Student, Workbook and CD’s (British English language: B1)

PASS BEC Vantage: Teacher, Student, Workbook and CD’s (British English language B2)

PASS BEC Higher: Teacher, Student, Workbook and CD’s (British English language C1)

For those located in Switzerland who can not purchase from Amazon, arrangements can be made on request by sending an email with the book title, ISBN number to:

kostenloses Business Englisch

7 Top Tips – Send good English e-mails at work

Today, it is so important to be able to send good English e-mails which have been written with some thought when you are at work.

Why? When using your phone to access your e-mail, you might find yourself caught up in a moment at work. You are in a meeting or at lunch and without thinking you click “reply,” type up a quick response and send.

Then all sorts of things happen and you end up in a chain of 5 people on cc and wondering what is happening! This is why we offer these 10 tips to help you send good English e-mails at work.

1. Should it be handled in-person

As you move up from being a Team Leader to Manager or working with budgets, there are always stories in a company which are shared by the Nespresso coffee machine about “did you hear about?” 

These topics sometimes stray into the “for your information” or f.y.i. space of e-mail. Ask yourself is the e-mail a public one to be shared, or stored and addressed at a review or private conversation moment with the person who is the subject or sender.

The topic being discussed is something you’d write on company letterhead or post on a bulletin board for all to see before clicking “send.” –Judith Kallos,
author of “E-Mail Etiquette Made Easy”, “E-Mail: The Manual”, and “E-Mail: A Write It Well Guide”.

2. Don’t have red mist or get “e-mail angry” with anyone

Let us ignore the current Twitter star of rants, e-mailing with bad news, making a decision to cut a supplier, to stop working for an employer despite the fact you will be paid your notice period and more may seem a good idea at the time. 

E-mail is dangerous because one moment the exchange is informal. Next, it is used as evidence to resolve conflict or to impact a project resource budget request. 

A small side comment has caught many a person because you must remember that e-mail correspondence lasts for a long time. 

Legally, companies are required to retain information in some circumstances for 7 to 10 years!

3. E-mails are not messaging

Companies are using more and more messaging platforms, this short answer or SMS style is now applied by many to e-mail. 

The problem, a 1 or 6-word response may not actually advance the conversation or requested decision very far. In informational situations, add “Information only” or “No Reply Necessary” at the top of the e-mail or in the subject line, if low priority or if you do not want a response. 

When you send a short e-mail in English with “thanks” or “will do” as a message, when there may be more than one person involved who may not be as proficient as you in your use of English, confusion can arise.

4. Always include a signature if it is important

The topic is urgent, the email has “sent by Samsung” or similar on it and there is no contact information. 

Why should someone have to look up how to get in touch with you? Have you not been frustrated as the receiver of an e-mail who had to check through past e-mails to find a contact number? 

This is why on important e-mails adding the best contact number to get you and a note of your time-zone if travelling will speed up the process.

5. Call or warn in advance when you need to send large attachments

There are other ways to send large volumes of data, not by e-mail. Many company e-mail inboxes have a capacity limit. 

It could be as low as 100Mb and if the person owning it keeps everything, your 10Mb report and graphic file, badly formatted CV or similar could bounce or simply not arrive for a long time. 

That is because a low priority has been set internally for large file management on the company e-mail servers. Tools for sending large files include Dropbox, filemail and others.

6. Manage those attachments

“I did not get the information” because the recipient did not see the extra documents which were hidden in the scroll down area if you are using Outlook. 

If you are sending attachments please try to give them a document or file name which is logical. When you send more than 3 files, state in the first line, “please find attached the xxx files / documents relating to .” 

This means that in the future, if you or they need to find the e-mail, it can be found with a simple sent/inbox general search of subject and content. This is especially important for HR or Finance where in the case of HR the resume, interview notes, references and other information may be shared.

7. Your e-mail is about you and people who receive them do judge, so consider using the phone instead

Every e-mail you send is looked at by others, a manager may think “oh dear” their English is getting worse, or we have a training need because it is not on topic, contains mistakes or a mix of German or French and English words. 

This is not your fault or the fault of a colleague, it is simply reflects the need of a skills or use of English language course. That is why we say sometimes instead of e-mailing someone, pick up the phone instead. 

There have been many students who have spoken with good use of English and clarity of thought on important topics who would not have been able to do the same in an e-mail.

We do have more e-mail tips to share on e-mails and other business English topics. If you are interested, please sign up for our newsletter or contact us for an e-mail writing and use of English in-company course.

Do you want to learn English?


Sales out of office email holiday message in English

It is important that Sales and others in customer facing roles consider their use of an out of office reply as a sales or communication tool.

We covered in another post the common mistakes and how to avoid them by writing a good out of office email reply (originally written in 2008 and updated in 2017).

In case you do not want to read the post, they include:

  • Date Confusion – I will be out of the office starting 09/08/2017 and will not return until 23/08/2017 – ask yourself about the date and are you an American or not?
  • Mixing Language – Thank you for your message. Sorry I’m not in the Office until 20th of Mai and I have no access to my Emails.

Usually we suggest a simple and correct form:

Acceptable out of office email example

Thank you for your e-mail.

I am out of the office till Thursday, 27th of April 2017 and your email will not be forwarded.

Should the matter be important, please contact XXXX XXX ( email address) in my absence.

Best regards

Your Name

So how can sales use this simple email reply to their best advantage?

In another example we could use the following:

Dear Mail Sender,

Thank you for your mail. I will be out of office from today and will be back on Thursday, May 27th. I will have limited access to my e-mail during this period.

In my absence, please feel free to contact XX XX on +41 44 319 3338 or e-mail

Thank you for your understanding.

Best regards,

Your Name

PS In my absence I thought you may be interested in learning about our new product x / company video on xxx . I would be keen to know your thoughts after I get back

Signature block with links to Linkedin or Xing Company Page, other Social media

Do you see what you have just done? 

As an English School not all our learning is from books and for someone in sales, the door is now open to speak to someone specifically about a product or service.

All whilst they were on holiday

For more insight and clever use of English, please do not hesitate to follow The Boston School on Facebook or Linkedin or contact us to discuss your training needs in English.

English delivered to your inbox leaving you to enjoy your holiday!

kostenloses Business Englisch

English Out of Office Email Reply – Exercise & Examples

What you may want to learn

The Boston School helps French and German speaking employees of Swiss company offices and others online to improve their internal communications, using tools such as these good out of office email replies in English.

It is important to remember just who will receive your out of office e-mail response and how will they react if it is poorly worded?

Listed below are some real examples of error messages and an explanation of why they are wrong. 

Common out of office email mistakes (all real examples)

Date Confusion

I will be out of the office starting 09/08/2019 and will not return until 23/08/2019.

In Europe and many other places in the world, 09/08/2019 means August 9th, 2019. In the US, the month comes before the day so would be understood as the 8th of September, possibly causing some confusion.

Mixing Language

Thank you for your message. Sorry I’m not in the Office until 20th of Mai and I have no access to my Emails.

In urgent cases please contact XXXX. (Phone +41 …. Email: xxxx)

Freundliche Grüsse

Kind regards


Use of Slang / Informal

*** BIZ trip until 12. Sept 2018 ***

*** please contact XX XXX ***

*** for urgent calls: +41 xx xxx xxx ***

The use of asterisks, biz instead of business project an informal relationship which may not be in line with your corporate standards. 

Acceptable out of office email examples include:

Example 1 – Simple out of office email

Thank you for your e-mail.

I am out of the office till Thursday, 27th of April 2017 and your email will not be forwarded.

Should the matter be important, please contact XXXX XXX ( first name second name and their email address) in my absence.

Best regards

Your  Name


Example 2 (refer to a colleague whilst you are away)

Dear Mail Sender,

Thank you for your mail. I will be out of office from today and will be back on Thursday, May 27th. I will have limited access to my e-mail during this period.

In my absence, please feel free to contact XX XX on +41 44 310 3038 or e-mail

Thank you for your understanding.

Best regards,

Your  Name


Example 3 Date and colleague reference out of office email 

I will be out of the office till October 24th 2018. I will respond to your e-mail as soon as possible on my return.

Please note, that your mail will not be forwarded. For any urgent matters, please contact XX XX at

Thank you for your understanding.

Best regards,

Your  Name


Example 4 (voted most popular !)

Thank you for your email. I am out of the office from [DAY, DATE] to [DAY, DATE] and unable to respond at this time.

I will review your message following my return on [DAY, DATE]. If you need immediate assistance, contact [Name, phone number and email address].

Thank you for your understanding.

Best regards,

Your  Name


Out of office email best practice

German - French - English out of office email example

It is important to recognise your company standards and practices when creating an out of office email reply. Too often it is the last thing we do before we leave for our holidays, so mistakes are common.

It is important to provide a point of reference, a colleague as an alternative contact and that they know you have elected them to cover for you whilst you are away.

Swiss Style Out of Office Email Example From 2019

Guten Tag,

Vielen Dank für Ihre E-Mail. Bin abwesend bis 13.08.2019 und kann Ihre E-Mail nicht beantworten. Ihre E-Mail wird jedoch weitergeleitet und bearbeitet.


Je vous remercie pour votre e-mail. Je suis absent jusqu’ au 13.08.2019, et ne peux pas répondre à votre e-mail. Par contre, votre courriel est transmis et traité.


Thank you for your e-mail. I am out of office until 13.08.2019 and can’ t answer your e-mail. Your email will be forwarded and processed.

Mit freundlichen Grüssen

Meilleures salutations,

kind regards,

Urs wrote his in 3 languages and normally in Switzerland it is two:
German/English or French/English
for an out of office holiday or business email reply

Top Tip for out of office email replies

Da heutzutage praktisch jedes Unternehmen auch andere Formen der Information anbietet, also z. B. Facebook, eine Homepage, Instagram, Twitter etc., kann es unter Umständen sinnvoll sein, auch auf diese zu verweisen:

Für Informationen über unser aktuelles Produktangebot können Sie auch auf unserer Website www.a b vorbeischauen.

For information on our latest product range, you can also check our website www.a b c / .

This helps you to promote your new sales range even when you may be off work on the beach! 

Share if you care

Simple English and German out of office email example

This is a simple reference example to help students to complete an exercise and to bookmark the page for their future holidays. 

Checkliste: Was gehört in die Abwesenheits-E-Mail-Antwort?

Betreff: Wählen Sie ein kurzes und informatives Thema, damit der Empfänger sofort sieht, worum es geht.

Ich danke dir: In jeder E-Mail sollte ein Gruß enthalten sein, und Sie sollten keinen ohne Dankeschön machen.

Punkt: Von wann sind Sie im Urlaub oder geschäftlich unterwegs und bis wann sind Sie nicht erreichbar?

Abwesenheit: Was passiert mit den Mails in deiner Abwesenheit?

Repräsentation: Wer vertritt Sie während Ihrer Abwesenheit oder Urlaubszeit? Wie kann man ihn erreichen?

Zurückkehren: Was passiert mit der Post nach Ihrer Rückkehr?

Vorlage Abwesenheitsnotiz Deutsch

Sehr geehrte Damen und Herren,

bis zum TT.MM.JJ befinde ich mich im Urlaub.

Meine E-Mails werden in dieser Zeit nicht weitergeleitet oder bearbeitet. In dringenden Fällen wenden Sie sich bitte an [vertretende/r Mitarbeiter/in] unter der Durchwahl XY,

Vielen Dank für Ihr Verständnis!

Schöne Grüße

Vorlage Abwesenheitsnotiz Englisch

Dear Sir or Madam,

Thank you for your message.

I am currently out of the office and will be back on the ( Datum) ,,, 14 February 2020.

Your email will not be forwarded. I will answer it upon my return.

For urgent matters please contact  …vertretende/r Mitarbeiter/in …  (#### @??; Tel: 044 – XXX XX XX).

Thank you for your understanding.

Best regards,



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