Please, help me understand how to build a sentence in an email to sound natural, clear, and polite. (I am not a native speaker of English.)

Description of the situation: I send a product inquiry to a company and got a reply with some technical details and the contact information of their distributor company. They ask me to contact the distributor for purchasing information. They also have copied the distributor's email address in this reply email (in "cc" field) so the distributor will know that I might be contacting them (and explicitely wrote me about this in the email).

My question: I assume that I shouldn't reproduce all the details they already should be aware of. (Please, correct me about this if I am wrong.) How in my email to the distributor, before asking for purchasing details should I refer to the fact that they already know the essence of the question from the received copy of vendor's reply to me?

I mean just the help on correct wording of the phrase. Something like:

..as you already know from the copy of the email from "X" company to me you received yesterday..

2 Answers 2


Depending on the size of the vendor, your assumption may not be entirely warranted. If there are several people who may potentially receive the email at the distributor (as may happen with a shared departmental mailbox) the person who receives your email may not be aware of all the facts.

Accordingly, it may be wise to refer to the previous email at the beginning of your email (..."per the email from Mr. Customer sent yesterday regarding WidgetCo Widgets") and reiterate any key facts that you need to rely upon to make your point (..."we require, as stated previously, forty-two Widgets within a week").

By referring unambiguously to the email at the beginning, you can ensure that the person who receives your email will be reminded (if they had forgotten); will research (if they are a different person who did not initially receive the other email); or will delegate to the appropriate person (if someone else has the responsibility for this transaction).

Even if it is the same person, the phrasing mentioned above should be usable; it never hurts to ensure that your intentions are clear.

Good luck!

  • Thanks for the help, +1. Could you, please, specify, should I include the phrase "per the email..." before the salutation in the email or after it?
    – rem
    Commented Oct 5, 2010 at 19:41
  • After the salutation. "Dear Sir or Madam; In regards to the email..." or something similar.
    – munin
    Commented Oct 7, 2010 at 15:24

Given the possibilities and complications munin mentions, I'd just forward the reply I got from the company (which hopefully has my original message at the bottom; if not, I'd copy/paste it at the very end so the entire communication is there). Then in the body of the email (after the greeting) you can refer to the previous emails with a parenthetical statement such as "(see below)".

The reason the reference should go after the greeting is that putting it before is sort of like the RE: line in a letter, which is handled by the SUBJECT line in an email. However, the main point of your email is not that it's about other emails, the main point is you are interested in purchasing widgets. See this question for more about that.


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