How an international student can write like a native English speaker, including emails to profs!

There is a simple way to write sentences, and then there is a more professional way. Here are 10 examples of both types.


1 Basic sentence: I don’t understand what you’re trying to say.


Professional sentence: Could you elaborate further?


2 Basic sentence: You are always ignoring my emails.


Professional sentence: Unfortunately, you habitually ignore my emails.


3 Basic sentence: I am mad that you don’t think I know what I’m talking about.


Professional sentence: It concerns me that you do not realize that experience has afforded me a good deal of clarity on this matter.


4 Basic sentence: I agree that you do not have to pay me the $2,800 back, but I still want the rest of my money.


Professional sentence: While I do not request recompense of the initial $2,800, I remain convinced that you owe me the remaining portion of $1,400.


5 Basic sentence: I don’t know what you’re talking about.


Professional sentence: I am puzzled by what you are saying.


6 Basic sentence: I hope that you do what I say in this letter.


Professional sentence: Please govern yourself accordingly.


7 Basic sentence: If you want to keep going with the original agreement, that is okay with me.


Professional sentence: Should you wish to proceed according to the original agreement, I have no argument.


8 Basic sentence: I don’t want to have keep saying the same thing over and over again.


Professional sentence: I do not feel comfortable reiterating what I have already stated.


9 Basic sentence: Can’t we talk about it some more so that we’re both happy?


Professional sentence: Let’s negotiate so that we arrive at a mutually beneficial arrangement.


10 Basic sentence: I don’t understand why I’m being charged for this.


Professional sentence: Please explain to me the breakdown of the fees that are indicated on my statement.



There are some common mistakes that a lot of people make with regard to spelling and grammar. Here are 10 examples:


Incorrect: Thanks allot.


Correct: Thanks a lot.


Incorrect: Hay there, how are you?


Correct: Hey there, how are you?


Incorrect: I wish I’m there everyday.


Correct: I wish I were there everyday.


4 Incorrect: Thanks God.


Correct: Thank God.


5 Incorrect: I went to the Teacher Assistance.


Correct: I went to the Teacher Assistant.


6 Incorrect: I will be arriving on the eight of January.


Correct: I will be arriving on the eighth of January.


7 Incorrect: For some reasons I am not doing well in that course.


Correct: For some reason I am not doing well in that course.


8 Incorrect: I think I did good on the test.


Correct: I think I did well on the test.


9 Incorrect: Merry Xmas!


Correct: Merry Christmas!


10 Incorrect: I have too much books for sale.


Correct: I have too many books for sale.


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It’s important to present yourself as professionally as possible when interacting with your professors. Here are 10 examples of emails you could send under different circumstances.

1 Dear Professor,

I have been really sick for the last week and I have not been able to finish my assignment. I was wondering if I could get an extension. I can bring my doctor’s note to you when I return to class. Thank you for your time.

Best regards,

(Your name)

2 Dear Professor,

I was hoping to make an appointment with you because I have some questions about the class. When would a good time be for you to meet?

Best regards,

(Your name)

3 Dear Professor,

I wanted to say that I really enjoyed the guest speaker that we had today in class. I really enjoyed what they had to say about leadership and think it is a useful thing to learn. Thanks for inviting them.

Best regards,

(Your name)

4 Dear Professor,

I would like permission to add your class because the subject matter really interests me. I hope that you can accommodate me. Thank you for your time.

Best regards,

(Your name)

5 Dear Professor,

I was wondering when the course outline would be up on the electronic school system? I’m looking forward to seeing what is involved in the course. Thank you.

Best regards,

(Your name)

6 Dear Professor,

I am concerned about my performance in this class. I have had some personal problems that have interfered with my ability to concentrate, but I am trying to do better. I unfortunately have a class during your office hours, but I was wondering if I could schedule an appointment sometime this week to go over things with you? Thank you very much.

Best regards,

(Your name)

7 Dear Professor,

I am wondering if the midterm and final exams will be online or will they be held on campus?

Best regards,

(Your name)

8 Dear Professor,

I was wondering if I could come to you in your office and discuss the grade I received on the last test. I have a question about it. Thank you for your time,

Best regards,

(Your name)

9 Dear Professor,

I’m sorry that I came late to class today. I know that teachers do not like this, and I apologize. I will try my best to make sure that it does not happen again

Best regards,

(Your name)

10 Dear Professor,

I don’t know if you ever do this, but I’m wondering if there is a possibility that I could rewrite the midterm? I did not do that well, but I know the material, and would like the opportunity to try. I hope this isn’t an inconvenience. I look forward to receiving your reply.

Best regards,

(Your name)



Here are 5 English exercises to help you improve your grammar.



Ahmad ____ to school yesterday.

a) go b) went c) will d) had

Answer: b) went



I found the course _____.

a) interested b) interest c) interesting d) more interesting

Answer: c) interesting



I want to go with you _____ I have heard that movie is good.

a) because b) due c) moreover d) cause

Answer: a) because



There ___ eight different restaurants on that street.

a) were b) are c) is d) have

Answer: b) are



I would like to go with you ___ I am too busy.

a) since b) therefore c) but d) because

Answer: c) but


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1 Comment

  • student

    Reply Reply April 1, 2014

    Very helpful.. many thanks to you!!!

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