In my culture I was born in, it is better to avoid abrupt sense when we write something new. Asking a question could be abrupt, and we typically add one subordinate clause which mentions like "I am sorry to ask, but..." in my native language. I tend to apply the same rule when I ask something in an e-mail in English. Typically, I add "One question." before writing an question itself in an e-mail. Does this sound unusual in a formal e-mail?

Also, I use "One question." as "I have one question.". Is it better to write out to avoid confusion or misunderstanding which I do not recognize?


A fragment utterance like "One question" is itself pretty abrupt, but it won't cause misunderstanding.

Whether you should write it out depends on how polite you need to be. If you're emailing the CEO of your company or a customer, write it out. If you're emailing a friendly colleague, "One question: ..." is probably fine. For people in between, it depends on the culture of your company

  • Thanks for the comment. Asking something is abrupt on its nature. I just would like to put "One question." to be 'less' abrupt. The feeling of abruptness depends on a local culture as English is not the only universal culture in this world. I translated my feeling to see how much we share the feeling for better communication though you would feel strange. Without asking this, I would never know. Thank you for the comment! Otherwise, I would not know how someone feel from "One question.". – Christmas Boy Aug 18 '17 at 16:18

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