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Useful Phrases for Recommendation Letters

If you want to see other examples check out Sample Letters of Reference

Good Introductions

First, you need to express your positive feeling about writing the letter. Then explain how long you have known the person and what your relationship has been (supervisor, teacher, co-worker).


I am delighted to be called upon as a reference for John Smart. I first became acquainted with Mr. Smart in 1992, when he joined the...

Mr. Smart has asked me to write a letter of recommendation to accompany his application for PhD program in Physics at MIT. I am very pleased to do so.

It has been a pleasure to be Mr. Smart's supervisor since 1990.

I am happy to write this letter of recommendation for Steven Smart. In this letter I would like to express my respect and appreciation for this bright young person, who brought outstanding contribution to the work of my group.

I have no hesitancy in writing a letter of recommendation for Mr. Smart.

It is a pleasure to write a letter of recommendation for as Ms. Smart.

I have known Ms. Smart since 1993, when she enrolled in my accounting class.

I was Mr. Smart's teacher in two advanced quantum mechanics classes during winter semester, 1995.


am honored to support him as a candidate
am pleased to provide a reference for
am delighted to be called upon
am happy to recommend
am pleased to comment on
can offer only the highest recommendation for
first became acquainted with
first came to my attention when
has worked directly under my supervision
has been a pleasure to supervise
have known Ms. Doe for
have no hesitation in recommending
have been his supervisor since
her performance as a
his qualifications and performance
have had the opportunity to
in the past two years
is a pleasure to recommend
was a student in two of my classes

Describing Person's Qualifications

Discuss the person's qualifications for the graduate study in the chosen field. Statements of past performance, accomplishments, and contributions are helpful. The more relevant the items mentioned, and the greater the detail, the better your letter will communicate your positive recommendation. General comments provide a neutral recommendation or suggest that you do not really recommend the person highly.

Since the beginning of our collaboration I know him as an energetic and goal-oriented person.

Some of the main Irina’s attributes are her persistence and diligence sometimes even ranging with obsession with work.

He grasps new concepts quickly and accepts constructive criticism and instruction concerning his work.

While she was with us she supervised the maintenance of all computer networks. This responsibility involved working with 42 separate offices.

He has proactively joined research at our institute.

I would like to mention here, that John is accurate and thorough in his research, pays attention to details and has no dread of routine work.

His extraordinary ability to analyze problems and outline necessary courses of action was invaluable.

In a class of thirty, he completed the course with the second highest grade.

That was mostly due to her assiduity and devotion to work that she was soon able to proceed with actual experiments.

I would like to say that it is pleasant to work with Michael, he is reliable and intelligent person with good sense of humor.

Her greatest talent is in developing innovations for new products.

John always takes an active part in scientific discussions, demonstrating maturity, strong ability to defend his ideas while paying careful attention to opponent’s remarks.

She finishes her work on schedule. When she has a concern or question about an assignment, she speaks her mind clearly and directly, giving voice to what others may feel but cannot or will not say.

From our collaboration I can conclude that George has a strong motivation for scientific work. He is a focused and determined person.

a creative problem-solver
always cheerful and dependable
always behaves professionally
broad range of skills
can attest to his integrity
careful attention to detail
comments are well thought out and clearly articulated
communicates her ideas clearly
communicates effectively in writing
completely loyal and trustworthy
demonstrated particular strengths in
follows tasks through to completion
gets along well with others
handles responsibility well
has a take-charge personality
has a flair for organization
her sensitivity and concern for others
is innovative and creative
is a tireless worker
is mature beyond her years
is intelligent and ambitious
is personable and easy to work with
keeps calm under pressure
meticulous attention to detail
one of our finest, most well-rounded undergraduates
outstanding leadership abilities
punctual and hard working
self-motivated individual
wide-range knowledge of
willing to go beyond what is required
willing to take on new responsibilities
works efficiently and effectively
works independently and effectively
works well with little supervision

Good Endings

Close with a clear statement of your recommendation and a willingness to cooperate further.

Mr. Bright will be a great addition to your program. If I can further assist, please e-mail or call me.

Jane Bright has my strong recommendation. She will be a credit to your program.

I am confident that Mr. Bright will continue to be very productive. He has my highest recommendation.

I give her my highest recommendation, without reservation. Please send e-mail or call me if you have further questions.

I believe in John’s outstanding abilities for scientific work and strongly recommend him for further education at your university, where he can develop and apply his bright talents.

It is satisfying to be able to give him my highest recommendation. I hope this information proves helpful.

I enthusiastically recommend Mr. Bright as a promising candidate.

Seldom have I been able to recommend someone without reservation. It is a pleasure to do so in the case of John Bright.

I will be pleased to answer any additional questions you may have.

I am very interested in Mr. Bright's application and will be happy to provide further information.

every confidence in her ability to
give my unqualified recommendation
has always proved satisfactory
has my highest recommendation
have admiration and respect for
have no reservations in
hope this information proves helpful
if I can further assist
if you have further questions
if you need additional information
if you would like more information
recommend without reservation
recommend her very highly
request your favorable consideration of
should be given serious consideration
should you have any questions
will meet your expectations
will be successful in any enterprise he undertakes
will be a credit to your
will measure up to your high standards
will be a great addition to
would be an asset to your program
would be a valuable addition to

Words to Avoid

Do not include comments about race, color, religion, handicap, sex, national origin, marital status, or parental status.


Learn more about the structure of the Recommendation Letters:

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