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Email Salutation

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Email Salutation

Saying hello and saying goodbye should be simple, right? It's straightforward regarding the number of words you use, which might be as many as five or six. However, what those words are is a big deal, especially when writing an email. Although the world speeds ahead, email continues to be how many business people communicate, especially when talking to those outside the company. Here is how to say hello and goodbye in various contexts.

Proper Salutations for Email

Before you can understand what a “proper” email salutation is, you need to know what an email salutation is in the first place.

An email salutation is how you say hello and goodbye in an email.

"Who" you are talking to is what makes a given salutation “proper” or “improper.” Your salutations will differ between formal emails and informal emails.

Formal emails are business-related or academic emails.

You typically use formal emails for critical business emails, inquiries, and talking to those you don’t know well.

Use informal emails with friends, peers, and casual colleagues.

Use these when talking to people you know. High-level business emails might be informal if the two people communicating are friends or old colleagues.

So what is proper for each of these kinds of email? To begin, here are two quick examples of what not to do.

How not to begin an informal email:

Greetings and felicitations, Mr. Stone.

Way overkill, right?

How not to end a formal email:

Adios, my guy!

Way… underkill.

To understand what you should write, break down the topics.

Informal Email Salutations

You will mostly send emails in a business or academic setting. A friend might email you a travel itinerary, but most friends text each other. All of this being the case, we will focus on your business and academic colleagues when writing informal emails.

Specifically, informal emails are for peers or immediate superiors (once you get to know them). Each workplace is different, so take this with a grain of salt.

Here are the key things you want to consider in an informal email salutation. For now, focus on the greeting of your informal email.

Comfortable Language in Informal Emails

Think warm when writing your greeting. Here are some examples:

Hey, TaniaHow are you, Tania?Hi, TaniaHow’s your week been, Tania?

These are all familiar ways to address someone.

You should use a greeting salutation in your informal emails, at least at the start of an email chain. Once things have taken off and you correspond regularly, you can forego the greeting.

The Exclamation Point in Informal Emails

People have a habit of assuming the worst possible tone when reading a message, so you want an informal email to convey friendliness. The exclamation point is one way to appear less severe.

Hey, Tania!How are you, Tania?!Hi, Tania!How’s your week been, Tania?!

Simple.

If you are amicable, go for the exclamation point. Informal emails are not tests. The less intimidating you appear, the better. Messages without perfect punctuation and grammar can be friendly and disarming because this is how friends text. This may or not be appropriate for your situation, though.

Emojis in Informal Emails

In face-to-face dialogue, people get a variety of social cues from each other. When emailing, you do not get this benefit. The answer: emojis. You can do this right in your greeting.

Hey, Tania! 😄How are you, Tania? 😊Hi, Tania! 👋How’s your week been, Tania?! 😃

These are four fabulous ways to informally greet your colleague.

Formal Email Salutations

Formal emails are for people you don’t know well. These are for job interviews, contacting the big boss, and talking to clients outside your company. If you don’t know whether you should send someone a formal or informal email, your best bet is the formal email.

Hello vs. Hi in Formal Emails

Even in a formal setting, “greetings” or similar phrases sound straight out of the gilded age. Both “hello” and “hi” are acceptable, but if you're unsure, use "hello." Even if you are talking to someone older than you or higher up, you can’t go wrong with “hello.”

Salutation, Neutral example, StudySmarterBe calm and neutral in a formal email. Flaticon.

How to Address Someone in Formal Emails

Calling someone “Mr. Stone” is old-fashioned and reserved for talking to someone higher up, like the the vice-president of your company. So, unless you have good cause, don’t assume Miss, Ms., Mrs., or Mr..

Using the first name on its own is also helpful if you don’t know how someone identifies.

Hello, Tania

You can also use the standard "dear" in formal emails, if you don't mind your email sounding like a written letter. This usage is not as popular as it used to be.

Dear Tania,

If you don't know who you are addressing, you might say something like this:

Hello, StudySmarter Team

You can use "To whom it may concern," but this might sound too much like a template email, which isn't good.

Exclamation Points and Emojis in Formal Emails

If you are seeking a job, you can use an exclamation mark to show the kind of person you are.

Are you the kind of person seeking a relaxed company culture? If so, nod toward that with the exclamation mark.

Don’t use emojis in formal emails. Although they are beneficial, formal emails are too steeped in the written tradition. The good news is that, over time, formal emails can relax into less formal or informal emails.

Salutatory greetings are your first impression of someone. Try to be yourself, if you can, so you are happy with what you get back and how others treat you. Putting on a false face can land you somewhere that you are unhappy.

Salutation, Email example, StudySmarterSend emails that reflect who you are. Flaticon.

Email Closing Salutations

Now that you understand the basics of informal and formal greetings, it’s time to translate that knowledge to your closing salutation. As usual, break it down between informal and formal emails.

Informal Closing Salutations

In informal emails, you may not even include a closing salutation. Often, you don’t. If you are including one, though, here are some excellent choices.

Cheers

Talk soon

All the best / best

After one of these, you can include your first name if you want (on a separate line below), although it isn’t necessary.

Cheers!

Talia

Yes, feel free to use an exclamation point or emoji in your closing salutation.

Formal Closing Salutations

You always want a closing salutation in your formal emails. Here are some particularly formal closings you can use.

Thank you for your time/consideration,

Sincerely,

Kind regards,

Only use these formal examples in very formal situations.

In some formal cases, something like “cheers” works fine.

Cheers,

Talia

Email Salutation Examples

Here are two short, complete email examples. This first one is an informal email.

Hi, Cyrus, how are you?!

Hope the week’s treated you all right. Do you have that report for J yet? 🤓 Forgot to message you about that yesterday, haha, my bad.

Talk soon!!

This simple message gets the point across in a lively and positive manner. Hopefully, Cyrus feels pretty good about receiving this.

Here is an example of a formal email.

Hi, Cyrus,

Thank you for considering our team for all your reporting needs.

Kind regards,

Philippa

Notice how the salutations are neutral. This neutrality is good in a formal email.

In a formal email, you will have more to say in the body of your email than this, but that is for a different discussion.

Email Salutation - Key takeaways

  • An email salutation is how you say hello and goodbye in an email.
  • Informal email salutations are for peers or immediate superiors (once you get to know them).
  • Use comfortable language in informal email salutations, including exclamation points and emojis if you wish.
  • Formal email salutations are for people you don’t know well.
  • In formal emails "Hello" is a great salutation choice. Limit your exclamation points, and don't use emojis.

Frequently Asked Questions about Email Salutation

An email salutation is how you say hello and goodbye in an email.

It depends whether you are writing an informal or formal email, and whether you are greeting someone or saying goodbye. If you are writing formally, "Hello" is a great greeting, and "Thank you for your time" is a respectful closing.

To say hello in a formal email, "hello" or "hi" suffice, along with a first name.

It depends whether you are writing an informal or formal email, and whether you are greeting someone or saying goodbye.

Informal emails don't, particularly the most informal ones. You want salutations in your formal email.

Final Email Salutation Quiz

Question

What is an email salutation?

Show answer

Answer

An email salutation is how you say hello and goodbye in an email.

Show question

Question

_____ are business-related or academic emails.

Show answer

Answer

Formal emails

Show question

Question

Use _____ with friends, peers, and casual colleagues.


Show answer

Answer

Informal emails

Show question

Question

In what settings will you usually send an email?

Show answer

Answer

A business or academic setting.

Show question

Question

"How’s your week been, Tania?"

Formal or informal?


Show answer

Answer

Informal.

Show question

Question

If you are familiar or friendly with your boss, which kind of email are you more likely to use?

Show answer

Answer

Informal

Show question

Question

What does the exclamation point do in a salutation?

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Answer

The exclamation point is one way to appear less severe.

Show question

Question

What do emojis do in a salutation?

Show answer

Answer

Stand in for social cues and facial cues.

Show question

Question

Formal emails are for people _____.

Show answer

Answer

You don't know well

Show question

Question

"Hello is always better than hi in a formal email." 

True or false?

Show answer

Answer

False. It is more formal, but some formal emails include "hi."

Show question

Question

What is an issue with the salutation "To whom it may concern"?

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Answer

It might sound like a template email.

Show question

Question

Can you use "dear" in a formal email?

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Answer

Yes, although it might sound old-fashioned.

Show question

Question

Is "cheers" is a good formal email closing?

Show answer

Answer

No. "Sincerely" and "Kind regards" are better options.

Show question

Question

Do informal emails require a closing salutation?

Show answer

Answer

No.

Show question

Question

"Formal emails should include an opening and closing salutation." 

True or false?

Show answer

Answer

True.

Show question

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