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Email salutations and closings

Dear Aunt Dandelion,
What is the correct salutation and ending when sending an email? – Steve in Tunbridge, Kent, UK
Aunt Dandelion replies:

Steve, this is a short question with a long answer, which begins with, “It depends on how the email is being used.”

Email as a letter
When an email is acting as a letter, the rules for written correspondence apply.
  • For emails to friends, open with Dear (First Name), and close in the style appropriate to your relationship with the recipient: Love, Hugs and kisses, Regards, etc.
  • When sending an email as formal business correspondence, the salutation and closing rules are identical to the written form. Open with Dear (First Name) or Dear (Title and Last Name) and close with Regards, Sincerely, Respectfully yours, etc.

Email as a memo
When an email is acting as a memo, as often happens in business, it will be sent to many recipients or groups. In that case there is no salutation, but a line can be added to the body which specifies the intended readership. Examples: “To All Employees,” or “To the Management Team,” etc. The email memo should be signed (in type) by the official author, such as an executive or a department head, with their title below the signature.

Email as a note 
In practice, emails whiz back and forth between friends and business colleagues all day and night. The collaborative or chatty email stream tends to get more informal as the conversation lengthens. Ultimately many of these types of emails have – and need – no greeting or even signature. The email header clearly specifies who is sending and receiving the note in the From, To, and cc: lines, so there should be no confusion.

Signature lines
A special note about signature lines or blocks – those text or graphical appendages below an email. These are an excellent idea in business and for job applicants. They should include the sender’s full name, title, company, and contact information. However, a signature line is not a signature – remember to use the proper closing to a formal business email above the automatic signature line.

1 comment:

  1. I'm impressed.... and enlightened. Thanks :)


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